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Karen Long, Senior Safety & Health Officer, WIC Week Profile 2021

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.  Karen Long

How did you find yourself working in the construction industry?
I was a hazardous materials and marine safety officer in the Army. When I got out it was a natural transition to move into the environmental and marine construction field.

What is your education/training background?
I have a bunch of letters because I couldn’t decide what I wanted to do when I grew up. I have a BA from the University of New Hampshire, an MS Environmental/Civil Engineering from Tufts, and I am certified as a Hazardous Materials Manager (CHMM), Health & Safety Technician (CHST), Instructional Technician (CIT), and Construction Industry Technician (CIT).

What do you enjoy most about your career?
I have had the opportunity to see multiple types of projects and work sites. The type of job and locations change often, so the work is always changing. As such my spirit gets renewed as we start a new project and embrace different types of work.

What’s the most interesting project you’ve worked on?
We conducted a significant cold tar remediation project in Gloucester Harbor in Gloucester, MA. We had over 50 personnel onsite and multiple sub-contractors. We had dredge barges, crane installing steel pipe piles, crane conducting dock building and on-land seawall dismantling and rebuilding all going on simultaneously. 

What advice do you have for women who want to work in the construction industry?
Work hard and learn as much as you can through both education and observation. Dress and act the part. Meaning if you are out in the field, wear work clothing and appropriate boots and PPE. Don't be afraid to get dirty and if given the chance to try a new task or drive a piece of equipment DO IT!


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.

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