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Three women from different walks of life shared stories and passed along suggestions for success at the annual Women in Concrete Breakfast & Forum held at World of Concrete in Las Vegas.

A career takes many detours, explained Susan Lane, manager of transportation structures for PCA. Lane, who started as a consulting engineer, has also worked as an adjunct professor and for Fannie Mae. That was before she realized she missed her true calling—bridges.

“I've learned to pursue what you really like,” said Lane. “I was out of the industry for six years and now I'm back.” She encouraged the attendees to not worry about the different roads a career may take, but to pursue what they truly love.

Sometimes being a jack-of-all-trades leads to the right career path. Kathy Reissig, marketing manager for Stone Construction, Honeoye, N.Y., found her diverse experience gave a solid footing for what she does today. Reissig's background includes marketing, training, public relations, accounting, and trade show experience.

She has become involved with several concrete industry associations and is a member of the World of Concrete Exhibitor Advisory Board. “There's no better way to build up your respect and your reputation than by getting involved,” she said. “And by doing that, you'll build both your company and yourself.

Gaining respect in the industry involves proving yourself, just as any newcomer would have to do on a job, said Erin Williams Christie, environmental director at Ready Mix USA, Birmingham, Ala. She encouraged those entering the field to get experience to back up their education. Christie is a graduate of Middle Tennessee State University's Concrete Industry Management (CIM) program, and she works with current students to provide them with an insight to the industry.

Christie also explained how the CIM program benefited her. “I had no idea of the extent and reach of this industry,” she said. “But the minute I got there, I felt I had found my family and found a home. This is a great industry to be in.”

The Women in Concrete Breakfast & Forum is hosted by THE CONCRETE PRODUCER and CONCRETE CONSTRUCTION magazines. This is the fifth year women have gathered at World of Concrete to learn from fellow women in the industry.

Women in Concrete brings you stories about women who are making a difference in the concrete industry. E-mail comments or ideas to Kari Moosmann, cofounder of the Women in Concrete Alliance, at info@womeninconcrete.org.


Keep the Momentum Going

This year the Women in Concrete Alliance (www.womeninconcrete.org) was introduced at the Breakfast & Forum as a networking resource to extend the reach of the Women in Concrete event throughout the year. The Alliance will supply information, opportunities, and mentoring to women working in the concrete construction industry.

For more information on the Women in Concrete Alliance, e-mail info@womeninconcrete.org, or visit www.womeninconcrete.org. There, you can link to the Women in Concrete Facebook fan page, Women in Concrete group on LinkedIn, or follow Women in Concrete on Twitter.