As a woman and an immigrant working in the construction field, Andrea Girón knows the power of perseverance.
Born and raised in Honduras, she knew early on that construction was her calling. She would accompany her father, a civil engineer, to construction sites. “As a little girl, I don’t recall ever thinking that a heavy civil construction site was no place for a woman,” she says.
Girón moved to the United States with a scholarship to Midwestern State University, majoring in mechanical engineering. Her first job out of college was as a production intern in a guar chemical plant. Guar is used in a wide range of applications, such as cosmetics or in the oilfield industry, and its production can be a very messy process. “Everything in this plant in Vernon, Texas was dirty,” Girón says, “but I loved it. I would say this experience was the foundation of my career.” With help from mentors, she transitioned into a process engineer and then full-time plant maintenance engineer, as the only woman on the maintenance team.
Then, Girón’s life changed. She got married and spent about a year without a job because of her immigration status.
Returning to the construction industry, she landed a job that would make her reconsider her career choice. “Through almost two years of challenging projects, negative reviews, and the typical gender bias, I decided to quit. It was such a hard decision, but I knew I had given it my best. I felt I had failed, and I blamed myself for that. I had to reinvent myself and find my true value.”
Today, Girón is loving her job as Technical Sales Representative for Neenah Foundry, a cast-iron manufacturing plant. She is able to visit jobsites, problem solve, and build relationships with customers.
“I go back to the days where I would go to projects holding my dad’s hand, except now, I carry myself as the expert in the field.”
It was Neenah Foundry that introduced Girón to NAWIC, too. Today, Girón serves as Vice President and DE&I Committee Lead for the Fort Worth Chapter as well as DE&I Communications Lead for NAWIC National. She has also served as Director and on the Membership & Friendship Committee and PR/Marketing Committee for the chapter. At the 2023 Annual Conference, Girón’s achievements were recognized with the NAWIC National Executive Spotlight Shining Star Award.
For Girón, setting an example for other women in construction was inspired by her family. “I was fortunate to have three sisters that went into a similar field,” she says. “The same way my sisters set the example for me, I can only hope that I can do the same for my kids.”
If you know of a NAWIC member that deserves to be recognized as a Best Person for the Job, contact us today!