The level of testosterone is high on a construction site. Women are scarce, but Sondra (Terry) Rotty, ArchE’04, MS EMgt’08, feels right at home. Tarlton Corp.’s senior project engineer would rather work out of a construction trailer any day than in an office.
“When I was an undergrad, I had an internship with the city of St. Louis, doing sewer calculations,” says Rotty. Noticing she was uninspired, her supervisor moved her to a construction site restoring a bridge. “Right away I knew this was where I wanted to be.”
Rotty manages a project’s design team and subcontractors. She loves working with the various disciplines and personalities. “I get to work with everyone, from the guy swinging the hammer to the suit,” she says. “I have the opportunity to network with hundreds of people during the course of a project.”
“I get to work with everyone, from the guy swinging the hammer to the suit.”
In 2009, she was named one of the St. Louis Business Journal’s Class of 30 under 30 and earned the designation of LEED-accredited professional through the U.S. Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design program. “Every project I’ve worked on has been LEED-certified,” she says. “Every owner wants it.”
As one of the few women in this field, Rotty enjoys sharing her experience with other women. “An intern from S&T worked here this summer,” she says. “It was nice to share what I’ve learned. I remember well the feeling like, hey — I’m a young girl and no one is going to take me seriously. It’s easy to lose your self-confidence.”
Rotty winds down by running. She even manages to return to Rolla now and then to run the country roads, something that is hard to find in St. Louis.
She says the most satisfying part of her job is looking at a building that will be there for 100 years or more and realizing, “Wow, I played a role in creating this thing.”