DENVER — Growing up, Erin Hartman never considered running her own contracting business, but when she discovered she had a knack for the industry, she took a chance in a male-dominated business.
Hartman admitted, she knows more about material and infrastructure than her father.
“I can nerd out on this all day long,” Hartman said. “I like learning, and this industry, it’s a constant change every day.”
The small business owner said it’s been tough, but she’s grown from a team of two to a workforce of eight. The Hispanic Contractors of Colorado (HCC) helped her in the process. HCC advocates for small businesses and helps them compete against larger contractors.
“It can be very difficult, one of the great things that Hispanic Contractors of Colorado does is introduce the big and small contractors and starts to build those relationships,” Hartman said. “You can be great on price, but you need to make those contacts.”
Michelle Sandoval is the board of directors president for HCC. She said their organization helps build local infrastructure, keeps jobs local and diversifies the playing field.
“HCC was very pivotal in helping to keep the construction industry open and working throughout 2020,” Sandoval said.
In January, HCC announced Rosy Aburto McDonough as the new executive director.
“Seventy-five percent women on our executive board is pretty exciting,” Sandoval said.
Three women and one man make up the HCC executive board in a male-dominated industry. On average, women make up less than 10% of the contractor workforce, according to HCC.
“It’s a different voice, a different way of thinking, not better or worse. It’s just a different perspective,” Sandoval said.
“To see women in leadership in those roles is very encouraging,” Hartman said.
HCC also runs a small nonprofit called Contractors Academy. The organization helps train employees of small businesses at a discounted rate.
“In order for our community to grow and develop, it is critical to have our small businesses to be involved,” Sandoval said.
HCC is partners with 140 businesses and Sandoval said the number of women in the industry is growing.