Women in Construction Week is the ideal opportunity to recognize the contributions of women in our industry. While women have been historically underrepresented in the construction industry, more and more women have been breaking down barriers and claiming their space in the industry.
At Plano-Coudon, we are proud to have women in positions throughout the company, from the field to the C-Suite. We are also fortunate to partner with several outstanding women-owned and led subcontractor partners who are making significant contributions to the construction industry. These women are blazing trails, growing successful businesses, and making their mark on the region.
In this post, we shine a spotlight on some of these exceptional partners and showcase their stories, achievements, and words of advice for other women building careers in this industry:
Kathleen Bands, Chief Executive Officer – My Cleaning Service, Inc.
Kathleen Bands is the CEO and owner of My Cleaning Service, Inc. and the third generation of family leadership for the company. My Cleaning Service has been a leading commercial janitorial, post-construction and disinfection cleaning service in the Mid-Atlantic region since 1970.
Kathleen oversees all aspects of the business ranging from the strategic direction of the firm to its growth and financial performance. Kathleen works closely with her administrative and management teams to ensure the company maintains the high quality of cleaning and customer service MCS promises to deliver.
Kathleen earned her bachelor’s degree in Business Administration from Washington College in 2010. She is also a certified Registered Building Services Manager (RBSM) and is now studying for the Certified Building Service Executive (CBSE). Kathleen is active on both the national and local levels of the Building Service Contractors Association International (BSCAI), which helps MCS stay on the cutting edge of new technologies, more efficient cleaning strategies and procedures, and gaining expertise in the best ways MCS can clean and disinfect to combat COVID-19. MCS achieved the ISSA Cleaning Industry Management Standard-Green Building (CIMS-GB) certification in 2017.
Kathleen offers the following to any woman looking to begin a career in construction: “I think one of the keys to success is never to assume you know everything and never stop learning. If you have an open attitude to growing, you will advance much more rapidly in your career. Take the advice of those who have been in the industry longer, listen to or read books, and take workshops and educational sessions. For the time you invest in learning, you will grow tenfold.”
Check out My Cleaning Service, Inc. here!
Shana Carroll, President – D.W. Kozera, Inc.
Shana Carroll is the President of D.W. Kozera, Inc., a woman-owned geotechnical firm specializing in solving geotechnical, geostructural, and environmental challenges for clients throughout the Mid-Atlantic. Shana was formerly a regional manager with GeoStructures, Inc., where she was involved in the design, estimating, and pre-construction management of specialty geotechnical systems throughout the East Coast for 14 years. Prior to this role, she was an engineer at GeoSyntec Consultants, focusing on geotechnical instrumentation and solid waste facility design. Shana holds B.S. & M.S. degrees in Civil and Environmental Engineering from Bucknell University and is a registered Professional Engineer in five states. She brings over 21 years of geotechnical experience to each project she works on. Ms. Carroll is a co-chair of CREW Baltimore’s IDEA (Inclusion, Diversity, Equity, and Advocacy) Committee and immediate past Chair of the National Capital Section Geo-Institute of the American Society of Civil Engineers.
In her spare time, Shana enjoys spending time with her husband and daughters and writing about topics related to young professionals on her blog: www.outofthecube.net.
Shana offers these three yet powerful words of advice, “never stop learning!”
Check out all that D.W. Kozera offers here!
Susie Comer, Owner, President & Treasurer – Comer Construction, Inc.
Linda Sue (Susie) Comer is the Owner, President, and Treasurer of Comer Construction, Inc. Comer Construction is a site construction company specializing in site preparation and underground utilities. Based in northeastern Maryland, they service the mid-Atlantic region.
Susie is a hands-on leader involved in every aspect of the business, from project management to team development. Her commitment to excellence has earned her a reputation as a trustworthy and skilled contractor. Susie also dedicates time to the community through board service and other volunteer efforts. She is truly a role model and a committed supporter of the advancement of women in business and construction.
Susie offers the following advice to women looking to begin a career in the industry: “Don’t be afraid to be the only woman in the room. As my dad always said, ‘If you do as near right as you can every day, you’ll never go wrong.’ I earned my reputation by showing up and keeping my word. Once you prove to everyone you are talented and hardworking, the possibilities for a career in construction are endless.”
Check out what services Comer Construction offers here!
Kelly Walker, Owner & Operator – Artstar Custom Paintworks
Kelly L. Walker is a self-taught artist who continues to study at the “School of Life.” According to Kelly, she absorbs the beauty, chaos, and reality of Baltimore City, channeling it into her work.
Kelly founded Artstar Custom Paintworks, a Baltimore-based decorative painting and faux finishing company, in 2022. Artstar specializes in hand-applied, atmospheric finishes that capture and enhance the charm of any environment with sophisticated drama. They are dedicated to individualized service and the highest quality craftsmanship and are always looking to enhance a project with a powerful and diverse work of art or custom finish.
In 2013, Kelly purchased a rundown auto shop in the heart of the city. In an immense labor of love, she transformed the downtrodden building into a live/work space that has been featured in Baltimore Magazine. An art collection covers the inside walls, amplifying the work of other local artists. The studio and apartment serve as a place of business and a home, and Walker often opens her home for gatherings that benefit community organizations. Her abstract paintings demonstrate the techniques, textures, and patterns she employs as a professional decorative painter. Utilizing a wide range of atypical materials, her works are intricately layered, calling reference to landscape, graffiti and color fields. Walker’s artwork has been featured extensively at venues both in and outside of the Baltimore area, including the Rosenberg Gallery, Silo Point, Gallery 1951 in Los Angeles, and the Delaware Museum of Art.
Kelly offers the following for women in male-dominated industries: “Women tend to make most things (generally) better. We seem to be efficient at multitasking and keeping order, often in chaos. Since construction projects and the trade in general, rely on efficiency and a good project manager is always efficient, I think there is a big need for women in male-dominated fields. Women bring so much to the table.”
Check out Kelly’s incredible work and services here!