Celebrating Women’s History Month: A Q&A With Shannon Riley
In recognition of Women’s History Month, ABC of Alabama has chosen women leaders in construction around the state to feature throughout the month.
This week, we shine the spotlight on Shannon Riley, CEO and president of One Stop Environmental.
As the founder and CEO of One Stop Environmental (OSE), Shannon Riley is responsible for the leadership, strategy and technical foundation of the company. Started in 1999 as an emergency response business, OSE has grown, under Riley’s leadership, to be a premier woman-owned full-service environmental company based in the Southeast and serving the entire continental U.S.
With an undergraduate degree in Chemistry from Furman University and a Masters of Chemistry from the University of Alabama, Riley brings over 20 years of experience to the field. She is a past Certified Hazardous Material Manager (CHMM, 2004) master level and oversees programs in the Southeast and Northwest.
Through her background in chemistry and her strong management expertise, Riley has led One Stop Environmental to be one of the fastest growing companies in Alabama and the country, ranking on the Inc. 500 and ICIC 100. Riley serves on the board of Rev Birmingham, Southern Research Advisory Board, the College of Arts Leadership at the University of Alabama, Christ Health Center and Innovation Depot. She is a member of the Woodlawn Business Association, Kiwanas Club and several other professional and civic organizations.
ACN: Do you feel that women being underrepresented in construction is fact or fiction, and why?
Riley: I think by the numbers it is fact. There are less women CEOs, less women VPs, and less women PMs in construction than men. However, in representation, women are relatively new to the construction industry, and in a short amount of time women have been entrusted with many key positions and are climbing the ladder at a faster pace. Those with the best skills and best chance to make their company money will be promoted in the end. If not, they will be lost to competitors. The market will take care of us as long as we continue to push ourselves to be better every day.
ACN: What is our industry missing when it comes to recruiting women in craft trades?
Riley: The same thing our industry is missing when it comes to men: quality candidates, better wages and a general desire to work. I know of plenty of companies looking for workers. We just need to continue working on keeping the need in front of the public. There are many trades in construction that don’t require the brawn and require finesse, like plastering or sealant work. Other managerial positions are also needing detail oriented people, where females can really shine. I don’t know that our industry is missing an attractant as much as we are missing candidates who really want to work and the ability to educate females on niche opportunities.
ACN: Being in a leadership role in your company, can you speak to any best practices or ways your company personally seeks out women in construction?
Riley: We do not seek out women specifically for any job. One Stop seeks out the best candidate who can maximize our customer satisfaction, quality and production. We have found both men and women who can fill this role. If two candidates are equal, gender can be a tie breaker, but it is not a pre-qualifier for any position.