Staff Spotlight: Women in Construction - Megan Finch, Project Manager
Twenty-eight-year-old Megan Finch is walking a construction site on a crisp December morning. She's giving Hazeldale Elementary School Principal Angela Tran a tour, helping her imagine what the new school will look like.
Megan is the Beaverton School District Project Manager for the rebuild of Hazeldale Elementary School. It's her job to ensure the school is finished in time for the 2018-2019 school year. That's a lot of responsibility. What's even more remarkable? This isn't the first school she's built.
Being young and female in the construction industry posed its challenges, especially early in Megan's career. Megan recalls her first major project building a supermarket in the Seattle area. "All of the subcontractors knew my role, but they could never remember my name. So they would just call me any random girl's name." She took it in stride. "People may look at you and make snap judgements because that's how people are. But once you work with them, they realize that you work hard and do a good job."
Megan grew up in a small, rural town in California. Always strong in math and science, she really enjoyed taking drafting in high school. When it came time to choose where to go to college, she picked Washington State University in Pullman for its Architectural Studies program. After college, Megan moved to Portland and was hired as a project engineer. After working on tenant improvements for 6-8 months, she worked on the supermarket project in Seattle. "That was my real trial by fire," says Megan. "I was pretty green."
Megan was hired as a project coordinator for the Beaverton School District in the Fall of 2014. She worked on several smaller projects and was scheduled to be the project coordinator for the rebuild of Vose Elementary School when two project manager positions came open. Megan was promoted to project manager for Vose.
When asked what it was like to build an entire school, Megan replies, "You have nothing. You have an idea and then it literally comes out of the ground. There is a lot of technical stuff that makes that happen, but it's a really cool experience to see something go from paper to real life."
Megan has two pieces of advice for young people. "You are not the smartest person in the room," she says. "With construction management, you are the person who ties all the people together. I know a little bit about a lot of things, rather than a lot about one thing. I know just enough to get a conversation going, facilitate communication and solve problems."
Her other words of wisdom, pick something you like and that might lead to something you love. Says Megan, "I thought I was going to be an architect. I am not an architect. I found out that I am probably not suited to be an architect. But it led me to something that I love doing."