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Welcome to The Work Day, a series that charts a single day in various women’s working lives — from gallery owners to stay-at-home parents to chief executives. In this installment, we hear from construction senior superintendent Monique Holley. She recorded a workday in October.

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Name: Monique Holley

Age: 38

Location: Northern Virginia

Job title: Senior superintendent at Clark Construction Group

Previous jobs: I’ve worked at Clark for my entire career. I’ve been fortunate enough to work on some amazing projects alongside some of the most passionate, hard-working people in the industry. A few select projects include CityCenter DC (a high-profile mixed-use development in downtown D.C.), West Lane (a luxury residential building in Bethesda, Md.) and the Lab School of Washington (a school in D.C. for students with language-based learning disabilities).

What led me to my current role: Over time, I’ve had the opportunity to shadow, work alongside and lead creative people in the day-to-day activities that make up my job. Whether it’s my own team, our design or trade partners, or clients, all have left a thread in the collage that makes up my drive to deliver a great project.

On paper, I am a senior superintendent, but as my career progresses, it is so much more than just the title. It’s the experience of being able to deliver a project that impacts the everyday lives of the community. It’s being able to walk around the city with family and friends and being able to say “I built that”. Lastly, I am hopeful that I’m able to inspire other women that construction is an exciting and rewarding industry (and that there are tons of opportunities to learn, grow, and be successful).

How I spend the majority of my day: I am responsible for helping lead construction on the Metropolitan Park 6,7,8 project, which is the future home of Amazon’s Virginia headquarters (HQ2). Once complete in 2023, the project will feature two sustainable office towers, 65,000 square feet of retail, a renovated public open space, and over a half-mile of bike lanes.

I had the opportunity to be part of the interview process and have been here from the beginning of demolition to where we are today.

If I had to sum it up, I plan the work on-site, motivate my teammates to meet the goals we set each day, tackle challenges that arise and capitalize on opportunities on the job.

I love taking a step back and thinking about what we’ve been able to accomplish together as a team (our own employees, clients, trade partners, architects and everyone else who has a hand in the project). Those are my favorite parts of the day. After all, the Latin root of “construction” means to “come together.” That’s what keeps me in the industry, and it amazes me every day.

My workday

5 a.m.: Pet my dog, Chili, before I walk out the door to head to work.

6 a.m.: As I park my car and put on my boots, I begin to think of my tasks for the day. This is my “centering moment.”

6:45 a.m.: Have a team huddle to discuss our key activities and goals for the day.

7 a.m.: For the rest of the morning, I go on safety walks to ensure safety compliance on-site and “focus walks” with my teammates to review schedule milestones.

Monique talking with a colleague. (Courtesy of Monique Holley)
Monique talking with a colleague. (Courtesy of Monique Holley)

12 p.m.: Eat lunch with my team. We always try to get together and not “talk shop.” Fostering these personal relationships with my colleagues helps us work harder for one another. When challenges arise and when times are challenging, we have moments to reflect on and knock out the hurdles.

1 p.m.: Progress meetings with our trade and design teams to ensure the project’s design elements can be built as drawn.

(Courtesy of Monique Holley)
(Courtesy of Monique Holley)

2 p.m.: My team and I do a volunteer activity (we paint park benches and bond over 2000s Top 40 hits).

3 p.m.: Recap the day and focus on completing individual tasks.

4:30 p.m.: Prepare for an upcoming meeting for the Field Development Group, a Clark training program designed to prepare future superintendents (I went through the program, and now I am fortunate enough to have the opportunity to help lead it in the Mid-Atlantic region).

5:30 p.m.: Head home for the day to relax and recharge.

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