This week we celebrate Women in Construction Week (WIC) and the many women who work in and make important contributions to our industry every day! We are pleased to share the stories from many of the women who work and live in NH and VT. The project was created in partnership with I Build NH and NAWIC Granite State Chapter.  Paula Balcius

Why construction?
I grew up in a construction family. My dad was a self-employed mechanical contractor. My youth was centered around the business. It's just always been the industry I've had the most knowledge about. My brothers joined dad's business and it was always the topic of family dinners. Actually, it still is the topic most discussed at family dinners.

What is your education/training background?
B.S. Business and M.S in Accounting

How did you find yourself working in the construction industry?
Every Saturday mom would go grocery shopping and my brothers and I would spend that time at dad's workshop. We cleaned the shop and offices; we made metal strapping; we organized the tools; we took inventory of the sheet metal. When I was old enough, I started tallying the timesheets and eventually processed the W2s from about age 15 until my dad retired at age 82, just a few years ago (so for about 40 years). I guess I've just always been in the industry.

What do you enjoy most about your career?
There are many things, but here are my top two:

  1. I really enjoy experiencing the impact of our projects on a community. Like when a new apartment building goes up to fill the demands for housing. Or a manufacturing building is going to employ hundreds of new workers. Or a new hospital satellite means better access to care.   
  2. Projects are always in different phases (pre-con, buyout, construction, post-construction, warranty) and accounting for it is never monotonous or boring.

What’s the most interesting project you’ve worked on?
My career spans a few decades, so it's really hard to pick. Plus my perspective is not hands-on. From an accounting perspective, the most interesting projects are usually multi-phased and mechanically intensive (like hospitals or manufacturers that require clean environments). 

What advice do you have for women who want to work in the construction industry?
When doing your research on an organization to work for determine if they:

  1. Have a large % of women – maybe even higher than industry standards.
  2. Have women in leadership positions within the organization. 
  3. Supports the development of women in all aspects of the industry (from laborers, carpenters through project management and leadership).


Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC) is a national construction industry trade association representing nearly 21,000 chapter members. Founded on the merit shop philosophy, ABC and its 70 chapters help members develop people, win work and deliver that work safely, ethically, profitably and for the betterment of the communities in which ABC and its members work. ABC's membership represents all specialties within the U.S. construction industry and is comprised primarily of firms that perform work in the industrial and commercial sectors.

I Build New Hampshire
I Build NH represents the construction sector of the state through the Sector Partnerships Initiative (SPI). I Build NH represents companies involved in heavy construction like municipal water treatment systems and road building, electric and telecommunication infrastructure, civil engineering, heating/ventilation/air conditioning businesses and more.

National Association of Women in Construction
The National Association of Women in Construction (NAWIC) has over 115 chapters throughout the United States, including the NAWIC Granite State Chapter. NAWIC provides its members with opportunities for professional development, education, networking, leadership training, public service and more. NAWIC advocates for the value and impact of women builders, professionals and tradeswomen in all aspects of the construction industry.