Sylvia Quintana is fierce, determined, and the best of all, kind. Sylvia was all over the place before she found her calling in construction. She was born and raised in Carlsbad, New Mexico. After attending college for one semester she joined the United States Army to serve and protect. When she returned, she began working for a grocery store named Albertsons in the meat packaging department. After packaging meat for other people with maybe one day off every so often, she went to the construction industry. But how did she go from packing meat to running all types of equipment and having her CDL?
“One day when I was working on the weekend, I asked some women where they worked to have the weekends off. They responded with, in construction.” said Sylvia
Looking for a better work life balance, she was determined to work in construction. She started at the bottom the same as anyone else and now manages four other guys with trucks and trailers.
She began in Sanantonio, Texas, at Zachry Construction and in the gas company for the city. That is where she got exposure to the tanker semis and wanted to learn more about that. She then joined another construction crew in Dallas and worked there for a while before returning home to Carlsbad, NM, to work on a dam. At the dam, she moved dirt for about five years, gaining more experience in many other types of equipment and enjoyed the learning opportunity about different types of construction. Lastly, she was moved to El Paso, TX, joined the D.I.R. Construction team, and stayed there ever since. She loves the people she works with and loves that she is close to her parents so on the weekends she can see them. She is a skilled operator for most construction equipment but cranes and takes on anyone’s role when they need time off or are low on help. Sylvia also has her Class A drivers license with the hazmat and tanker endorsement on it. She has an appreciation for what she does and continues to do it every day.
For Sylvia, construction was a whole new world, but it was one she was willing to take on. She kept an open mind and always willing to learn.
“In the beginning, I was underestimated by the men, resulting in some of them being extremely rude to me, saying things like women should be at home.” said Sylvia
But that did not stop her; she learned and taught herself about the machinery, and didn’t let the mean comments hold her back. Sylvia noticed a significant decrease of women in the construction industry from Dallas to El Paso and that motivated her to take action to inspire other women.
She is a role model in the community, and everyone knows her. She speaks to women at a local community college interested to be in the construction industry. She is more than willing to spread the word. Because of her passion, many more women have shown up in the field and are loving what they do.Her daily routine is to wake up at 4:00 A.M, have some coffee, watch the news, then be to the construction yard by 6:15AM. She is the first one there and wants to have things ready for her employees.
A quote from Sylvia is, “You’re the best!!”.
She believes in positive reinforcement because it encourages mutual respect on the jobsite, and creates a better atmosphere. She is kind and positive thinking, which makes the relationships she has with others so much better. Sylvia celebrated her 59th birthday this year and is still as happy in the construction industry as she was at the beginning. She was told that it might be time to slow it down a little bit but he continues to be inspiring to other women in the El Paso TX, area by spreading the word.