Aida Rangel is sixth from the right on the back row of this photo from the topping out ceremony at the Melbourne Orlando Regional Airport. Other women on the job site were Field Clerk Susie Bowers (next to Rangel) and Safety Coordinator Shari Lupardus, second from right in front row.

March 6, 2023

Work-Life Balance is Challenging but Attainable, Female Leaders Say

As mothers and project management professionals, Aida Rangel and Heather Brown appreciate Haskell's flexibility and support when priorities collide.

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Editor’s note: Today, we kick off Women in Construction Week, which celebrates and promotes the role of women in the construction industry. All week we will look at topics addressing this year’s theme of “Many Paths, One Mission.” Today, two of Haskell’s female construction project management professionals who are also mothers share how they strike a balance between family and work.

Aida Rangel knew growing up as the daughter of a general contractor that she wanted to go into construction. But she also knew she wanted to be a partner and parent. When she got to know Haskell as an intern, she knew she had found a place where she could do both.

Rangel joined Haskell four years ago and went to work as an Assistant Project Manager (APM) on a project on Merritt Island, Florida. Her supervisor ensured that she had time to find an apartment and line up childcare for her son, Lazarus.

“They treat me very well in the office and field,” Rangel said. “We all look out for one another. They understood when I had an emergency call for my son at school.”

She’s now an APM on the renovation and expansion of the terminal at Melbourne Orlando International Airport. Her husband, Trevor Bradley, is a Project Manager on a different Brevard County Aviation & Aerospace project in the area, known as Florida’s Space Coast.

“My son is in second grade, and he doesn’t mind changing schools. He likes to make new friends,” Rangel said. “But as he gets older, he’s going to need long-term relationships, so I’m not sure I’m going to want to move every year or every other year.”

While everyone faces the challenge of balancing their professional and personal lives, parents deal with an added degree of difficulty.

Heather Brown says balancing her work and home life is a challenge. However, her supervisors at Haskell “are very supportive, extremely gracious.”

When Brown joined Haskell in 2021, the move to Jacksonville, Florida, from across the state in Destin meant leaving behind the family and support system that helped her care for her daughter, Parker, who is now 5. As a Project Manager, she travels periodically to job sites, and early on that involved trips to Appleton, Minn.

“When I was out of town, my dad would drive the five hours from Destin to stay with Parker,” Brown said. “And if he couldn’t do it, one of my cousins would. So, it was very complicated.”

After a year, Brown transferred to Haskell’s office in Salt Lake City, Utah – professionally a fantastic opportunity but logistically … another challenge.

“I don’t recommend moving across the country with a 5-year-old and two dogs,” Brown said.

She discovered that kindergarten only lasts three hours in Utah, so she needed to arrange before- and after-school care. She ended up on wait lists. She and her boyfriend, Josh Atwood, who is a Haskell Desktop System Administrator, have shared child-care duties for Parker and Josh’s 11-year-old daughter.

“He’s been a tremendous help. Josh can work from home and take Parker back and forth to school,” Brown said. “Next year, she’ll be in first grade, and everything will be so much easier.”

Brown works from home two days a week and makes a point of being in the office or at the job site three days a week. Her current project is a wastewater treatment plant in American Falls, Idaho.

“Everyone at Haskell has been so understanding,” Brown said. “They don’t make me feel guilty about needing time off. It’s your internal standard that you feel you’re not meeting. So, I put pressure on myself for not meeting that standard.”

And Brown said she’s not alone. The Salt Lake office has lots of female team members who have children. “I keep pitching to my boss that we need on-site daycare,” Brown said.

Rangel represents Haskell at career fairs and is encouraged to see more women interested in construction as a career. She is often asked about balancing work and life and meeting family responsibilities, and she responds reassuringly.

“I tell them they don’t have to worry about having to go home to deal with something. It’s not going to hurt their career,” she said. “They can be honest. I’ve never thought I couldn’t get the personal time I need. You don’t find that everywhere. Haskell is more of a family. They don’t treat you as if you don’t have a personal life.”

Haskell is hiring! Explore the many options available to join a growing company committed to offering the BEST job of your life by honoring the balance between work and family.

Promoting and expanding diversity and inclusion is a strategic pillar of Haskell’s long-term vision and is foundational to creating a team member experience of significance, success and satisfaction. Haskell Together is our intentional and consistent initiative to promote open dialogue and bring about positive change.

Haskell delivers $2± billion annually in Architecture, Engineering, Construction (AEC) and Consulting solutions to assure certainty of outcome for complex capital projects worldwide. Haskell is a global, fully integrated, single-source design-build and EPC firm with over 2,200 highly specialized, in-house design, construction and administrative professionals across industrial and commercial markets. With 20+ office locations around the globe, Haskell is a trusted partner for global and emerging clients.

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