Rowan Alawi, CEO & Founder, Trase has been shortlisted in the Woman in ConTech category of the Construction Technology Awards. Here, Rowan looks at the skills required, and answers whether she would encourage more women to enter the industry.
[DCH] What got you interested in a career in your area of construction technology/digitalisation?
[RA] My family business was construction, and that’s why I studied architecture. While studying I had a change of heart, as I was fascinated by Mechatronics, which is a multidisciplinary field of engineering that includes a combination of systems engineering: mechanical engineering, Electric/Electronic Engineering, control engineering, and computer engineering. After graduation, I got a job as the first QA in a technology company, and we were able to digitalise the freight industry. We become the number one company in the world. Therefore, I resigned to do the same in construction, as I’d learned the know-how of building a suitable tech company.
What skills have been most important for you to reach this point in your career? Why?
There are many skills that help me because construction is the most outdated industry and refuses to change, yet these skills helped us make a difference:
- Resilience and protective
- Communication and listening
- Strategic thinking and planning skills
- Technical skills
- Branding, marketing, and networking skills
How are attitudes towards use of construction technology changing? Are you seeing this bring benefits?
It is moving, but contractors are not fans of change. But having a list of benefits and a list of success stories helped a lot
Have you faced any roadblocks and how did you move past them?
That’s the norm. We reached out to more than 2,000 contractors and fewer than 200 agreed to have meetings with us, and none signed when we first started working. The best strategy was partnerships with big names, and meeting investments divisions to introduce us to their construction arms.
If you were encouraging more women to work in this industry, how would you sell it to them?
I would not encourage anyone in this industry unless they really like it, because construction is the toughest industry a woman can work in, and it takes a lot of skillsets. We need to work three times more to prove ourselves, so unless you love it you won’t be able to make it for the long term.
The Construction Technology Awards 2022 are independently judged by a set of internationally based industry experts. Everyone shortlisted in this category has been approached for an interview. The winner of Woman in ConTech, along with winners in 16 other categories, will be announced on Wednesday 8th June. The Awards are part of our Construction Technology Festival.