Jessica Francis And The Philosophy Of Construction.
It’s not often you meet a philosophy major in the construction business. Then again, you haven’t met Jessica Francis.
She’s our newest Project Engineer, having joined us in April, bringing a solid decade of experience in construction. And Jessica often gets asked if her field of study comes in handy on the job.
“Many people struggle to see the real-world application of a philosophy degree, but it’s been extremely helpful throughout my career. Philosophy teaches you to expand how you think, understand, and process the world around you. It also helps you solve problems and find solutions. That’s a very helpful skill when maneuvering the ever-changing world of construction management. I wanted a major that was open-ended and broad. More than anything, philosophy made me more curious and encouraged me to continue to pursue knowledge and to be a lifelong learner, and I’m very thankful for that.”
Jessica proved that by how quickly she picked up the construction business. It all began when her brother needed extra help on a project.
“He called me up and said, ‘We need a steel painter.’ I was at first intimidated by such a physical job in a male-dominated industry. But I went out and proved to myself that I was capable of learning new skills and that sweat equity and hard work build a reputation. With that mindset, and a crew of 2-6 guys, we painted over 60 Costco locations in under 4 years. As the only female in the field at the time, it was me and 237 men, but I fit right in.
“In this industry, women aren’t often in the field, but I’m happy to see that changing, and to see women rising through the ranks. I am proud of what I achieved as a steel painter and foreman, and look forward to utilizing those skills as I continue in my new role as Project Engineer for SEI.”
While she can tell you a lot about metaphysics, space, and time, Jessica also has a philosophy when it comes to the job—namely that of proving her mettle through hard work.
“When it comes to construction side, lead by example, be the first one in and the last one out, be willing to work in the rain and the heat and the cold and find satisfaction in a job well done. Once you have the respect of your crew, you’ve got it. That means lots of time spent away from home and with your nose to the grindstone.”
The more Jessica works, the more she learns. That includes some pretty esoteric skills, such as becoming a certified remote drone pilot with the FAA in 2022.
“I’m continuously impressed with drone capabilities and how it benefits our industry. It lets us create site maps and documentation, daily photos and video plans. That way we are able to track site progress, create internal daily reports, and generate marketing materials for prospective clients.”
She’s also wanting to map out a career with SEI. According to her, we’re the perfect fit when it comes to learning something new every day.
“SEI has given me an amazing opportunity to expand my knowledge and skills. Instead of only being on-site for framing and painting, I’m getting full-scope exposure from day one to the day we open the store. Learning the entirety of the construction process from start to finish has been extraordinary to me and I’m learn more every day about SEI’s principles and standards. It’s been an exciting opportunity for me, and I look forward to many more years with SEI.”
Working on a job site means long, hard hours. But Jessica plays hard, too. An expert biker, she takes her wheels wherever she goes, and hits the nearest greenway after work.
So welcome aboard, Jessica. In a business where thinking on your feet is part of the job, you’re putting a completely new set of tools to work for us.