22-year-old leading all-female construction team

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FARMVILLE, Va. (WFXR) — It began as a gravel slope, but after several months, Longwood University’s new tennis courts just need some paint.

“I have so much pride,” said Taylor Knott, who started working with the construction company Skanska USA last August. “I post on Facebook about it at least once a month to tell everyone like look at my cool tennis courts!”

It’s the 22-year-old’s first project as the superintendent. That’s one of many reasons why the courts, which she calls her baby, are special for her.

“The last job I was on, there was about 30 men and I was the only female there.”

Women make up about 10 percent of the construction industry according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, but you wouldn’t know that based on the team behind the tennis court project.

“We have an all-female team,” said Knott. “So me, acting as the superintendent, then I have a colleague, Becky Olson, as the project manager, and the owner Miss Kim Bass, we’re all women, and that’s so interesting and so cool to see.”

That has real advantages.

“There’s some piece of connectivity that I think women tend to bring to the industry of trying to make those connections,” said Becky Olson, the project manager, “and the relationships tend to be a little bit more solid, because that’s what women tend to be a little bit more about, is the relationships.”

Kim Bass is the Deputy Director for Capital Design and Construction at Longwood University and the only female project manager at the school. She’s excited to work with other women but says that’s not why the team is successful.

“There’s a part of me that doesn’t want to call this out as something special,” said Bass, “because we all did our jobs extremely well, and it’s not because we’re women we do it well. We’re all intelligent people who do our jobs.”

For Knott, who grew up visiting her dad’s construction sites, visibility matters to young female engineers.

“There’s a different environment when coming to work, whereas I don’t feel like I am the minority as much when I show up to work.”

Next, the same construction team will move on to another project at Longwood: a new basketball arena.

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