Celebrating Women’s History Month: A Q&A With Eden Lindsey
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 Eden Lindsey, safety director for Harrison Construction.
Eden Lindsey serves as Safety Director for Harrison Construction, a general contractor and construction manager located in Northport. She began her career with Harrison in 2010 as an assistant in the company’s Accounts Payable department. With time, she transitioned into her current role in corporate safety management. As safety director, Lindsey is responsible for ensuring overall health and safety compliance of the organization, developing and implementing safety plans, programs and policies, conducting jobsite safety monitoring, audits, and inspections, providing and/or arranging employee training, maintaining recordkeeping documentation, and most importantly, promoting a positive safety culture. She is the first person to assume the position for the company.
Lindsey holds a bachelor’s degree from The University of Alabama where she graduated with honors. Just recently, she received her Construction Authorized Trainer designation.
Although her primary focus is safety, this past year, Lindsey was also an active member of the planning team who organized and hosted the inaugural West Alabama Worlds of Work Career Expo, which took place last October on the Shelton State Community College campus. The event catered to more than 4,000 8th grade students in Alabama as an attempt to educate the emerging workforce on the available career options across industries. Additionally, she participates, on her company’s behalf, in an alliance with two other area contractors to oversee, support and maintain a carpentry trade program. The program launched this past fall, and the first round of participants is expected to reach completion in May.
ACN: Do you feel that women being underrepresented in construction is fact or fiction and why?
Lindsey: Fiction. Although, females are still considered minorities in the construction industry, I believe we have definitely begun to make a presence in the field. It is becoming more and more prevalent to encounter women, not just in a typical office setting, but also on the job site. These women range from consultants and engineers to supervisors and even laborers. I think if women were truly underrepresented in construction, we would not be continuing to grow as members of the industry. As more females learn that there are successful career options available within our sector, we will continue to see the number of females in our field grow.
ACN: What is our industry missing when it comes to recruiting women in craft trades?
Lindsey: I believe that females are simply not aware that there are positions available for them in the construction field and craft trades. I think if we allow high school children and college students to witness women working in craft trades, and doing so successfully, then they will be intrigued to think outside the box as well. They may begin considering possible career paths that they had never thought of, or that they may have always categorized as a male dominate career option.
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?
Lindsey: From a career marketing standpoint, Harrison Construction doesn’t have any special tricks up our sleeve for seeking out women candidates. I think our approach for potential employees is ultimately the same despite gender. Our company subcontracts a significant portion of the work we are awarded, and we simply do not have a need for ongoing recruitment. However, when that time does roll around, I should note we are not bombarded by an overwhelming abundance of potential female candidates interested in our field positions. I attribute this to the lack of exposure of women in the field. My dad worked in construction when I was growing up, so I was exposed to the field in general, but I can’t ever recall encountering a female craft worker or field manager. Naturally, I developed my own assumption that women simply did not work in construction, unless they were in an office setting. It wasn’t until I was shown that prospects existed and provided an opportunity to pursue my own path in the field that I realized, women definitely have a place here in this “man’s world”. I was participating in an event several months ago where I was approached numerous times by high school age girls who had never met a woman in construction. My need for a hard hat and boots was out of the ordinary for them, but yet they seemed intrigued and inquisitive. With them, I shared my experiences, stated my qualifications, expressed my responsibilities and answered various questions. Exchanging information like that, and exposing opportunities and options for females in our industry is what I truly believe is the best practice for seeking out more women in construction.