Celebrating International Women’s Day and Women in Construction (WIC) Week 2022

Celebrating International Women’s Day and Women in Construction (WIC) Week 2022

Celebrating International Women’s Day and Women in Construction (WIC) Week 2022

  • Gokce Ozcelik, Ph.D., Product Owner
  • March 08, 2022
Celebrating International Women’s Day and Women in Construction (WIC) Week 2022

This year, we celebrate International Women’s Day and Women in Construction Week with Lil Magallanes. Lilian is a Construction Operations Technology Project Manager at DPR Construction.

She identifies business needs in developing project scopes to address technology gaps, challenges, and process improvements.  Previously, she worked at Bluebeam for 8 years as a software consultant. Prior to that, she worked as an owner’s representative in a construction management company, and before that she worked for an architect. She has been connecting the dots between the different disciplines in our industry by leveraging her expansive construction technology expertise for many years now.

She is a busy woman in construction, and she enjoys photography and hiking in her spare time to decompress and get ready for the coming week. She shared her experience of what it means to be a woman in construction, and how passionate she is about solving problems with construction technology and increasing the technology adoption in the industry. In this blog, we share some edited excerpts from our interview with Lilian.

“I think it is important to remind this community that ‘Hey pause for a second.
Let’s elevate other women’s voices. Let’s echo what they have to say, share those experiences.”
- Lilian Magallanes

Gokce: Construction is a male dominated industry but the number of women in construction is rising. How has your experience been like working in this industry? What do you think are some of the advantages of being a woman in construction?

Lilian: I feel like there are a lot of great advantages being a woman in this industry. To be honest, I have not started this career thinking ‘there are not a lot of women, I am going to find a space.’ I came into this industry because it just felt like a natural next step for me. My grandfather is a carpenter by trade, construction has been part of my entire life; seeing materials, tools, talking about renovation has always been a background noise for me. So, for me, going to design school just felt natural to continue to further explore and formalize that in my adult life. It wasn’t until  I was in the middle of my career when I realized that there are not a lot of women in this industry. So, what has helped me to continue to stay motivated and inspired is joining the organizations. I had the privilege of sitting on the board with the National Women in Construction Association (NAWIC) Los Angeles Chapter. That really helped me connect with the other women in the industry and just share our stories. Oftentimes, there were events that created safe spaces to be vulnerable, to be transparent and get support when we feel ‘I don’t know if I am alone in this,’ or ‘I am not sure how to tackle my next challenge at work,’ or ‘what is that next career for me look like.’ I found those networks and groups of people to be very important in my career, as well as the friendships and relationships that I have evolved throughout my life in the AEC industry. And not just chapters that are only for women, Construction Progress Coalition (CPC) where there is a core group of women who have been part of the organization for number of years. Amazing women who are making a huge impact in this industry who I have the honor to call friends and get their, support, guidance, and perspective. I also want to mention that there are amazing men in this industry who are very supportive women excelling. Men who just want to be advocates of other women in this industry, men who are not just creating a seat at the table, they know that that seat exists and reminding us ‘this is your space.’ I feel like I have been very blessed and fortunate in this industry to have that support or network of support right away.

Gokce: What do you think is the most important change happening with technology in our industry?

Lilian: I think we’ve gone through many evolutions with technology and construction, I would say that the most recent thing we’ve seen that has made an impact, and also just really has changed the minds of other folks who are in leadership, is we know that COVID accelerated so many things in our life, but it also accelerated a lot of construction technology. Before the pandemic, we knew that we had robotics, and people were talking about robotics, and we all know about Boston Dynamics, that’s been around for quite some time. We have drones and, different types of cameras that allows us to have not just one perspective view, but a 360 view and laser scanning existed before the pandemic. But because of the pandemic, and the need to have everyone feel safe and have a safe distance from each other, those types of technologies has definitely risen to the top of this very quickly, because suddenly you have, construction companies, who are needing to quickly adopt these, so that they can keep others informed of what’s happening on the site, as well as having visual recordings of what’s happening on a project site day to day. But then, also keeping everyone at a safe distance constantly and we know that the labor force is sort of scaled back to keep people safe […]

“I feel like the topic on data has been a very important topic for many years. But now
we're looking at how can we leverage that data in a more workable workflow centric environment.”
- Lilian Magallanes

Gokce: You are a woman with an amazing career in the construction industry. What advice would you give to women and girls who want to enter the construction industry?

Lilian: I would say the first thing, plug into women in construction networks- there’s so many out there. If you live in California, there’s the Women in Construction and Operations (WiOPS) group. They’re an amazing group of people that are constantly striving to really create events that going to be of value to their members.

[…] Build your tribe of women around you, have an inner circle that you can be vulnerable and grow together.

[…] I really truly believe that technology will continue to impact and change how we do construction, maybe not necessarily how we put a nail in the wall, but, how we collaborate and how we share data, and how we are continually on this fight to break down silos and I think that’s for me a wonderful thing that I get excited about. And I would tell women, get excited about it! Find something that gets you excited, find something that you realize is your passion and move forward.

Gokce: How do you think we can attract more female candidates to join the industry?

Lilian: I think it’s exactly what you are doing right now. Elevating the voices of women like myself. We do get stuck in day-to-day things- that I enjoy doing. I think it is important to remind this community that ‘hey pause for a second. Let’s elevate other women’s voices. Let’s echo what they have to say, share those experiences […]

“And just seeing 3D models was for me always been exciting from the very beginning, how that was leveraged to have informed decisions or create a visual for the client. So, they're able to select the right materials.”
- Lilian Magallanes

The AECInspire team wishes a Happy International Women’s Day & Women in Construction Week!

You can find our full interview with Lilian here.