Continuing on with our Women in Construction Week series, EIMA would like to introduce you to Sarah Aird-Nichols.
Sarah Aird-Nichols, CEP
Director of Operations
Robert A. Aird, Inc.
Director, EIMA Board of Directors
Chair, EIMA Contractor Committee
How long have you worked in the construction industry?
I worked my way up from Administrative Assistant (2 years) to Asst. Project Manager/Purchasing Officer (6 years) to Director of Operations (1 year). You could say I’ve been in the construction industry all of my life, but technically 9 years.
What do you like about working in the construction industry?
I like that it’s constantly evolving. Something is always new and exciting! Learning about new products manufacturers come up with and the technology behind them is fascinating. Specifically in the EIFS Industry, systems continue to advance and cladding options are becoming endless. I also enjoy working with a team to achieve a common goal, overcoming the daily challenges we face, and finding solutions to problems we encounter. The coolest thing about working in the construction industry is watching your projects come to fruition, driving by it with family and friends a year later and saying “Hey, look at that building over there. Did you know we did the exterior? Doesn’t it look beautiful!” It truly is a proud moment for you and your entire organization.
What changes have you seen in the role of women in the construction industry over the years?
I only find it fitting to take this opportunity to acknowledge the woman in my life, who has been in the construction industry for almost half a century, and who has been my role model in life and at work, my mother, Judy Aird. Judy joined the construction industry during the 70’s when the women’s rights movement was still in full swing and women just began entering the industry. Now a half a century later women represented about 10% of the construction industry in 2019. Women are increasing within the industry and being promoted to senior roles. There are women Presidents and CEO’s leading multi-million dollar contracting companies, women are working in the field, working with their hands, operating heavy equipment, and women-owned firms are helping our industry grow.
“Women are finally finding a place and a voice within the construction industry and it is truly gratifying after all the years of hard work. We still have boundaries to break and obstacles to cross but since the 70’s women have made their mark in this industry and will continue to do so!”
– Judy Aird (Vice President of Robert A. Aird, Inc. Since 1974)
What advice would you offer a woman considering a career in the construction industry?
If you would have asked me 12 years ago if I would be in this industry, I would have told you not a chance! However, 9 years later, I am still here, enjoying the daily challenges and thriving! Before joining Robert A. Aird, Inc. I worked in the restaurant industry for 14 years but decided to give the family business a chance after moving back home. So, what advice would I offer a woman considering a career in the construction industry….. it’s simple. Try it, you might find it gratifying! A job in this industry doesn’t necessarily mean you have to work in the field. There are many pathways within the industry, Project Management, Engineer, Architect, Designer, Distributor, Accounting Manager, etc. Plus, as the saying goes, behind every great man is a great woman! Aird, Inc. is no different. Our company wouldn’t be as successful without the amazing group of women we work with and who support the man in charge.