Best Person for the Job – Karen Weatherford

Meet Fort Worth chapter member Karen Weatherford

Since Karen Weatherford transitioned from a career in the travel industry to construction almost 25 years ago, the industry has changed tremendously. “I am part of the older crowd that has had to deal with men not taking women seriously,” she says. “They discounted much of what I said or did and would rather me do the administrative work.” Today, Weatherford is an estimator for Key Construction, a national general contractor with a strong focus on education, healthcare, municipal, retail, multi-family and data center projects. She sees the industry as evolving, with improved safety standards, new technology, younger people influencing workflows, and more inclusivity of races, genders, and capabilities. Women are increasingly entering in field and in skilled areas as well as in administrative roles. However, she says, “The C-suite is still somewhat closed to women, unless they are a woman-owned firm. I would like to see the “men at the top” quit discounting the abilities of women to make the hard decisions and embrace the talent that they have right under their noses.”

As part of the NAWIC Fort Worth Chapter leadership, Weatherford encourages women in construction to fight for their seat at the table. Over the years, Weatherford has served as Chapter Director, Vice President, President, and has chaired several committees. For the 2024-2025 year, she has been appointed as a Trustee for the NAWIC Education Foundation (NEF). “NAWIC helped make my passion for construction grow and has put me in a place to advocate for the younger generations to come,” she says, citing NEF courses and shadowing NAWIC members as two examples of the benefits of membership. Key Construction also supports NAWIC. In the division Weatherford works for, the president actively pursues more women to enter construction in non-traditional roles and promotes NAWIC at job fairs and other hiring events. Women working for Key Construction in that division are also introduced to

NAWIC as interns, new hires, and as they are promoted. Weatherford says, “The more I engage the other divisions, the more we are seeing this trend grow across the board.”

For Weatherford, in addition to the good living a career in construction can offer women, there is also a sense of accomplishment in seeing a project go from concept to completion and the opportunity to collaborate as part of a team. “Whether you want to get down and dirty in the field, supervise projects in the field, manage projects from the office or work in support roles, there are so many options available, and so many women within NAWIC to support your efforts.”

If you know of a NAWIC member that deserves to be recognized as a Best Person for the Job, contact us today!