Marielle Price is an experienced Field Engineer and APM with more than seven years of experience working in construction. She is currently the VP of Constuction at Fieldwire.
The first time I put on my hardhat and laced up my steel-toed boots, I was nervous and excited. I knew what to look for on a jobsite for potential safety issues, could kinda-sorta read a floorplan, and somewhat finagle a total station — in other words, I was a bit “dangerous” with knowledge.
Where it all began…
In my years working as an assistant project manager and field engineer, I learned so much. Despite having little exposure to construction before studying civil engineering, I was fascinated by the industry and its ability to touch all of our lives. I couldn’t believe all of the details, coordination, and craftsmanship that I’d been taking for granted for so long. Two fascinating things for me were the impact that construction has on the earth (and how small steps can greatly reduce environmental impact) and all of the different people involved, with different backgrounds, knowledge, and experience. While I loved the problem-solving aspect of engineering, I quickly realized I didn’t want to be stuck behind a desk all day — calculating numbers without seeing the real impact of my work, so I made it my mission to “build things.”
Why building is the best part of construction
Today, I can still see my first project when I take the I-80 on my way to Tahoe from San Francisco or walk by one of my local projects in Mission Bay. I remember the areas that were the most difficult to coordinate, where the whole project team had frustrations, working late into the night to fix something. I know where my name is signed into the foundation, along with my team members. Most importantly, I see my project filled with life. To me, that’s the most rewarding thing about construction — seeing people benefit from your building, every day.
Why I “abandoned” my passion to build things for construction tech
I realized there were so many day-to-day tasks that I needed to do for “C.Y.A.” purposes, which in the end didn’t really help me build the building. Instead, those types of tasks prevented me from coordinating and maintaining forward momentum. I also saw robotics and machinery as a threat to the people in construction who I considered to be the backbone of the industry. I couldn’t imagine a world where talented foremen and journeymen were replaced by robots, all because of a mound of paperwork that pulled them away from doing their craft, making them less efficient. Rather, I saw (and still see) technology as a solution to all of our problems.
Instead of having to follow-up on emails or calls, translate information, or make sure everyone has the same 3-week lookahead or plan addendum, you can now leave those tasks for technology to handle. All you need to worry about is: what’s the progress on this job? What are the potential future obstacles? Technology gives us the tools we need to confidently answer those questions and make the right decisions. It allows us to take time to be proactive versus the reactive, constant fighting of fires.
“I saw (and still see) technology as a solution to all of our problems.”
Doing what I love, every day
At Fieldwire, I still get to work with fascinating people in the industry. Some days, I get to talk to a 40-year construction veteran and watch his face light up as he sees his daily reports compile automatically, allowing him to get home sooner. Other days, I speak to young field engineers who no longer need to send out that list of “hot unanswered RFIs” each week since the reminders are being done automatically. Instead of working on a handful of projects, I now get to touch thousands, worldwide. And, I get to do it all alongside a team of construction experts I truly admire. Like you, I can’t wait to see how construction technology like Fieldwire will continue to empower the field and get people back to doing their craft. Let’s fight off the robots, together, and get back to building a more sustainable future.
If you’re interested in switching to technology from construction yourself, I’d love to hear from you! Fieldwire is actively seeking people with industry backgrounds to join me on the Construction team (we also have open roles across all other teams). So, what are you waiting for? Apply and make the leap today.