by the CI Editorial Committee
In the world of design and construction, teams matter. No one can construct a building alone. You need skilled partners from multiple professions for every aspect of the job – from design and engineering to construction to creating beautiful interiors, to ensuring that functional elements like heating and electricity are properly designed and installed. What’s the conclusion? That effective teams require diverse viewpoints and skills to thrive. That is one of the principles underlying conversations about diversity and inclusion. And the statistics back it up. For example, a recent report revealed that gender-diverse companies are 25% more likely to achieve above-average profitability compared to less diverse organizations. Women remain underrepresented in the design and construction industry. Without doubt change is happening and we expect that change will accelerate as we expect new construction industry jobs to balloon by almost 2 million in 2022.
Each year, the Construction Institute recognizes two champions of change: one woman and one man whose personal commitment and actions support the inclusion and promotion of women in the industry. What does it mean to be a champion of change? It starts with values, an internal moral compass that values individuals for their abilities and contributions regardless of their gender. It continues with consistent mentoring, teaching, and inviting people to the table. It means valuing the work of everyone in the company. It means being passionate about what you do and about the people on your team.
This year’s awardees are Anthony Gaglio, Sr., founder and president of Viking Construction, Inc. and Rachel Palisin, director and owner of Hoffmann Architects, Inc.
Gaglio followed in his grandfather’s footsteps learning craftmanship and values that led to the creation of Viking Construction. Since the earliest days of the company, he has purposefully looked to hire women in leadership roles, from Viking’s CAO, who has helped guide the growth of the company for 30 years, to the management team that runs the office, to the field, where one of Viking’s most experienced construction managers is a woman.
Gaglio continues to encourage the next generation of young men and women through the Viking Scholarship Program. He wants to encourage women to join the vast construction industry and play a role in creating the buildings and structures in our communities.
Hoffmann Architects specializes in the rehabilitation of building exteriors. As director of Hoffmann Architects’ Virginia office, Palisin is only the second woman in the firm’s 44-year history to head an office. She began in the New York office, where she was instrumental in hiring multiple women for the team, and she continued to make herself available for support as these new hires adjusted to the demands of their work. In recognition of her leadership and technical expertise, Palisin was selected to oversee staff and operations as office director for the firm’s Washington D.C. area office. Under her leadership over the years, Hoffmann Architects’ offices have hired more women and diverse professionals, many of whom have gone on to earn promotions and take on leadership positions in professional organizations. Active in the industry as a speaker, writer, organizer, panelist and volunteer, Palisin serves as a role model and mentor for rising women in the design professions.