Chelsea Hays – Estimator / Project Manager, Texas Materials
Tell us about yourself!
I’m originally from Dallas, and I got my degree in Sociology from Mississippi State. After college, I came back to Texas and spent a couple of years working in the social work field. After that, I joined Texas Materials as an AP clerk.
How did you get started doing this work?
I spent four years working on the finance side of the business in accounting, so I had a solid understanding from that side. But I was really interested in learning more about the industry, and I wanted the chance to get out in the field and put what I learned in the office into real life experience.
I started shadowing the estimators here and learning from them. It took a while to get a full understanding of everything, but I’ve had a real opportunity to get to know a different side of the company now that I’m estimating jobs, putting bids together, and interacting with customers. When I started, I had some general knowledge of construction, but nothing like what I know now.
What do you enjoy most about your job?
No day is the same here, and that’s what I love most. There’s no routine, no monotony. You never know what phone call you’ll get or what challenge could arise on a job site, but it makes it worthwhile.
I also really enjoy the team that I work with. I can call any of them up, bounce ideas off them and ask questions. Our group is super laid back and we joke around with each other a lot. That’s what I’ve missed the most since COVID, everyone being in the office and being able to interact in that way. It’s a good group.
What has been a notable experience you’ve had in this role?
While I was training for this job, I went out with each crew to observe what they do and to pitch in so that I could learn what’s entailed in this business. When I went out with the sealcoat crew, it was 100 degrees outside. We walked so far and I was dying afterward! It really put it into perspective how hard the work is, but our crews get out there and do it every day. It was cool to see and to be able to get that first-hand experience in what they do.
As I started working with customers, I had one guy tell me, ‘Wow, I don’t speak to a lot of women.’ So I like that what I’m doing is unique, but at the end of the day I work just as hard as anyone else and I do whatever it takes to get the job done right.
Any advice for women considering a career in this industry?
Give it a shot! It’s not something that’s commonly thought of to have women in roles like mine, but we can offer a different perspective, and it helps the industry grow and expand. Having more women in the construction industry is a positive thing.
Fun fact about me:
My husband, Cody, is the plant manager at the Bolm Road plant in South Austin. So at the end of the day, we get to exchange stories and catch up about work. He knows everything on the asphalt material side and the technical side of the mix, so he tells me lots of information about it. I’m on the sales side of the business, so it’s really interesting to talk to him and get his insight from the production side.
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