In celebration of Women in Construction week, Swinerton is proud to spotlight the female team members on the Presidio Tunnel Tops project!

Women represent approximately 10% of the construction workforce. Of those, around 4.0% are on jobsites, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics 2020 survey. With these statistics, it’s kismet that several female Swinerton team members are working together at the Presidio; moreover, our client, The Presidio Trust’s leadership on this project is also all female.

Here is some insight from the female crew on the Presidio Tunnel Tops project:


Project Manager Elizabeth Messana
started in the construction industry in 2001. She knew of the job sector because her Dad worked for a general contractor and her mom encouraged her – go Mom! “As a public school teacher, my Mom understood how critical it was to make a livable wage and that it was far more likely in a male-dominated field. There was one key turning moment during a middle school take-your-daughter-to-work day where we were at the tech company headquarters, which my dad had recently completed, where I realized just how interesting this industry is and how complex building can really be.“

Assistant Project Manager Erika Frederick has been in the construction industry for more than 10 years. To women considering this field, she advises “Take advantage of opportunities that expose you to the industry – such as courses, career fairs, volunteer opportunities, seminars, and interest groups. Reach out to a professional in the industry (e.g., through LinkedIn) and ask them to meet up for an informal conversation. Ask questions. Doing any one of these things will help you determine if construction might be a good fit for you.”

Assistant Project Manager Caitlin O’Brien has been in the industry since 2014. She reflects on her positive experience working with predominately women on a project.  “I have found it creates a more supportive environment. Construction is typically ‘sink or swim’, but with an all-women team, there is a sense of shared experience that helps us lift up one another.”

Project Engineer Gabby Dang joined Swinerton in 2019. She “studied Civil Engineering and started drafting plans as an intern. When I interviewed with Swinerton, the sheer size of the projects I visited during my interview is what drew me in initially. I was drawn to the fast-paced environment, and seeing the plans come to life, in contrast to working on my computer and not being able to see the tangible builds of my work.”

Estimator Gladys Paloma de la paz has been in the industry since 2011. What she likes best about working in construction is “The industry has many career paths to choose from. And you can use your experience and skills to other career paths. So, you can create your own path and grow professionally. And of course, it is great to be part of the team who built something!”

These are a handful of women in construction who happen to be on the same project. For more insight from all of these women, click here. May their stories encourage more women to join the construction industry. Diversity is key to a more vibrant workforce.

To learn more about this iconic project and our client, The Presidio Trust’s project leadership, who also happens to be female, click here.