A Perfect Fit
“Once I got in, I loved it. It just fit my personality. I loved the early hours. You start at 6 a.m. Your day is done by 2 p.m. You can’t bring your work home with you. I liked that. And so I stayed.”
Equal Pay, Equal Work
“This is the one industry, at least in the union, that you make dollar-for-dollar what a man makes. So if some guy is paying me the same amount he’s paying my buddy Jeff, and Jeff is lifting three two-by-fours and running up the hill, I have to do the same. And Jeff is 6′2″, 250 pounds. I’m only 5′5″. I weigh 105. It doesn’t matter. The boss is like, ‘You’re making the same as him, you’ve got to do the same amount of work.’”
Moving On Up
“I didn’t want to sit there pounding nails for the rest of my life for someone else. A guy can sit there, he’s a carpenter, he’s good, he’s automatically going to get promoted to foreman. And with me, I have to have this long, extensive resume to prove to the guy that not only can I build, but I’ve got all of these classes I’ve taken in construction management. I know construction law. I can write contracts.”
Who’s That Girl?
“I thought that was going to be a problem, being a female, that people wouldn’t hire me. When I first started my company, I used my brother’s voice on my voice mail, because I was so afraid if someone heard my voice they’d be like, ‘Who’s this girl?’ You know, click.”
Does Your Husband Know?
“People seek me out. They try to find a female to work with because they’re sick of the condescending attitude from the men out there. One lady, her story kind of shocked me. She was like, ‘I’ve been looking for someone like you forever.’ She wanted to do this huge extensive remodel on her house and she said, ‘I’ve met with at least five contractors that were men.’ And just the way they talked to her, like, ‘Does your husband know that you’re doing this? Do you have your husband’s permission to do this?’ I was just shocked.”
“I was working upstairs on a bathroom remodel, and we accidentally drilled a hole through a pipe that leaked on the downstairs condo. It was my fault. So we fixed the leak, of course. I went downstairs. The owner of the condo comes home. He was very upset. I tried my best to calm the situation down. I said, ‘I’m going to replace your computer. Anything that was broken, I’m going to replace it right away. You’re not going to have to fight me to get your money.’ The next day, I had a check for him. I was profusely apologetic. Then he hired me to do his whole remodel. He was looking at another contractor, but he said, ‘Arcadia, I liked the way that you handled the situation. You were on top of things. You were apologetic.’”