Not a Fallback: Challenging Construction Career Misconceptions
October 29, 2021
By Brasfield & Gorrie
Throughout October we’ve celebrated Careers in Construction Month. Some people see construction as a backup option, but we’re here to set the record straight: our industry provides rewarding and lucrative opportunities to build a career. Construction takes far more than just cranes and cement mixers; it takes dedicated individuals who are passionate about enriching their communities and building a better tomorrow. Representing diverse backgrounds on projects across the nation, every one of our builders has his or her own story about what drew them to construction.
There’s also tremendous room for advancement in construction. Many Brasfield & Gorrie employees move forward in their careers through our Field Training Center, which provides free training to employees. Throughout this month, we’ve shared the stories of four people who are changing the landscape of our country one building at a time.
Robotic Field Engineer Carly Stanford’s career has grown exponentially since joining Brasfield & Gorrie as a laborer in 2017, but she got her first taste of construction in high school when she was accidentally enrolled in a carpentry class. She was shocked to find that what she feared would be a begrudging obligation became a daily source of joy. After being sponsored by Brasfield & Gorrie to compete in a national carpentry championship, Carly’s love of construction solidified. She made building her career, joining Brasfield & Gorrie after her high school graduation. She said, “My favorite thing about my job is the problem solving. I really enjoy the challenges that must be worked through to get the best results. My passion is helping people, so whenever someone comes to me with a problem in the field, I love to be the one who can help.”
For Project Director Lee Thompson, building is a family affair. His father started a small construction company when Lee was young, and Lee’s grandfather was a carpenter. Lee often helped them as a laborer, and the rewarding work made construction a natural career choice after college. He worked his way up, learning everything from the nuts and bolts of practical craftsmanship to larger conceptual ideas. Lee said, “We work in a very tangible business where results are easily recognizable. I like to be challenged and I like to have autonomy, and I have both here. I also love the teamwork aspect of my job. Problem-solving as a team is a lot of fun.”
Trade Foreman Kaleb Vowell started his construction career with wood framing, hanging, and finishing work with his family before he joined a metal framing company after high school. He came to Brasfield & Gorrie during a tough time in his life, and the opportunity to work as a carpenter turned things around. Today he works as a trade foreman out of our Mississippi office. He’s made it his personal mission to support every member of his team on and off the job. It’s this compassion that has made Kaleb an effective and well-respected leader. He credits Brasfield & Gorrie with giving him the opportunity to build a career and provide for his family and said, “Our company gives you plenty of opportunities to succeed. You’re treated like family—not just a number. The most fun part of my job is being able to work with such good people, and I want people who work with me to know I have their backs too.”
Robotic Field Engineer Nayland Williams was pursuing a degree in engineering when his grandmother fell ill. Though he worried about returning to his studies, he put school on hold to return to his hometown and support his family. This faith and resolve saw him through a difficult move from Chicago to Atlanta, where Nayland worked as a temporary laborer until a foreman invited him to join Brasfield & Gorrie full time. Since then, he’s applied himself to trainings and classes offered by the company, setting him back on the engineering track. Nayland has risen through the ranks over the last six years with hard work and determination. Now he uses his experience as a laborer to inform his layout work as a field engineer. Nayland said, “There is no cap on what you can accomplish if you’re willing to work hard, and there are plenty of people who are willing to help get you there.”
We take pride in our people. Meet more Brasfield & Gorrie employees by following our ongoing Behind the Builders series on social media using the hashtag #BGBehindtheBuilder.