The first article of a four-part series about women working in construction-related jobs at Dart focuses on six women with roles in project operations, logistics and health and safety.
In 2018, the National Association of Women in Construction reported that women make up 9.9% of the construction industry workforce in the United States. However, more than 27% of those working on Dart's Development Delivery & Infrastructure team are women, a percentage that almost triples that in the United States.
Dart Senior Vice President Design & Construction Gary Gibbs agreed that professions in construction have a longstanding stereotype of being male professions.
"At Dart, we believe that it is critically important to give extra attention to construction-related professions and to make real and meaningful strides to change the stereotypical perception — and the reality."
Gibbs said diversity and inclusion on the construction team also promote different perspectives, which is key to Dart's core value of innovation.
"Greater gender inclusion and diversity provides better representation of our customers and allows better and more effective communication with internal and external customers, partners and stakeholders," he said. "We truly believe that greater gender diversity and inclusion promotes overall success at Dart."
The Development Delivery & Infrastructure team is currently comprised of 103 professional men and women who oversee design and construction for all of Dart’s real estate projects. Among them are 28 women whose positions and departments are essential for the smooth and safe operations of Dart's many construction projects.
Every construction project relies on the critical role the logistics team plays. From resource planning and procurement to supply chain management and delivery of materials, logistics staff have an eye on all the moving parts of a project — and at Dart, that’s usually several projects at once — and they’re responsible for keeping those parts moving.
Logistics administrative assistant Marlene Smith began working with Dart's logistics team eight years ago when construction on Kimpton Seafire Resort + Spa began.
“Logistics is an exciting department to work in because we get to see projects from start to finish,” says Smith. “We bring in all the building materials by air and by sea. These include windows, doors, furniture, hotel linens and so much more.”
Smith, who works on a team of six, says that a critical part of her job is to keep things moving so that all deadlines are met. Currently, she’s working on Camana Bay’s two new 10-storey buildings — Kapok and 60 Nexus Way — as well as the Hotel Indigo and renovations at the Hampton by Hilton Grand Cayman hotel and The Ritz-Carlton, Grand Cayman.
“We have a lot of balls in the air at once and we need to ensure all projects receive their materials on time,” says Smith. “The work keeps us on our toes, but I’m very excited to be part of this team.”
Dart’s project execution team is responsible for project management, quality assurance and quality control.
Rita Patterson is a construction engineer on this team who has been in the industry since 2008 and began her career at Dart in 2020. Her role is key in the implementation and delivery of a project and an important part of construction project management.
“I’m currently working on the new Hotel Indigo’s model room,” says Patterson. “I oversee all the day-to-day actions, which include coordinating with contractors, managing [request for information] proposals, and staying on top of the entire project execution process. It is very important to get the model room right so that all the constructability issues can be coordinated and worked out before the full 285 rooms are commissioned."
Patterson enjoys her role and is looking forward to transitioning from the Indigo model room, located in Camana Bay, to the hotel site on Seven Mile Beach once construction begins.
“An exciting part of my role is working closely with the architects and designers on material finishes,” says Patterson. “This is a critical part of the implementation process that ensures we are executing what was intended in a space.”
Another woman on the project execution team is newcomer Makeda Haynes, an administrative assistant for the past two months.
“Working in construction is new for me,” says Haynes, whose previous role was in human resources. “But so far I find it very interesting."
Ensuring secure working environments and meeting the highest standards of safe working practices are the remit of Dart’s Health & Safety department, a team responsible for integrating all aspects of safety into all construction projects.
Health, Safety & Environment supervisor Sharon Bello has worked in construction safety for more than 20 years and at Dart for seven years. “I’m proud to be involved in every single construction project at Dart," she says, adding that her team monitors health, safety and security for more than 100 contractors currently working on-site at various Dart projects.
“Contractors are required to plan every single activity at every single site and my team acts as monitors to ensure they meet Dart Health & Safety requirements," she says. “We do our best to prevent workplace injuries, deaths, environmental damage and property damage. Accidents can be costly and our number one aim is for every worker to go home to their family safe and sound at the end of every workday."
Intern Ashley Thompson, currently on a summer work experience programme with the project execution team, is looking forward to a career in architecture.
“I’ve always had an interest in construction and this job allows me to pursue a field I’m passionate about," says Thompson, who will start at university in England in September. “I hope one day I can be a role model to other women and reduce gender bias in this industry."
This article appears in print in the July 2021 edition of Camana Bay Times, written by Andrea Lumsden.