Women in Construction Week 2019: Jamie Miller
Jamie Miller, Director of Engineering Development
Jamie started her career at Sellen 19 years ago as a project engineer. Since then, she has worked on some of our most significant projects as an engineer, field manager and project manager. Today, as Sellen’s Director of Engineering Development, she mentors and coaches the next generation of engineers, ensuring they have the skills and support needed to achieve their career goals.
What about the construction industry appealed to you?
“I’m from a construction family, so it’s in my DNA. I was always with my dad on jobsites, looking over his shoulder at plans. What I like most about it is the daily changes and challenges. At the end of each day, your hard work produces something physical, tangible and real that you can see.”
How long have you been at Sellen and how has your role changed over time?
“I’ve been at Sellen for 19 years. I came up as an engineer before working my way into field manager and then project manager. Along the way, I really enjoyed the coaching, developing and mentoring side of my job. It’s something I loved to do and looked forward to every day. When the director of engineering development role came up, it felt like a great opportunity.”
What do you enjoy most about your job?
“I enjoy seeing people grow into their roles. The engineer group is crucial to the long-term success of Sellen, so when you can watch them grow and see them be successful, it’s very satisfying.”
What traits do you need to be a good mentor?
“Patience is huge and I think it gets overlooked. In the construction industry, we’re all used to working at such a fast pace all the time, but in order to be an effective mentor, you need to take a step back and slow down every once in a while. Just because a task is faster for you to complete doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be taking the time to pass that knowledge down.
“Empathy is really key, too. As a project manager, you need to be able to put yourself in the shoes of an engineer and understand where they are in their career path.”
What has made Sellen a great place for you to work and grow for the last 19 years?
“One of the things I’ve always appreciated is that Sellen really takes the time to invest and develop you. We really do care about your learning and growth – we’re not going to throw you into the deep end of the pool. Our promotional track is a little different from others in the industry because of that. We take the time to develop each person and know where you stand – what your strengths are and how you work best.”
What advice do you have for women in the construction industry or who are interested in joining it?
“Know how to take a compliment and let it feed your confidence. As women, we tend to be too quick to self-deprecate and downplay an accomplishment. Instead, we need to take those compliments and let it feed the confidence we have in ourselves. Own your strengths and don’t tear yourself down. We have some women in our engineer group who are doing such a great job – own it! Own these compliments and build your confidence. That’s how you’re going to get the respect you want and deserve.”