Construction can provide a good living for those who choose the lifestyle but it also can be rugged life for any man that chooses the profession. Actually it might be better to say any man or any woman that chooses the lifestyle.
More women enter the construction business every day. About 30 percent of the architecture students in the universities across the country now are women and female contractors are rapidly becoming a factor in the industry as well.
Elaine Martin, is the co-owner and founder of Alexander-Martin. Inc. She has a sophisticated look and manner that would fit in well at the governor's ball or on the society page. But in actuality, she grew up on a farm in Jerome, Idaho; and hard work and the great outdoors are no stranger to Martin.
She started out in 1986 as a fencing contractor, after leaving careers in teaching and as a lobbyist. Martin says, "I found fencing was not an old lady's game, but I was lucky enough to get a guardrail job that I really enjoyed doing."
For a brief period Martin was partners with her sister-in-law, who was not as excited about construction as Martin and left the business.
After a few years of running the business by herself, Martin looked for a new partner to share the load and bring some guardrail expertise in to the business.
She teamed up with Jess Alexander to form Alexander-Martin. When asked why her name isn't first on the company's listing, she says, "A comes before M and it is good business to be listed first."
Martin is proud of her WBE status, but she is also proud of the fact that in most cases her company gets the job because it was the most competitive bid or because of the quality work that her business performs.
Her company has offices in Nampa and on her family farm in Jerome, Idaho. The business covers the Idaho, Utah, Oregon and Nevada regions.
She is a graduate of Utah State University and taught school in Alaska, but contracting allows her to have a life near where she was raised in Jerome.
Martin credits the Idaho AGC for helping her achieve her WBE status and for a lot of counsel when her business was starting out that saved her grief and money.
She repays this earlier service from the AGC with active participation in the group's activities and on its board of directors.
Her firm has tried various areas of the construction market and even won an award of merit for its work on the Columbia Road Bridge in Ada County Idaho. But she feels that she has found her niche in guardrail construction.
1993 - AGC Intermountain Contractor Profile - WBE Owned.pdf