Operations manager Gabriela Lachapel and assistant superintendent Jennifer Zhao were profiled in New York Real Estate Journal’s 2021 Women in Building Services Spotlight, which celebrates women and their achievements in the AEC industry. Read some of Gabriela’s and Jennifer’s Q&As below.
How do you contribute to your community or profession? The role I tend to take on in every facet of my life, professionally, personally, or otherwise, is that of a caretaker. My hope is to make a problem easier to solve, a solution more feasible to implement, a decision more straightforward and simpler. I’ve spent time at my local food pantry helping to pack grocery bags, sorting donations, and preparing hot meals for underserved communities. At work, I take on additional education and training where possible to be as equipped as I can to serve as a reliable, trustworthy partner to our executives, project managers, and superintendents.
What led you to your current profession? I studied civil engineering in college, and in my freshman year I told my classmate I was not going to join the “dark side”—construction. But as time passed and I started interning at different companies, I realized how fast I could truly learn how to build if I worked in construction. I found Shawmut’s Construction Management Skills Training program and after rotating through different construction roles, I decided the field would be my home. I have not left since, and while it is tough at times, I love being in an environment where I can problem solve, collaborate with a diverse group of people, and get my cardio in.