Women in Construction Week Spotlight: April Gray

How has technology changed construction management during your career?

Technology has come a long way! I think COVID has helped accelerate that process as well. The way BGE adapted during that crisis really made an enormous difference. With the help of our IT department, we were able to keep the business moving.

Most agencies no longer require hard copies, and we are able to conduct most business via paperless methods. That helps cut down on our drive time to get a project accepted. We are able to upload the required documents to the agencies’ websites.

Microsoft Teams has helped our Construction Managers hold pre-con meetings virtually. That benefits everyone involved in a project. We can keep better track of our projects’ progression with ease. We use Tonic DM daily to send plans to the contractors and inspectors. We are able to file our emails to the specific job, which in turn allows the PMs to stay up to date on their projects.

What is the most rewarding aspect of being in construction management?

The most rewarding aspect of my role is feeling a sense of accomplishment. It takes a lot of work to get a project completed and accepted into the county and cities. I’m able to assist with the end goal.

The old saying “That’s not my job, I can’t help you” does not apply in this role. I do my best to help everyone who comes to me, and if I’m not able to give you the answers I’ll help you find someone who does have the answers. The end goal for any company is to complete the projects to the client’s satisfaction while having integrity. Nobody can do that alone.

The road that is now open to the public, the new traffic signal or crosswalk that went up by a school, or power being released to a project is because of the small role I play. That’s a feeling I’m happy with!

How does it feel to know that your work has a lasting impact on the built environment?

It’s a rewarding responsibility. Knowing my work has a lasting impact on the built environment brings a sense of pride. I love the convenience the new roads, highways, and stores have brought to our area. Our city expansion brings lots of opportunities across the board for people, and it keeps us in business! However, it’s crucial to balance progress with environmental consciousness. Considering the impact on wildlife and natural habitats is an integral part of ensuring our construction efforts contribute positively to both urban development and environmental preservation.

What advice would you give young professionals entering the construction management field?

My advice would be to stay adaptable. Everything in construction is continuously changing and evolving. There are so many aspects of construction, and Mother Nature happens. Agencies’ policies are constantly changing as well. You must stay flexible with all the changes that can and will occur during construction.

Be teachable. There is a lot of information to know and learn in the world of construction. In my 15 years of experience in the construction industry, I’ve learned everything is the same but different. No two projects are the exact same. You must learn to stay on your toes and not get too comfortable. “Fires” start when you get too comfortable.

You really must have a “One Team” mindset. No matter what field of construction you’re in, you can’t complete your project alone. It takes a team to get a project started and get it over the finish line. Give your all each day and lean on your teammates when you need to. Don’t be afraid to ask questions!

If you could have dinner with any historical figure, fictional character, or celebrity, who would it be and why?

Hands down, Robin Williams. His movies were a huge part of my childhood. He gave me lots of laughs, and I always thought he had a generous, kind heart. He had a love for animals, and I am a firm believer that the way you treat animals says a lot about you as a person.

“Animals are such agreeable friends—they ask no questions; they pass no criticisms.”

He was corky, not like the others. He was real and genuine, even through his struggles in life. He once said, “You’re only given one little spark of madness. You mustn’t lose it.” That quote has stuck with me from the day I heard it. Robin Williams gave many people the courage to be themselves. It was ok not to follow society’s norms, not to let the harsh world around us put out our spark.

Robin Williams had ambition, and he wouldn’t let anyone stop him from achieving what he wanted out of life. He was passionate about his career, which was evident in everything he did. He taught me that even when someone isn’t treating you kindly, you can still respond in kindness.