March 9, 2023 | Articles
From Drawing to Building: Laura Capraro’s Career in Construction
With over 30 years of operational experience in many aspects of the construction industry, including design, project management, construction management, contract administration, construction support, and community relationship-building, Project Manager Stacy Wood is in many ways the quintessential Hill employee. Her deep understanding of both the design and field sides of the construction process and her proven abilities to coordinate between stakeholders have been an asset for Hill teams on many projects since she joined the firm in 2013. During Women in Construction Week, Stacy’s career provides an exemplary model for young women entering the construction industry.
From childhood, Stacy had an interest in the design of physical spaces. She loved to redesign her bedroom. But she did so methodically, using a scaled version of her room on graph paper with scaled cutouts of her furniture. In high school, Stacy took interior design and drafting classes to fulfill her electives and so continued to pursue her passions. Once she finished high school, Stacy entered Pittsburgh Technical College (PTC). There, she earned an associate’s degree in architectural drafting and design.
After college, Stacy got a job as a CADD drafter for a local engineering firm that worked primarily on water-treatment facilities. While Stacy liked the job since it was close to her home and several classmates from PTC also worked there, she found some challenges. For one, CADD technology was very expensive at the time. So the firm’s employees had to operate in rotating shifts each week. The rotation of shifts was hard on Stacy’s body and became impossible when she had her first child.
Despite some initial difficulties, Stacy progressed in her career. She found mentors who were able to help her achieve growth. Since she loves to learn new things, Stacy made the most of these mentors and all of her different work experience. Eventually she moved out of design into the field side of construction. There too, Stacy found excellent mentors and gained significant professional experience.
Currently, as a project manager for Hill, Stacy supports multiple healthcare projects from planning through project close-out. She works very closely with hospital executives, architectural and engineering design teams, contractors, and hospital user groups. The size and complexity of the individual projects vary significantly. Nevertheless, Stacy’s extensive experience on different sides of the construction process facilitates communicating effectively with different parties to successfully deliver her widely divergent projects on time and under budget.
Stacy enjoys working with Hill. In particular, she takes pride in providing excellent service to clients and helping them to achieve their goals. She also feels that she is valued at Hill.
“People are valued at Hill because of their knowledge and because of what they bring to the company,” she explains. “This is something that really impresses me.”
This impresses Stacy because she is a woman who holds an associate’s degree. In many industries, especially those like construction which consist primarily of men, women are sometimes required to go above and beyond to prove themselves capable. In discussions and meetings elsewhere, Stacy admits that she has witnessed women’s thoughts rejected in favor of men’s with no regard given to who is actually correct. Stacy also points out that some men in the industry have assumed a lack of knowledge on her part, simply because of her gender.
“No matter how far society as a whole has come, there is still progress to be made when it comes to women and men being treated equally, especially in our industry,” Stacy says. “But I have observed change. I am happy to see that there have been more and more women entering construction over the past several years. The more women, the more women there are to speak to. It is good to network with other women and see that issues related to gender are not all in our heads. We’re able to use each other’s experiences to help each other.
“I am now a more senior woman in this field and so I like to connect with junior women just entering and lend an ear to their experiences. Sometimes it’s just to listen and other times it’s to provide insight on how to handle certain challenging situations. Other senior members of the construction community, men or women, can help young women thrive too. They can have open minds and should never assume that a person knows or doesn’t know something based on their gender. That way there are more possibilities for sharing knowledge and getting better, together.”
With her extensive experience in the industry and the support she gives to her colleagues, Stacy herself serves as an excellent model for a successful woman in construction. She hopes to continue working at Hill as a project manager and supporting other women in the industry until she is able to retire. Like all the women of Hill, Stacy makes us stronger and so we’re glad to highlight such an exemplary employee to kick start Women in Construction Week!
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