For Women in Construction Week, we’re talking to the incredible women who make everything we do at TexasBit possible. The lab is where our top quality materials get designed and tested – aka, where the magic happens. Isabel Salazar is a Laboratory Technician at TexasBit, and in this video she describes how she started working in the lab and navigating her field as a woman.
Hi, my name is Isabel Salazar, I work for TexasBit. I’m a central lab lab tech, I design for the Dallas plants. I’ve been with the company for five years. I started off as a receptionist, moved on to HR, and then did a complete U-turn and came into the lab, because, I don’t know, I was bored in the office and just wanted some new challenges. I’ve been with the central lab for a year, I’ve gotten all of my certifications so I can design and test everything that I need to test, my aggregate certification, my level 1A and my level 2 within a year, so I’m really excited and proud of myself that I completed that.
What advice do I have for women coming into the construction field? Don’t let anything stand in your way, it’s a very male oriented industry, so it’s a challenge to come in as a woman, because maybe they might think “Oh, she’s just ditzy,” or “she’s just here ’cause she’s pretty, or her looks.” So you come in and you get kind of weird looks, even when we were going for our certifications, you’re the only female there in a group of 10, 15 men, so it’s a little intimidating. But don’t let it intimidate you, stand your ground, let yourself be heard, don’t be afraid to stand up, or that they’re gonna think “Oh, she’s bossy.” You’re just standing up for yourself, you’re gonna get your word out there too, like they would, so don’t let them think that they can belittle you.
Doing the whole U-turn, going from the office to a lab tech, you don’t see that very often, I guess. It was a weird move. I mean, I do love it, but I think that was the biggest surprise, I guess, the U-turn that I did, but I guess that’s also my biggest success. I’m really proud of myself that I did that in a year, and that I just came from a background that didn’t have anything to do with the field, and I just learned it all. In that one year, here I am, everything’s done, everything’s completed. Having a boss who’s also female helped me feel less intimidated, I guess, than having a boss that’s male, which is not a bad thing, but I feel like you gotta get that girl power thing goin’. Luiza helped us to excel, she really was like “I’m a woman too, me and Brenda.” It was a “girl power, excel, teach these boys how we do it” type of thing.
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