By Shanekqua (Shaq) Campbell
Hard Hats. Strong Women. Building the Future.
Follow our blog to hear the stories of women working in construction in New York City at every level as we ask 20 questions to women working in construction.
Shaq Campbell, Laborer, Local 79, Cauldwell Wingate
What was your first job in construction? Mason tending for Navillus.
What is your current job? Working for Cauldwell on 40th and 6th. It's amazing. I am the only laborer with my super.
What job do you want in the future? I could see myself being a shop steward, a foreman, a lot of different positions, every position you gotta know everything. The super that I was working with was teaching me stuff like how to be a super. He started out as a laborer.
Are you in a union? What is the best part of being in a union? Working with different people. Besides networking, watching different trades and asking questions, it's amazing to be a laborer.
Why did you choose construction? What led you to construction? Because I'm a busy person and I like to keep busy. I don't know how to stay still so it's the perfect career for me.
When did you realize you wanted to work in construction? When I first graduated from school, I was working for a friend's father's company and I loved it. I loved seeing the before and after of a project.
Is there someone in particular in your life that led you to this career? My friend's father and my friend of the family who was in construction. She was non-union but she introduced me to the career because I never considered it.
Who inspires you? I don't know, that's a big question. Anybody that's a hard worker and legit. I'm kinda old school. I was always inspired by my grandfather who got up everyday and worked his 9-5 job.
What has been the most surprising part of being a woman working in construction? I guess to see what you know, basically we learned what happened when women first got into the business a long time ago and just to see how far they came. It's more united, a brotherhood.
What is your favorite part of your career? Basically being part of a project that's finished. I walk down the block and I point out all the projects I've worked on. I can tell you what's in there, how much it cost..
What is your most memorable moment working in construction?I never had so much overtime in my life this summer. We basically had a double for 3 days. I never worked so many hours. I forgot the days! The outcome was great but it was insane!
What is the best company you have worked for? Cauldwell Wingate. They kept me and gave me the opportunity. They saw a good worker and they kept me and I thank them for that.
What is your favorite project you have worked on? The last one. I was by myself. Everything was on me but I did it. I really did this project.
What is the biggest challenge of being a woman working in construction? Working by myself. But the super showed me the way.
What is the biggest change you have seen in the field since you started? I see more women coming in.
What advice would you give someone starting out? Don't get into the catty talk. Keep your head up, just work, and that's it. Be there on time and take the overtime.
What is your favorite tool? It's funny because my shop steward calls me "the knife" cause I always have my sheetrock knife.
What is your favorite hard hat sticker? The Sisters in the Brotherhood carpentry sticker. I like that one.
What is your most valuable certification? What was the most challenging? My punch list cert. That was my favorite. Torch burning was the most difficult.
What would surprise us about you? I'm silly. I'm a character.
Are you a woman working in construction? Tell us "What is your favorite hard hat sticker"?
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