All week we are celebrating WIC Week (Women In Construction) and will be spotlighting some of our WBE (Women Owned Businesses) Members. Today we chatted with Karen Jones, Owner of Double Eagle Design & Construction and asked her a few questions to share with everyone. Enjoy!
What got you started or interested in construction?
My interest in construction started at a young age when I just mostly hung out with my Dad doing projects at home. When I was in junior high school, I salvaged wood scraps and nails from our family’s new house project and built a fort out in the vacant lot next door. As a young adult and during the early years of my teaching career, I spent summers with friends doing building and remodel projects. So it is safe to say I’ve always found a way to play with tools and build things!
What types of positions/roles have you had? For how long?
My construction career started when I abruptly chose to leave teaching/coaching and enrolled in an apprenticeship program for handcrafted log house building. After successfully completing that program, I went to work with a small Eugene area construction company as a laborer earning $5.00/hour. I bounced around during my first 2-3 years in construction because I really had no marketable skills or training. I was really doing OJT and fighting to stay employed. My big break came when I was asked to join in the formation of a new company and team up with the guy who hired me originally for $5.00 an hour three years prior. Our partnership lasted over twenty years and I became a co-owner of the business along the way. I was lucky to have a person who was willing to be a mentor, an advocate, a support person and a friend to help me be successful for the 35 years of my construction career.
What is an accomplishment you are proud of?
There are numerous things to be proud of over the many years of being in business. First of all, just going from being a laborer to owner of the company is nothing I ever dreamed of! Secondly, earning the respect of so many clients, co-workers, sub-contractors, and building officials over the years. Since the retirement of my longtime business partner, I am proud to have successfully managed all aspects of the company through all the ups and downs of recessions and a pandemic.
What is the most satisfying aspect of your job/role?
The most satisfying aspect of my job is the finished product and the satisfaction of a job well done and a happy homeowner!
What is one thing most people don’t know about you?
Hmm… maybe that I‘ve climbed 24 of the 54 - 14,000 ft. peaks in Colorado or that I have a Master’s Degree in Education.
What would you like to see for the future of women in construction?
Simple answer: Opportunity. We desperately need to encourage young people, especially women, to enter trade careers and provide them with the chance to succeed. When I decided to go to work in construction, I never gave any thought to the fact that it was a non-traditional career for women. I just knew I loved it and was having fun building all these cool things. Yes – I was a perhaps a bit naïve! My hope is that someday it won’t be a “non-traditional” career choice for women who want have a career in the trades.