Women in Construction Week: Sarah Carlson

Sarah has always been focused on helping others achieve their dreams, whether she’s leading a project team for a client or supporting important causes in her community. In a career that’s taken her all over the world, she eventually returned to the Puget Sound and then joined Sellen in 2019, where she provides creative solutions to complex challenges.

What made you want to go into the construction industry?

I’ve always been fascinated with how things go together and started planning to one day build my own house when I was about eight years old. But unlike many of my peers, I didn’t even consider the construction industry until I was well into my 20s. I was considering a career in architecture when an architect advised me to get as much exposure to construction as possible because it would make me a stronger architect. I got my start working for a small general contractor while I was studying for my architecture degree and discovered where I fit best: in construction.

What about the industry appealed to you the most?

I love watching things get built and seeing the end result. I love the memories that are made on every project – whenever I go back and visit, there are vivid memories of the people I enjoyed working with, the challenges we overcame and the relationships we built.

What do you enjoy most about working at Sellen?

The people that I work with and the freedom to jump in with both feet and hit the ground running, knowing that I have the support and confidence of our leadership team behind me. I was also thrilled to join Sellen because of the company’s focus on giving back to the community and supporting people who want to give back in their own way.

What advice do you have for women in the industry or those interested in joining?

Do what you love to do! I’ve always pursued what I thought I would enjoy doing – never to prove anything to anyone except myself, and I’ll continue to do this as long as I love what I do. I’ve been fortunate, I’ve worked on some really fascinating projects and, best of all, I’ve made friends for life at home and abroad.

What has changed most about the industry in your 23 years of experience?

I used to have my own porta potty and didn’t really think too much of it, but it’s been great to see a more balanced, healthier work environment develop over the years. A couple of other really good changes are the improved work/life balance and the level of support for giving back to the community.

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Sarah Carlson
Project Manager