Submitted by Tamika Webb-Hubbard
Estimator, Walsh Brothers, Boston, Massachusetts
Ethnic GEM Dorcas Burns starts off by saying “I want woman to know there is a place in construction for WOMEN! Companies are searching for US to bring diversity and inclusion into their organizations. There are plenty of opportunities and I hope to bring awareness to the construction industry to women of all colors.”
Dorcas started off her career never afraid to challenge the status quo or what some would call their comfort zone. As she watched her older brothers and father excel in the areas of carpentry and electrical work, she felt the same passion as them and wanted to follow in their footsteps. The challenge was “in my ‘old school’ family, the girls were to study business or secretarial work and the boys to study construction.” I begged my parents to let me go into carpentry my freshman year at Madison Park Technical Vocational High School in Boston. Her persistence wore them down and she was allowed to follow her passion. She was determined to do what was best for HER and what SHE wanted for herself.
Instead of feeling depressed and defeated after several layoffs and having a young mouth to feed, she asked herself “why am I not working in the field that matches my passion?” At that point a light bulb went off in her head. Armed with her certificate in carpentry along with her BS degree in accounting from UMASS Boston, Dorcas began to push the doors down into the construction industry.
The world of Estimating and Project Management got her attention as it was a natural fit based on her studies. Dorcas landed her first job as an Estimator/ Project Manager and flourished in that role. Seven years later, she was working with a leading general contracting company in the Boston area, working on some of the most intricate construction projects including hospitals and college campus’ all over the greater Boston area.
Ms. Burns knows the reality of having a job that you have a passion for daily. “Seeing a blueprint and giving life to that project gives me a sense of pride and purpose.” Dorcas continues, “looking at something from paper then watching it become a real tangible thing that brings value to someone brings me joy. This is what gets me out of bed in the morning, this is what inspires me and gives me confidence to reach higher goals.” It continues to be a long journey for Dorcas, but she always knew what she wanted and learned not to question the journey, but to enjoy the highs and learn from the lows along the way.
We asked Dorcas about some of her hobbies and what her downtime looks like? “When I’m not spending time with my 2 children, I enjoy working on projects around my house, sewing, hanging out with friends, dancing and enjoying foods at new restaurants.”
In 5 years, Dorcas plans to make sure young boys and girls have a seat at the table. She wants to start a blueprint of success for generations to follow.
Please join me in welcoming Dorcas Burns as an Ethnic GEM!