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October 20, 2016

Lakeside's first female superintendent, Marque Craig, says times have changed

  • Craig said a few years ago "the worst thing you could be was a female superintendent."
    Lease Crutcher Lewis


    I am honored to serve as incoming president of the Puget Sound Chapter of the National Association of Women in Construction.

    My goal is to create a foundation and support network for all women in the industry. It is important to build an environment where women feel included and empowered to grow their network. NAWIC will continue its focus to encourage women to enter the industry and pursue careers with strong professional growth opportunities.

    The construction industry is an engaging, diverse, challenging and rewarding field, yet many women still don't know about the many jobs available. I was very fortunate to grow up in a home where my parents never set boundaries or limits to the goals within my reach. Having always enjoyed math and science, I naturally gravitated to engineering and construction. Both my parents had similar titles in the Army, so I never saw a discrepancy between male and female roles.

    Marque Craig is a prime example of women ignoring this boundary. As the first female superintendent at Lakeside Industries, Craig has paved the way for others. I had the pleasure of catching up with Craig for an interview, which is not an easy task. This busy woman is a full-time working parent, vice president of the PTSA at her son's school, Little League volunteer and member of the NAWIC board.

    Q: How many years have you been at Lakeside?

    A: I started at Lakeside right out of college and have been here 19 years. Starting as a flagger, I quickly moved to a traffic control supervisor. In 2007 I was promoted to superintendent.

    Q: What has been your most memorable project?

    A: The I-405 braided ramps to SR 520. This was my first project being in charge out on the freeway. There were a lot of moving parts and coordination. Starting on a Saturday, we pulled an all-nighter with four paving crews and paved over 5,000 tons in one weekend. My job was to ensure everyone was pointed in the right direction.

    Marque Craig started as a flagger, moved to traffic control supervisor and then superintendent at Lakeside Industries.

    Q: Who has been your mentor and why?

    A: Bill Dempsey. Bill was the division manager at Lakeside when I started 19 years ago. He started the Rising Star program in which each division manager selects a person, and he chose me. He left me in charge and gave me the guidance I needed to be successful. He was also there to provide good advice but let you figure things out on your own. Bill is now the production manager at Lakeside Industries.

    Q: Goals for the future?

    A: I am happy in my current position. My goals moving forward are to encourage and help promote other women into the role. Working with others to create the skill set required to develop future superintendents. In the last 10 years, I have been working with Jaylynn Markwald as my assistant superintendent and am excited to see her take over the superintendent role in the future.

    Q: What do you love most about your job?

    A: I love being outside and interacting with the teams in the field. The people in the field are the ones doing the work; out there everyday building something. Most workers don't quit, they retire from Lakeside.

    Q: What is some advice you can offer young women to encourage them to join the industry?

    A: Things are finally changing. A few years ago the worst thing you could be was a female superintendent. They wouldn't listen and would often lie to me. Subs had no respect for a female superintendent. In the past five years this has transitioned to me now being an expert in the field. Subs come to me now with questions regarding the proper paving techniques. Best part about being a female superintendent is that there is never a line for the bathroom.

    Dinner, program to honor NAWIC members' work

    The Puget Sound Chapter of the National Association of Women in Construction is launching its inaugural Showcase of Excellence dinner Oct. 27 at McCormick & Schmick's in the AGC Building, Seattle.

    The event celebrates accomplishments of members, introduces the new board, and thanks employers and sponsors for their support of NAWIC and women in the industry. It begins at 5 p.m. To register, contact Liz Evans at levans@agcwa.com.

    Q: How did you start in the industry?

    A: My brother worked in the quality control division at a partner company and helped me get a summer job at Lakeside. I then went back to school for my senior year and completed a degree in business with a marketing emphasis from Washington State University — Go Cougs. I went back to Seattle and was just going to work with my brother for one more summer before heading to my full-time job at a marketing firm in Dallas. At the end of that summer, I realized the opportunities and benefits of working at Lakeside and decided to stay.

    Q: What do you do for fun?

    A: I have two boys, 5 and 10, and enjoy spending my time with them when I am not at work. Both boys play competitive baseball and I love watching them play. When we aren't working or playing baseball I volunteer at their school and try to take family vacations on a routine basis.

    Kathryn Emtman is a project manager at Lease Crutcher Lewis. Emtman holds a bachelor's degree in mechanical engineering and a master's degree in engineering management from WSU. She has been with Lewis for 11 years and was recently named the business unit leader for Education.

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