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Meet Lydia Lane, Answer Me This! Winner

Construction Solutions Lydia Lane
March 1, 2021 at 6:00 a.m.

By Karen L. Edwards, RCS Editor.  

Each week someone wins a prize for answering a question, next week’s winner could be you! 

One of our most popular giveaways is sponsored by Gibraltar Building Accessories as part of their ‘Construction Solutions’ campaign designed to supply feedback from contractors to help them continue to innovate. We think it’s popular because it is so easy to participate. Simply answer one simple question and you’ll be entered into a drawing for a prize. If selected as the winner, you’ll get your choice of a free pizza, an RCS Box of Love or a box of donuts. 

This week I had the pleasure of speaking with Lydia Lane, Preconstruction Division Manager at Design Systems & Services Corporation in Petersburg, Virginia. Talking with roofing contractors is always so interesting because everyone has a unique story to share. Lydia was no different.

Lydia grew up in construction with her grandfather owning a masonry company in Hampton Roads, Virginia. “I was always around it,” explained Lydia. “I learned to read blueprints at a very early age.”

Her first job working at a roofing company was while she was in high school. She was helping out a friend’s family roofing business by doing administrative support work like filing. “After I graduated high school, I began working there full time as an office assistant,” said Lydia.

The next step in Lydia’s journey led her to enroll in an intensive three-month class at the Newport News shipyard to do 3D modeling for the new class of aircraft carriers. After the class was completed, she spent nine months in on-the-job training and when that was completed, she earned the designation of Associate Designer. “I loved it because we were using 3D modeling way back in 2003. We were way ahead of the curve.”

She took a break from the shipyard and ended up back at the roofing company and began working as an estimator for them, landing them one of their largest projects to date at the time. After starting a family, she moved out of state for awhile and focused on being a full-time mom.

Eventually she made her way back to Virginia and began looking for her next opportunity. It turned out to be a temp job for a general contractor who ended up hiring her full time as an administrative assistant, working her way into a project management assistant role.

“One day, out of the blue, I got a phone call from one of our subcontractors who said ‘I need someone to run my roofing division, are you interested?’,” Lydia said. “That was early May of 2018 and since then I’ve gone from managing the roofing division to taking over preconstruction.”

The company has grown exponentially in the three years that Lydia has been there. She shared that they are the only Johns Manville Pinnacle contractor in the state of Virginia and first one in Virginia to achieve that status in eleven years.

Lydia is a big supporter of being involved in industry organizations. She is a member of National Association of Women in Construction’s (NAWIC) Richmond chapter and the company has supported her active involvement, sponsoring events, and letting her volunteer time as a leader of the association. She applied for membership in the Virginia Association of Roofing Professionals and was denied, but she’s not giving up. She is also a member of National Women in Roofing and is looking forward to becoming more active in her local council.

As for her advice to women considering a career in roofing, she says, “It’s not easy. Any position where you are in a nontraditional role is going to be difficult, but the challenges are worth it. You’ll still hit some walls, but don’t give up.” Lydia recommends that women get involved in as many organizations as they can for the support, networking, and learning opportunities.

She sent me a note after we spoke to be sure I let everyone know that Women In Construction (WIC) Week is coming up March 7-13, 2021, which also coincides with International Women’s Day on March 8. Her Richmond chapter of NAWIC is hosting events all week and some are virtual for any women in the industry who would like to join in!

Want to try to be next week’s Answer Me This! winner? Find the link to our latest question in our Forum here.  



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