With a demanding job in the construction industry, a young son at home and her first daughter due in a matter of days, Krista Evans says late-night email sessions are one of the only ways to keep on top of her job.
“Being a working mom in this industry can be hard,” said Evans, an assistant project manager at Pembroke-based Acella Construction. “I like to keep my head in the game to make sure that my projects stay on schedule. You just make it work.”
Construction was an early career change for Evans, a Lakeville native and University of Massachusetts-Dartmouth graduate who started out in financial services as a fund accountant at J.P. Morgan in Boston. After her next stint at a medical diagnostics company was cut short by a round of downsizing, Evans was exploring her options and applied for an opening at Acella as a receptionist. She worked her way up to assistant project manager in three years.
Acella encourages in-house advancement and gave Evans first-hand exposure to project management, attending status meetings with architects, engineers and clients to get a feel for the workflow.
“I just had the initiative and wanted to learn more and to figure out what was going on at our job sites, and had lots of interest in going to project meetings and how it all started,” she said. “It’s always something new with lots of moving parts, which is exciting.”
Responsibilities range from coordinating client meetings to selecting vendors, managing contracts and traveling to job sites. Her responsibilities have expanded to cover current projects for some of Acella’s biggest clients, including Northeastern University and Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Acella is renovating two playgrounds at an MIT day care center and a working on a clean lab project at Northeastern.
Balancing professional duties with working motherhood presents its share of challenges. On a recent summer Friday, Evans worked from home caring for her 3-year-old son, who was under the weather, and communicated with coworkers and clients via email late into the evening.
In addition to her project management duties, Evans was given responsibility for a major company-wide initiative: implementing a new construction management software system. Company President Dave Dirubbo tasked Evans with researching options, eventually selecting Procore as the new program and training the 35-employee company’s workforce on its operation.
During her relatively brief time in a male-dominated field, Evans has seen an uptick in diversity at Acella as one of three women who work at the firm as in project coordination roles. Evans said she feels the need to prove that she belongs in the industry.
“Sometimes it can be intimidating being a female and not being in the industry for so long, so that can be a little challenging,” she said. “Over the past few years I’ve become more comfortable running meetings and taking the lead on projects and not being so timid. I’ve never been treated different because I’m a woman. It’s just my perception that I sometimes need to work a little harder.”