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Kayla Costa is an Assistant Project Manager with Fulcrum Associates in Amherst, NH.
Costa started in the construction industry as a student at Alvirne High School in Hudson, NH where the school offered many vocational classes students could take. She completed two years of Building Trades and learned the basics of construction from tools and equipment to framing, roofing and siding sheds.
"I wanted to try a field of work that wasn’t a “stereotypical” female role," said Costa. She knew that, working in construction, she would likely be one of the only females in the industry. "But that didn’t stop me. It was something I was interested in and being the only girl did not keep me from learning what I came to learn." Her interest in the field grew from there doing small charity projects and working for Ripaldi Construction as a laborer where she continued to learn and improve her skills.
After graduating high school, Costa knew that she wanted to stay in the construction field but was not sure in what capacity. She originally thought civil engineering and designing bridges and roadways, but discovered that was not the case. In her 2nd year at Wentworth Institute of Technology, she switched her major from Civil Engineering to Construction Management which ended up being exactly what she was looking for.
In college, she was one of 12 females in a class of over 100 students. The support she got from professors and classmates at Wentworth helped her to excel. "I had two female professors who had both excelled in their careers in the construction industry and were two people I not only looked up to when I was in their classes, but people I continue to connect with today," said Costa. "I got to learn about heavy equipment, estimating, scheduling, surveying, material strength and analysis, project management, construction law and so much more. It has all been extremely helpful in getting me to where I am today." Costa also completed two semesters of Co-Op / internships at Wentworth, one of which was at Fulcrum where she started her internship and never left.
Working with Fulcrum, Costa has had the opportunity to experience different fields including hospitals, restaurants, supermarkets, retirement homes, apartment complexes, lab spaces, etc. She has enjoyed the opportunity to learn about all of the trades through her work on the various projects.
Costa is grateful for the incredible experience she's had and looks forward to the future. "Coming into the industry after college, I was not sure what to expect," admits Costa. "There were a lot of questions that ran through my mind. The big question was, would the industry support me as a female in construction? The answer was yes, maybe not right off the bat, but I got there. Yes, I got support, especially from my co-workers. There have been times where I get questioned, but I always had the backup information I needed and proved I knew what I needed to do and knew what I was doing."
Costa is grateful that she has had the opportunity to work alongside some strong women in the industry who have helped her become the woman she is today. "I hope to provide that kind of guidance and support for other women coming into construction," said Costa.
Working at Fulcrum has also provided Costa the opportunity to be an active member of the NH/VT chapter of Associated Builders and Contractors. She started going to the ABC events in college during her first internship. The events provided great networking opportunities.
It was through ABC that Costa learned of the Young Professionals Group, also known as ABC YPG. YPG was not only a great way to continue to meet others, but it provided a place where she could develop and further her professional development. She became a full-time employee at Fulcrum in 2021 and shortly after applied and was accepted as a member of the YPG Leadership Committee.
Costa really enjoys the opportunity to be part of a group dedicated to supporting young professionals. In 2022 she was voted Vice Chairwoman, which she says, took her position in the committee to a whole new level. "This included lining up Underwriters for the 2022 year, working alongside the Chairman and helping run our monthly meetings," said Costa. "I got to be a main point of contact as we took the 2022 year to continue re-growing the events and education chapter."
Costa is in her third year on the YPG leadership committee and currently serving as Chairwoman. This role also provides her the opportunity to be an Ex-Officio on the ABC Board of Directors. "I now get to be the one to rally the support of the more tenured people in the industry and get assistance in helping make us young professionals feel welcomed and set-up for success," said Costa. "The events and educational classes we set up are a great way for young professionals and seasoned professionals to interact, share knowledge and connect with others who may come from a different trade or field in the construction industry."
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