As early as a sophomore, Haylee was anxious (and experienced enough) to begin her first official internship at the UMass Lowell South Academic Building renovation. She worked two more co-ops with Gilbane in her junior and senior years also as project engineering intern on projects such as the Collins & Saltonstall School Renovations, and Nock-Molin School Renovations. Upon entering her senior year internship she happened to read an article in ENR honoring Karen Shaffer, VP & Transportation Center of Excellence Director at Gilbane Building Company and sent her an email to congratulate her. Karen was so impressed she hired Haylee as an intern where she worked as project engineer on the Green Line Extension Project. That fall she was officially hired as a Gilbane employee upon her graduation. She reflects on what a powerful moment that was for her and says “it can be done-hard work can pay off”!
Graduating again first in her major she began her work at Gilbane and was accepted into the Management Candidate Acceleration Program (MCAP) an intensive two-year program that provides an unmatched opportunity to gain hands-on experience in the construction management field in a variety of roles and functional areas within Gilbane. She is half-way through the program and offers it has been an incredible opportunity to learn various aspects of construction management during field and office rotations as well as technical and leadership skills building. This program often leads to positions of senior leadership roles. She credits Michael O’Brien, Vice President- District Operations Manager at Gilbane and AGC MA Vice Chair in the support of this endeavor.
Looking back on her first experiences in the field she said she was lucky. She was always treated as an equal but shares that you get what you give and that “respect is the bottom line” when working in the field. She advises to create relationships early on and to realize there are going to be times where you will need to prove yourself. It is important to show your worth by sticking to what you know, but don’t be afraid to ask for help and the respect will follow. Throughout her experiences, she has come to recognize that the trades are the industry’s greatest resources and are masters of their respective crafts so if you have questions, ask them and a world of resources will be opened to you!
Looking forward Haylee says she can’t imagine being anywhere other than Gilbane for the people and growth potential but it offers, but that it may not be the right approach for everyone. Explore different career paths and find the culture that is right for you during your early years or co-op experiences, reach out to mentors and network, you never know who you will meet!
She is honored to be a part of an industry that creates world class environments in pharma, education and health and hopes to inspire more young women to consider a rewarding career in construction. “It’s not a boys club anymore!”
I think we can all agree Haylee has been an instrumental force in making that stand true.
Thanks Haylee for sharing your experiences and contributing to our mission of Building Women in Construction!