Topic: Judy Mozen is this year’s Women in Residential Construction’s Woman of the Year and it’s not hard to tell why! She’s well-spoken, humble, kind, and knows her stuff. Listen in to find out more about how she got her start, what keeps her motivated, and how you can encourage more women to join the trades.
Guest: Judy Mozen, President of Handcrafted Homes, Inc.
3 Points for Success – Judy Mozen:
- Never stop learning. Continued education is the key.
- Join local and national associations and organizations.
- Be inclusive and have diversity on your team.
James [00:00:00] Hey, it’s really great to have you with us for another episode of CareyBrosPros. I’m James.
Morris [00:00:06] And I’m Morris. You know as professionals. We’re always looking for ways to give our professional listeners great information that’ll help them work smarter instead of harder. On this edition, we’re welcoming a very nice lady who’ll be talking about women in residential construction.
James [00:00:23] That’s right. And she is Judy Mozen. She’s the winner of the Woman of the Year award presented by Women in Residential Construction. But wait, there’s more. She is also the president of Handcrafted Homes Inc. And a former NARI, that’s the National Association of the Remodeling Industry, National Board member Judy. Welcome to CareyBrosPros.
Judy [00:00:49] Thank you. And I’m excited. I’ve been seeing you online. And now it’s nice to actually have a chance to talk to you.
Morris [00:00:56] Judy, tell us how you got started construction and why you won the Woman of the Year award.
Judy [00:01:02] OK, well, the easiest one to tell, I got started. I was actually married to an architect and was a teacher and was looking over his shoulder going, I could do that, you know, I can do that. Why don’t I get a chance to try to? I designed a couple of houses and he and his partner built them. And then I said, you know what? I think they’d turn out better if I were part of the construction, too, because it’s coming out of my head. It’s what I designed and it’s not turning out exactly like I want. So I want to build with them to say they were design build firm. And so then I started working with them and started taking over finally, you know, half of the construction and eventually all of it. And then long story short, we ended up separating and getting divorced and then I ended up keeping my business. And that was many years ago. It’s turned out great. It’s been wonderful. So that’s actually how I came into design.
Morris [00:01:58] And so the key to success for on it is doors.
James [00:02:03] In this case, anyway.
Judy [00:02:04] Oh, actually, I have to say that I’ve been married very happily for over 30 years. To Randy, who works with me.
James [00:02:11] Oh, that’s wonderful.
Judy [00:02:12] Wonderful. He handles the finances and things inside the office. And I’m actually on the field.
James [00:02:18] You’re in the field. So what do you do on the field?
Judy [00:02:21] Well, all kinds of things.
James [00:02:23] What is a typical day like for the winner of the Woman of the Year award?
Judy [00:02:30] Well, some days are exciting and where you’re traveling and speaking to groups and that’s great. But there are other kinds of excitement. And today, for instance, I’m pouring a slab tomorrow porch. And today I was inspecting the rebar, looking at the great beams and meeting the painters, talking to them, discussing things that my project managers, talking to my clients, sending emails. So that’s kind of what the day is like.
James [00:02:55] Why would you say, as someone who is an astute builder, who has a lot of for lack of a better term, a lot of miles are in the construction industry. Why would you say that women in general are not more involved in the trades and especially in management positions like yours?
Judy [00:03:16] I think that they have a mistaken impression that you have to be strong and muscular. And I’m absolutely the opposite of that. I do work out, but I’m not strong and muscular and that you have to be able to, you know, carry a sheet of plywood around to be in the trade. I think that’s one thing. I think another thing is just some women I think it’s intimidating to be thinking that you’re going to be dealing every day with the trades that are mostly male. And I think probably another thing is a big one. This is one of the biggest ones is we haven’t been over the years marketing to women. And when I was president of NARI National, one of the things I did is made sure that the marketing team knew that we needed to put women modelers in the pictures and not just as the buyer, but as the actual remodeler.
James [00:04:09] Perception is reality, isn’t it?
Morris [00:04:11] What advice would you give to a young woman looking for a future in construction?
Judy [00:04:16] I think that first and most important thing is that you get totally educated in every aspect. I’m a certified remodeling and actually now I’m a master certified wood modeler and I’m a green certified professional. And I think that it’s very, very important that you really understand the fields. It’s going to be really hard to get into it if you’ve never taken classes, never been part of an educational program. And of course, most of mine has been from NARI being a national association remodeling industry. It has a lot of certifications and classes that you can take, but there are a lot of other groups out there. I’m part of the Greater Atlanta Homebuilders Association and they have classes. I’m part of the Professional Women in Building and they have.
Judy [00:05:00] So I would say one of your big things is be part of associations and get educated.
James [00:05:06] And all of the certifications that you’ve earned have come through the National Association of the Remodeling Industry. Is that true?
Judy [00:05:13] The Greater Atlanta from the Home Builders Association also.
James [00:05:16] It’s a nice mix.
Judy [00:05:17] It is a good mix. And I’ve been active in both associations. And so I think there’s a totally different way of looking at things from home builder. His perspective is doing work versus a remodel or he usually has the owner living in the home and that’s totally different, but it’s good to get exposed to both.
James [00:05:36] So my sister in law, Morris’s wife, has been in the business for about, I don’t know, twenty five or thirty years, something like that. And I would put her up against anyone with regard to her ability to multitask. That is to say, creating design solutions, dialoging with the client, closing the business, making sure that the materials and product selections are detailed to the extent that you know all of that. There’s so many moving parts with the project. As you know, countertop edge details, splash detail, sink detail, all of that. And it goes on and on and on. And then to be able to dialog with the crew people and the installation crew and finally to manage quality control to the extent that things are done to the level of quality that she expects. That’s quite a lot. And I think that women, in my estimation, in my experience, are uniquely talented for that. Even more talented than most men.
Judy [00:06:52] Well, women truly are detail oriented. And that’s that’s that’s really good. And they are multitask. I mean, goodness, look, look, look what all we have to do. But but I think more than anything, it’s that if a woman is given an education and understands how it happens, she has a way of bringing in a different aspect of a male. One of the reasons why I love having diversity on a job site is that everybody has a different thing to contribute. So it isn’t so much that a woman is better or that a man’s better is that each aspect is good to hear. When you’re making a decision. It’s good to hear everybody’s ideas and everybody’s thoughts. There isn’t necessarily one way to do something. So I think one of the reasons our company has been successful is the fact that we really believe try to push diversity. And I think if we can keep that going and bring in more women and be able to go meet clients with the woman and a man in the team, it makes a big difference. One of the things that I like to say and I think this would be interesting for your listeners to hear, and that is that one of my clients, I asked them after the husband and wife how we got the job, because I knew that I was competing against other remodelers. And she spoke up immediately and said, you are the only one that looked me in the eye. And I said, What? And she said, I would ask questions and the male remodelers would answer facing my husband and look him in the eye. And even though I answered the question. So I think what you’re getting is the desire for both the husband and wife, if they’re both involved or how however the clients are with or whether it’s two males to female as a male and a female or just one of each. It’s to be able to look the person in the eye and have respect. And I think that that is one of the reasons why we have been successful.
James [00:08:43] Wonderful.
Morris [00:08:44] I said to a man yesterday, the best construction supervisor has the dirtiest hands, and I will believe that till the day I die. If you don’t dig ditches, set forms or concrete, do carpentry, do electrical, then managing those people is you at a desk, not knowing how people feel when they do that kind of work. So.
Judy [00:09:07] Absolutely. And I need to tell you something. One time I was building a house and it’s fairly new in the business, about three years. We really had a large, fairly large crew of guys and the guys decided they made a vote out of it on one of our Monday meetings that if I was going to be supervising them, then I needed to be exposed to every aspect of construction.
Judy [00:09:29] And so they did things that I laugh about now, but they did because I knew what they were setting me up for, doing masonry without wearing gloves. I was just that stupid and ended up with hands that looked like a disaster for a month later. And then having me down, putting plates down on a slab. And those days we did not have nail guns. And so trying to learn how they could do it with one hit. And I was going to tap, tap, tap, tap. So they kept me every month. I had to go in another crew, and I think it’s very important that you are into it that much and that you care that much to work alongside your guy. And I think if you’re going to supervise people and you’re not willing to get in there with them, that’s pretty bad.
Morris [00:10:13] You know, we like to ask our guests to share three points for success with our approach listeners. What are yours?
Judy [00:10:22] I think I’ve already mentioned, but I really think it’s important. And I would say you’ve got to be educated, but you’ve got to keep on up on the latest developments. And part of that by taking what we call CEUs continuing education units. The best way to say that your house is like a site, a piece of science, the way your home reacts to certain temperature is where it reacts to moisture, the way it reacts to different environments. North, south, east, west. And it’s really building science nowadays. It’s not just built a home, it’s actually a science involved in it. And you need to keep up with constantly with classes, learning what’s out there, what’s new. You had, I think, a video on your show about purple sheet rock. Well, there are different colors of sheet rock. And I’ve really gotten into what each one can do and how broad the sheet rock roll has become. So I think continuing education could be sometimes offered by maybe your suppliers, too, but that’s very important. Becoming a member of an national and local associations and organizations is just super important because you learn from each other. You can tap into a friend that you met and network with them and find out, hey, do you know a good environmental engineer? You know, I keep wanting to change electricians do, you know, somebody. So I think the inactive and your associations. And then, of course, to me, the big one is that we can’t leave out segments of our society. We have really got to make sure that we have a blend of ideas, that we we approach everything thinking about diversity and thinking about inclusion and trying to make sure that we have a varied assortment of subs, project managers, and that we are open to that.
James [00:12:03] Great points, Judy.
James [00:12:05] Our thanks to Judy Mozen. She is the woman of the Year presented by women in residential construction. She’s also a national association of the remodeling industry, national board member past and president of Handcrafted Homes Inc. You can learn more about the National Association of Women in Construction by visiting its Web site. It is NAWIC.org
Morris [00:12:36] And remember, you’ll find our guests information as well as additional podcasts, videos and articles on our Web site at CareyBrosPros dot com.