Growing up surrounded by a family construction business influenced a career in Construction Management
Andria Marrs grew up in a family that owned a small construction company; construction was always part of her life, and she wanted to someday pursue a career in the same industry.
She graduated from the SJVC Construction Management program in 2008. Soon after, she was hired as an entry-level construction assistant estimator for an HVAC company. She worked her way up, eventually returning to school to earn her bachelor’s degree in business management.
Here, Andria tells us more about her experiences within the industry and as an instructor at SJVC.
What did you do prior to teaching at SJVC?
I started working in pre-construction then decided to continue my education in business management. That opened doors for me to work as an assistant project manager and project engineer.
Tell us about your experience teaching at SJVC.
I started as a substitute teacher here, then taught part-time, and then eventually I taught full-time as well. I now have five years of experience teaching full-time, and ten years total. I’m currently the only Construction Management faculty teaching ground at the Ontario Campus; the other instructor retired during Covid.
What do you like most about teaching?
I like how it differs from construction in that you are helping other people chase their dreams. Your success is gauged by success of others, seeing them go on and go farther than I ever did. It’s so gratifying to be part of that process.
Is there anyone who influenced you during your time at SJVC or throughout your career?
Yes! I’m still in contact with my teacher from SJVC, Steve Matley. I talk to him regularly. He has helped me carve out my career path, and he still helps me whenever I reach out.
As a female, how has your experience been working in and teaching about a male-dominated industry?
I grew up as sort of a tomboy and with brothers; I’m very comfortable being in male-dominated roles. There have been some challenges, but things are changing. There has been an influx of female students as the industry has moved toward being more business-focused—it doesn’t require only brute strength but more so the brain strength that women can provide.
How has COVID-19 affected your job?
In the course of a weekend last March, we all had to change what it meant to be an instructor at SJVC when everything went online. Our students are amazing, though. They are completing their courses and graduating. We were finally able to meet face to face after eight months. For some of my students, it’s the first time they’ve been in class in person—and they are in their last module.
What advice do you have for students in school now?
I feel like now there is more of a need in the construction industry, the job has changed and opportunities have changed for people who hadn’t considered it before. Try it, see if you like it, and stick to it. This can be a great career to an individual and can really benefit their family. We are needed in this industry—we are essential.
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