Next up in Epstein’s #ILookLikeAnEngineer spotlight series is Aleisha Jaeger, LEED AP BD+C, our associate vice president and director of construction operations. Aleisha has been with Epstein since 2012 and has nearly 15 years of construction management experience. During her tenure with Epstein Aleisha has help direct our construction services on a wide variety of industrial projects throughout the United States and Mexico. These projects include a new yogurt processing facility for Alpina in Batavia, New York, an expansion to a manufacturing facility for Cameron in Veracruz, Mexico as well as retrofit of an existing building into a new HQ and manufacturing facility for Magid Glove in Romeoville, Illinois. Read more about Aleisha and learn why she became an engineer, if she had any women mentors and what she thinks are the biggest challenges to becoming a women engineer.
Why did you want to become an engineer?
I grew up in a family of educators wanting to be a doctor but when I was a junior in high school, an uncle suggested I look into engineering because I was good at math and science. I really didn’t know what that meant but applied to engineering colleges anyway. It wasn’t until my freshman general engineering course at Marquette, when a developer came in to class to discuss their line of work and I realized what I wanted to do. I wanted to be a small part of the larger orchestration of construction projects. That’s when I discovered I wanted to be a civil engineer and have loved my decision ever since.
Did you have any women mentors?
I had a high school math teacher that helped push me along the way but other than the rare female co-worker, there haven’t been many woman I’d say were mentors specifically. There are a lot of men who have been supportive and helped me along the way. Having chosen the path of construction there are very few women doing what I do. I only hope I can in some small way encourage young women I encounter to pursue engineering and/or construction.
What are the toughest obstacles to overcome being a woman engineer?
Truthfully, I forget sometimes that I might be the only woman on a jobsite or running a large meeting. It just doesn’t occur to me. In construction, specifically onsite, especially when you are young, it takes a little longer to gain the respect of the field staff. I’ve learned to never stop asking questions for input or feedback. This goes a long way towards developing mutual respect and I’ve learned a lot about the business along the way. Engineers are often typecast as anti-social people but in my area of work you have to be just the opposite. Male or female, in construction it’s all about relationships, a skill set any female engineer will need if they want to succeed.