Introducing  Hazel Centeno

We are excited to continue our Women in Construction week by highlighting Hazel Centeno.

From the beginning, Hazel had a passion for physical work, putting things together, and bringing ideas into reality. Seeing the men around her regularly do labor intensive-work sparked the idea that she could be a woman doing a “man’s” job. Something that was not very recognized in Hazel’s home country of Nicaragua. Hazel remembers that “Instead of this being a deterrent, it attracted me more towards the field.” Hazel began to pursue her construction career after high school, even though her peers didn’t initially support the decision. “Many people advised me to follow other paths as construction wasn’t a popular choice for women.” Hazel stayed true to her heart and decided to quit her job as a cashier to join a union for Asbestos and Lead. When Dome hired her previous company as a subcontractor, a superintendent noticed her work ethic and suggested she apply to Dome. Following his advice, she landed a job with Dome as a Laborer and became a carpenter apprentice. “I absolutely enjoy doing what I love. I learn new things every day; I surround myself with people who have more experience and knowledge in the field. My passion comes from seeing a project come to life from scratch. I love the challenges that working in the field has. It’s not always easy to get the job done.”

If given a chance to advise her younger self, Hazel would tell her “to be mentally prepared to be in a male-dominated field and to remember that I belong here. To be strong both mentally and physically. Do your best to overcome any challenges you are confronted with and never take the easy path. To never allow anyone to minimize your goals of where you can be and always keep leveling up no matter how long it takes.”

For the future of construction, Hazel would like to see trade schools equally accepted as a career path for students. “Women currently in the field of construction should promote the field by doing more outreach at high schools and community colleges. These are the most critical points in young women’s lives where questions about career and future goals are initially being asked.” In Hazel’s day-to-day, she would love to see and work with more women in the field who are accepted in their entirety. Hazel envisions a future where women are “ equally treated, not underestimated for being a female, and have more opportunities to learn and work where we were once considered unable to perform because we just didn’t know how yet.”

More About Hazel:

Hazel's Favorite Quote: Love yourself first because that’s who you’ll be spending the rest of your life with.-Author unknown