Tell us a little bit about your career and current position.
As a Market Sales Specialist at White Cap, I am responsible for growing the business of established and prospective customers by developing sales and ensuring that customers receive the highest level of service possible. Sometimes I get to visit jobsites to provide field support and be able to spot service and material-supply gaps and attack those on the spot, making sure the customer is able to obtain all the solutions they need to their everyday activities.
What was your first job in the construction industry and what motivated you to get into the industry?
My very first job in the construction industry was as an intern at a local millwork and cabinetry shop, which was woman and Latin-owned. One big job I remember being involved with was the Marlins Stadium in Miami. It’s not often that you get to be involved with the construction of a large stadium, so it was very exciting.
I wanted to be in construction since I was a little girl. My grandfather, Antonio J. Florez, was a structural and civil engineer and built a lot of high-rises, bridges, and even the iconic bullring of my hometown, Plaza de Toros Monumental in Valencia, Venezuela. He was my biggest inspiration. I even used some of his books, pencils, rulers, and drawing table when I was in engineering school, and I still have those with me today.
What have been your greatest challenges as a woman in the industry? Adversely, what have you experienced that has surprised you in a positive way?
It is no secret that women just have it tougher than men in the construction industry. We have to work twice as hard to be able to prove ourselves that we are in fact good at what we do, and sometimes people still don’t see our worth. But there are a lot of wonderful men out there that are allies of women in construction and actually prefer a female project manager or superintendent on their team because of our ability to have attention to detail, and it is always a nice surprise to find those allies. The industry is slowly shifting, and that is good to see.
What do you love most about your career?
What I love most about the construction industry is seeing how an empty piece of land turns into a beautiful building in a matter of months, and you are able to drive by it and say, “I helped build that”. Additionally, I enjoy talking to my customers every day, getting to know them, getting to hear about their newborn grandson or their last trip to see their family back home. I love connecting with people on a daily basis, it helps my job be more enjoyable.
What has been your proudest working accomplishment thus far in your career?
Thus far, I consider a big accomplishment when I make a large sale. However, my proudest accomplishment has not happened yet. My proudest accomplishment will come when I see a much higher percentage of women working in trades or anywhere in the construction industry thanks to the work we have done at NAWIC.
In your opinion, what are some of the most exciting aspects of the industry at the moment?
I am excited to see how companies are becoming more aware of diversity and inclusion and are actually doing something about it. At White Cap, we are seeing people of different backgrounds, age, gender, sexual orientation, and religion be put in high management position, and that makes me so happy.
What changes in the industry do you hope to see for a future generation of women in construction?
I would love to see more women in trades. I think there is a stigma about going into a trade, period. But the stigma is even higher for women. I don’t think I have ever seen a woman electrician, and I would love her to exist and be the best electrician in her town!
What are your future career goals?
I would like to be more involved in the field. I would like to spend more time on a jobsite through field sales. And hopefully continue growing in the corporate ladder at White Cap.
How is your current place of employment making waves in the construction industry? And would you like to share how they’re supporting women in construction?
White Cap is going through a big transition through the acquisition of Construction Supply Group, which has doubled our branch presence nationally. Additionally, through the Career Development Program, or CDP, (from which I graduated) we are investing in building future leaders that will drive the company forward. White Cap CDP graduates recently put together the Maven Project, which is aimed at finding vendors and manufacturers that provide safety gear designed for women, and stock these items at our local stores. The Maven Project is being launched in Atlanta at the moment, and we are pushing to make this national.
How has NAWIC helped you in your career?
I heard about the White Cap Career Development Program through a former NAWIC member and chapter president, Tracy Scheihing. She helped me get into the program, and almost three years later here I am. Since then, I have been able to tell my female customers and coworkers about the NAWIC, and I have made incredible connections and friendships through our association.
What advice do you have for any women hesitant or thinking about getting into the construction industry?
Don’t be scared, it is much more fun than it looks. You are enough and you are just as good, if not better, than the men who have been running this industry for years. And you have a good support system at NAWIC that will have your back.
Congratulations to Adriana Perez for being recognized as part of our Best Person for The Job feature series. And thank you for all that you do for NAWIC! If you know of a NAWIC member that deserves to be recognized, contact us today.
Stay tuned for more NAWIC features, published monthly.