From the December 2015 issue of The Rotarian
Before she took over a family construction firm in 2001, Doreen Hock-DiPolito was a manager at Honeywell Aerospace, working on navigation systems for fighter jets. Commanding a construction company, she assumed, couldn’t be as difficult as rocket science, but she didn’t consider the rigors of clashing with the old-boys’ network of contractors. (Only 7 percent of American construction firms are owned by women.) Under her leadership, D-Mar General Contracting and Development has overseen the construction of a $7 million school, a 34,000-square-foot kitchen for the airline caterer LSG Sky Chefs, and remodeled gas stations, convenience stores, and fast-food franchises. Still, it’s been tough to win bids, she says, “because they don’t let women to the table. There’s still that stigma.”
Hock-DiPolito, a member of the Rotary Club of Clearwater, Fla., has shared her success with other women by co-founding AchieveHERS, a local organization that builds camaraderie with networking, and through Hammers and Heels, an all-female team with Habitat for Humanity of Pinellas County, which built a two-bedroom “Girl PowerHouse” for a single mother and her daughter in 2014. She notes that opportunities are growing in the business of building – an ideal setting for women, she believes.
“Women are talented at multitasking, and this industry requires multitasking. That’s not picking on men – it’s just saying there’s an opportunity for women.”