Celebrating Women in Construction Week

March 10, 2023 |

Twelve years ago at Kiewit’s Women’s Construction & Engineering Leadership Seminar (WCELS), Monique Hilderbrandt heard a Kiewit employee share advice that shaped the way she approaches her own career today.

“I forgot who spoke, but she talked about setting boundaries. ‘I know I might need to work 10-hour days, but on Wednesdays, I’m going to leave early so my husband and I can eat dinner together.’”

“I try to do this in my personal life. I set aside time for the family aspect. We can get burnt out very quickly if we don’t.”

In 2011, Hilderbrandt was a Kiewit intern. She learned about WCELS – which is now cobranded as Future Women in Kiewit Summit – and attended in Omaha, Nebraska.

“I felt like I was really immersed in the Kiewit culture by that point,” she said. “But after that event, I remember being super pumped up about going and working in the industry after seeing things from a woman’s perspective.”

Fast forward to 2022, Hilderbrandt was helping an intern learn more about attending the summit. After reaching out to Kiewit Talent Development Director Rae Magistro to get the details, she offered to be a resource if there was anything she could do to help.

A few months later, Hilderbrandt, now a senior project controls engineer, joined a panel of experienced Kiewit employees to talk to 95 collegiate women about construction and engineering careers at the summit.

“Going from an attendee being inspired by our employees, to 10 years later being a presenter and passing that inspiration and advice along to others, is a great example of the impact we can make with our Women in Kiewit efforts,” said Magistro.

Whether it’s at events, when she’s on campus helping recruit, or talking to new colleagues on the job, Hildebrandt encourages people to “get out and get engaged with the craft.”

“We wouldn’t have a job if the craft didn’t do their jobs well,” she said. “Give them the respect they’re due, be willing to go out and get your hands dirty. That will return tenfold what you learn in school. It will get you more comfortable with talking to people with a different background. It gives you the confidence you need to be successful.”

As Kiewit joins the industry to celebrate Women in Construction Week, March 5-11, Hilderbrandt offered a personal thought on what managers can do to develop and retain more women.

“When you recognize there’s a role that someone can fill, let them be part of the decision. Don’t make decisions and decide for them,” Hilderbrandt said. She encouraged women to be confident and put their name out there for opportunities, and for leaders to advocate for their employees when they recognize their potential.

Celebrate Women in Construction Week with Us

Download a Women in Construction Week coloring page here.


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