Women in Construction Week Featuring: Alisha Oliver

10 March, 21 / Meet the Expert, Sunland Asphalt, Women In Construction Week

Today we are highlighting Alisha Oliver! Alisha is the first female Project Manager for our Phoenix Division. Find out why she calls herself the Sunland Firefighter!


What is your title and role with Sunland? 

My title at Sunland is a Project Manager, but prior to this I was a project coordinator for our Phoenix Division.  I find it really difficult to explain what my role is at Sunland because responsibilities are constantly evolving as we grow.  If you ask my previous boss, Matt Johnson, he would tell you my title is Elmer’s Glue because I hold everything together.  I like to call myself the Sunland Firefighter because my job is to solve problems and give our customers the best experience possible during their construction projects.


What companies have you worked for?

I’ve worked for a roof coating manufacturing company, the second-largest elevator company in the world, Schindler Elevator, as a contract administrator and now at the BEST PLACE IN THE WORLD TO WORK, Sunland Asphalt.


What positions have you previously held?

I have an extensive background in customer service but also worked as a contract admin for Schindler.  Much like my position at Sunland, my role there was constantly evolving between contract administration, payroll, accounts payable and purchasing.  I’ve never shied away from added job responsibilities and it’s allowed me to grow both personally and professionally.


What professional associations/organizations do you belong to? 

I am currently serving as the Vice President for the National Association of Women in Construction’s Phoenix Chapter.  This association has brought incredible value to me personally and I’m incredibly thankful that Sunland has supported me through it and look forward to sharing it with other women at Sunland.


What is the best part of your job?

That’s a difficult question, but I would say the people!  Sunland is literally like a family.  I absolutely love everyone I get to work with from the shop, the crews out in the field, our sales team, estimating team and the awesome management team we have.  Pair that up with our awesome clients that I’ve been able to build relationships with over the last five years and I have to say I’m pretty blessed.  No day is like another and you never know what is going to get thrown your way and that’s what makes it exciting!


What is challenging about your job?

All of it can be challenging depending on circumstances, but every day is rewarding.  It’s an amazing feeling to have built relationships and earned confidence from people to know that if they have an issue or need help solving a problem, they know they can call me any time day or night and I’ll help.  Our side of the business is extremely fast-paced and you have to be quick on your feet with recognizing a problem and working towards a solution so it doesn’t cause downtime for our crews or inconveniences for our clients.  Some days I truly feel like I’m going a million miles an hour and don’t have time to breathe, but when I tell you it’s incredibly rewarding and I love what I do, it doesn’t do it justice.


What interests you about working in the construction field?

There’s something really exciting about being a part of something people depend on every day.  From building commercial buildings, residential areas, schools, hospitals and roads, we do it all.  We get to drive by these projects with our kids and say “I was a part of building this.”   This industry is constantly evolving and offers opportunities for people to advance as their knowledge and experience increase.  Women only make up 10% of the workforce in the construction industry.  I really want people to look back on what I bring to this industry and my company/department and feel like I made a difference and paved the way for more women to enter the construction industry and thrive here!


What is your advice for other women pursuing a career in construction?

I think a common misconception is that this is an industry for men and men alone and I hope that women will challenge that mindset and not be afraid to jump in and offer a different perspective on things.  There are so many different jobs in the construction industry that are exciting for men and women and we really need to do a better job of reaching out to our youth to show them how lucrative and exciting the construction industry is and that they have the ability to change the future.


How can Sunland attract more women to the construction industry?

Equal opportunity for advancement and leadership opportunities.