Jodi Steen, President/Owner of Newport Custom Homes in Corpus Christi, Texas, is a rare breed. Not just because she is a woman builder, but because of how she got started in construction. Most people choose their profession. In Jodi’s case, however, the building profession chose her. “Construction got in my blood,’’ she said. “And I loved it.”
Jackie Azalli, founder of Jackie Homes, has some unusual roots in construction. She was born and raised in England, and after meeting and marrying her husband, Rey Azalli, they both lived and did remodeling work there. However, Rey had various family members who were established in commercial and residential construction in Corpus Christi, Texas, so they decided to move to the US—even though it was a difficult decision for her because she loved England. Little did she know, at the time, that a new passion was waiting for her in Texas– building new homes.
Diane McGroarty moved to Corpus Christi, Texas, from Minnesota in 1998, having grown weary of the cold winter weather in the north. She settled on Padre Island and very soon after, resumed what she had been doing in Minnesota—construction work. Instead of doing remodeling work as she had done there, however, she went into new home construction, primarily because a friend in the industry cautioned her about the challenges of remodeling work in the local warmer, humid climate of South Texas.
Photo by: Michael Sandoval Camelot Designs & Construction is a relatively new builder in the Coastal Bend area, but the company is not new. Since its founding in 2004 by Hugo and Claudia Lara, Camelot Designs & Construction has developed a reputation as a leading builder of fine quality homes in South Texas. The company
Early in her career, when Claudia Lara was pursuing a degree in education, she had no idea that she would indeed be teaching, but not in the academic field. As Vice President of Camelot Designs and Construction, one of Claudia’s key responsibilities is to be able to teach the company’s customers about every phase of home buying and home building—and she is very good at doing that thanks to her keen knowledge, years of experience, and—in no small part—thanks to her woman-builder strengths.
Home building has historically been considered to be a male-dominated industry. While this is still true today, in recent years, the ranks of women in construction have increased dramatically across the nation. Today, even in predominantly male-owned building companies, women hold key positions of power with decision-making roles that impact the entire organization’s future. Women are stepping up.