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Women Gain Ownership Ground
If you're the CEO of a growing home building company, you have to be concerned about finding the managers to continue that growth. Here’s a tip: Look at the talented women around you.
If you’re the CEO of a growing home building company, you have to be concerned about finding the managers to continue that growth. Here’s a tip: Look at the talented women around you. This industry is not the male bastion it once was.
The number of construction and contracting firms owned by women increased 35.5% from 1997 to 2002, according to a recent report by the Center for Women’s Business Research. The study is summarized at www.womensbusinessresearch.org/milliondollar.
Sharon Hadray, the center’s executive director, says that of the nearly 279,000 women-owned businesses with 2002 revenue of at least $1 million, 13.4% were construction firms.
The center’s data do not separate home builders from other types of construction companies. Likewise, the NAHB has no data on how many of its member firms are headed by women, and the National Association of Women in Construction cannot isolate its home builder members.
Still, women clearly are gaining ground in the housing industry, which makes sense given the number of single women now buying homes and how women influence families’ home buying decisions.
“It’s logical that women should excel in the housing industry, considering that women control about 40% of the buying decisions among our customers, according to U.S. Chamber of Commerce research,” says Joanne Theunissen, a home builder in Mount Pleasant, Mich., who chairs the NAHB’s 2,100-member Women’s Council.
Pat Neal, president of Neal Communities in Bradenton, Fla., certainly sees no gender barrier when it comes to managing field operations in his home building company. He recently promoted Leisa Weintraub, former marketing director and project manager, to vice president of development. Weintraub now oversees all planning for new communities, from site preparation and utilities to the layout and design of streets, neighborhoods, amenities and homes.