I always knew I wanted to use my voice to bring people together.
By managing public relations at Ferrovial in California, I’m able to make an impact at the local level, by talking to community members about construction projects in their neighborhood, as well as nationally and internationally, by making sure our projects get their time in the spotlight.
I never imagined I would work in public relations (PR).
Originally, I was interested in broadcast journalism, but when I did an internship with a broadcast agency, I knew that it wasn’t for me. I craved more community interaction.
After college, I started doing business development for a small engineering firm in my hometown of Fresno, California. Eventually, I saw an opening for a PR manager at Ferrovial and decided to make the next leap forward.
Landing a career in the construction industry was a huge surprise for me. Construction was never in my realm of possibilities when I imagined where I was going to work.
But after six and a half years on the job, there’s no other field that I would want to work in.
Connecting with local communities
The PR manager is very important in every construction project because they ensure the community hears about the project and gets the information about how it will impact their daily life.
One of the best things about PR is that we get to share knowledge with the community. It’s our job to sit with the construction managers and listen to what they have to teach us, and then we communicate that to the public in layman’s terms.
It’s valuable for people to understand what’s happening in their community. So, instead of just saying that we’re building an overpass, we talk about specifics like what a drill shaft is, or what deck panels are. The more people know, the more they become engaged and interested in the projects they see being built.
These conversations also give us an opportunity to explain how our projects will transform their community for the better. When the public can see the big picture and understand the long-term benefits, it helps offset any inconveniences they might experience while the project is underway.
For example, sometimes we start work at 4:30 a.m. and there are houses right next to where we’re doing construction. So, you really have to make sure that you’re communicating with people and informing them of what’s going on ahead of time so they’re not surprised.
During the workday, I field calls and make sure all communications are running smoothly. I’m a point of connection between our construction team, our utility team, local business owners, farmers, neighbors, and all sorts of other stakeholders and organizations. I have two phones and they ring all day long.
Luckily, I love to talk. There’s something about speaking and listening and bringing people together that is very empowering. While everyone might not agree on everything, there is one common goal, and that is to get the project done with the least impact to third parties.
Taking communication to the international level
I also get to work with corporate communications. My responsibility is to communicate not only with our internal business units in the United States, but also with the business units in Spain.
Ultimately, our goal is to increase visibility and ensure that our projects are getting the attention that they deserve.
It’s wonderful to have the opportunity to work with people from all over the world, not just here in the States, but also overseas. We connect and share different ideas on how we can put Ferrovial on the map worldwide.
Even as I collaborate globally, I enjoy being based in California, where I was born and raised. I can go home to my family for love and encouragement and support, especially on the challenging days.
Empowering women in transportation
The biggest professional challenge I face is being a woman in a male-dominated industry. There are many times when you go out to the field and 40 men are around and you’re the only female.
I think this is a challenge that we are in the process of overcoming. Men are finally accepting women, listening to our opinions, and valuing our ideas on how to resolve issues.
As always, communication and community building are key. I am a proud member of WTS, an international organization dedicated to empowering women in the transportation industry.
We hold events with women from all different companies, along with community members, business owners, and college students who want to know more about women in transportation and get involved.
By creating this community, we aim to support, connect, and advance women’s careers in transportation.
Building the future together
The best thing about my job is the people. I don’t work with coworkers, I work with my friends, and that’s a blessing.
I think my favorite thing about this job is meeting people from around the world and getting to know them on a personal level as we build something new together.
I’m grateful to be working on projects that are helping the world move forward. And that is exactly what we are doing here.