Summer months in Kansas City can be a sea of orange for road construction.
What you may not know is that a woman played a key role in making some of those improvements happen.
Bridgette Williams is the deputy director of the Heavy Constructors Association of Greater Kansas City. Her group builds roads and infrastructure in the area.
"It's a really exciting job. We do most of the lobbying to make sure the funding is available for our contractors to do the work," she explained.
It's an industry comprised mostly of men and while she is aware that is true, to Williams, it's all about getting the job done.
"It was really not about gender, it's more about who you are. So If you start out from the premise of being open and honest, it's kind of hard to disrespect that. I think once you earn the respect of your colleagues, it's easier to maneuver through those different land mines," she said.
And Williams has reached some of the pinnacles of civic and political leadership.
The Bonner Springs, KS, native has been on the job for about three years. Before that, she was the first woman in the country to become president of an AFL-CIO chapter. She climbed the ladder from part-time receptionist all the way to the top. She played a leading role in ensuring minority- and women-owned companies received their fair share of the Truman Sports Complex construction project and other government projects.
Her success story is one reason why Williams wants other women to consider construction as a career.
"I would tell women the same thing men are told, that you set your goals, priorities, move down that path, take opportunities when they're available and don't let 'no' stop you from taking that next opportunity," she said.
"This is a great industry for women. It is. The benefits, the experience, the opportunity, the difference, you know you are a part of building something, your handprint on that forever, so it's something women shouldn't hold back," she added.
Not holding back is a philosophy she learned from her mother and father. They laid the foundation for she and her six siblings to accomplish whatever they wanted out of life.
"She and my father always taught us that there wasn't anything we couldn't accomplish if that's what we wanted to do. And not to let us stop us from succeeding," she said.
It's a piece of wisdom she hopes to pass on to her children along with putting family first.
"I learned with our older two. I bring them to work. If we have Saturday events, they come with me. If they have events, I schedule around things. It's always been a priority for us to raise our kids," she said.
Williams is raising her four children with her husband and working hard at a job she loves knowing that she's making a contribution to Kansas City.
"It keeps you grounded. For me, it's just awe at what can be accomplished when people work together. It's nice to be able to say I was a part of that. I helped bring that to fruition," she said.
Copyright 2013 KCTV (Meredith Corp.) All rights reserved.
Tuesday, July 22 2014 10:00 PM EDT2014-07-23 02:00:37 GMT
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