Mar 8, 2024

Tammy Hart

To celebrate International Women’s Day and National Women in Construction Week, we sat down with Tammy Hart, Human Resources Director for ProLift Rigging and BluePrint Supply Chain, to talk about the construction industry and her personal journey. 

1. Tell us about your current role at ProLift Rigging & BluePrint Supply Chain and the career path that led you to it.

It’s always funny when people ask me what I do and where I work, and the look of disbelief they give when I say the construction industry—I currently serve as the Human Resources Director for both ProLift Rigging Company and BluePrint Supply Chain, leading and supporting the HR Department, People, and Talent Development initiatives. I have spent most of my career in Human Resources within the hospitality industry.

I first became aware of ProLift during the COVID-19 pandemic when an executive recruiter reached out. At the time I was working in payroll for a logistics firm. Initially, I was skeptical about a career in the construction industry because I had never really pictured myself in that way before—as a woman in construction—but I was open to exploring any possibility.

To my surprise, upon researching the company and reviewing its purpose statement, I noticed a strong alignment between my personal faith and values and the culture of ProLift. I had a great feeling that this was the company for me.

When I started, we only had about 40 people across four branches. Since then, ProLift has grown to 13 branches and has spun off a whole new company in BluePrint Supply Chain, bringing our total headcount to just under 400 people.

2. Why do you like working at ProLift and BluePrint?

It’s the people and the culture. It is one of the only jobs that I enjoy waking up in the morning and look forward to going into the office. The team I work with and the people I get to interact with on a daily basis are amazing.

I firmly believe that people are a company’s greatest asset, and so to come to work every day and be surrounded by people who are passionate about the work they are doing is extremely fulfilling and motivating. The other incredible aspect I would like to mention is how ProLift and BluePrint’s leadership teams live the purpose statement—to watch our executives lead by example and work not only to deliver successful outcomes for our clients but also to invest in good works and engage in faithful philanthropy in the local markets we serve—which is the cherry on top for me.

3. Why do you think that the construction industry has historically struggled with representation, especially where women are concerned?

I think many factors have affected the participation of women in the construction industry, but I would say the most prevalent are the traditional ideas about gender roles and how they match to career types in construction. For many generations, cultural notions have discouraged women from even thinking about jobs in the construction field as an option.

I also think the lack of female role models and mentors plays a big part here. I never thought I would be working in construction and loving it. Before working at ProLift and BluePrint, I couldn’t picture it because I couldn’t relate such a position to any other woman in my life. The overall lack of awareness about careers in the construction industry just furthers the cycle of underrepresentation.

One of our goals is to create role models between the two companies, demonstrate the importance of having strong female voices at every level, and hopefully inspire more women to apply for jobs in construction.

4. As the Director of Human Resources for both companies, what are some of the things you and your team have done to promote inclusion and recruit, train, and retain female employees?

During the recruiting process, we strive to tap into diverse talent pools and reach out to qualified individuals in a way that opens up possibilities. I look to tell my personal story, as well as the stories of other women who work at ProLift or BluePrint, to share the joy we have experienced in this industry. This tactic alone has helped us increase awareness and attract more female candidates.

We have also been quite intentional about referrals and following up on employee connections to encourage qualified women to apply for open positions within our companies. We focus on the opportunities for growth and describe the experience working at one of our companies.

As far as retention efforts go, we have implemented various targeted inclusion programs that celebrate women’s positions and recognize excellence in their roles within our companies. We pride ourselves on going the extra mile to engage all of our employees in special ways to celebrate our diversity and the strength that our DE&I efforts bring to our companies.

For instance, we implemented company-wide celebrations and activities for Admin Appreciation Day (the majority of ProLift and BluePrint admins are women). We celebrate Women in Construction Week and National Women’s History Month through special employee and client gifts. This year, we created a special WIC t-shirt and some hard-hat stickers. We are also making special social media posts featuring quick biographies of our female employees; anything where we can recognize an employee and thank them publicly helps with job satisfaction and recognition. Feeling like you belong is one of the key factors in employee retention.

DIR Holdings HR Team Picture
Tammy Hart's HR Team in Memphis, TN

5. What results have you seen from your efforts?

When I started, there were a total of four women working here. Two in HR and a couple of branch admins. Three years later, we have up to 43 active female employees on our roster. These women are not just on our roster; they are in a multitude of roles, from project managers and dispatchers to sales development managers and field workers. Our female employees are thriving throughout both companies.

So, you can understand the significance of this: A 2023 report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reveals that 10.8% of construction workers in the United States are women. Women in construction only make up 1.25% of the total workforce, despite constituting 47% of all employed individuals. ProLift and BluePrint currently employ a total of 491 people, with 43 identifying as women, putting us at 10.9%, just 0.1% above the national average, but continuing to trend in the right direction.

While the results are encouraging, we still have a lot of work to do as a company and as an industry, but I am confident we will get there.

Women In Construction

6. As a woman working in the construction industry, why do you believe you have been successful?

I attribute my success to my endless passion for learning, my trust in God, my humble attitude, and being grateful to all of those who have seen my potential and allowed me to prove myself at every step of my journey.

7. Is there any single characteristic that you believe every woman in construction should possess?

If I had to say it in a single word, that characteristic is perseverance. In construction, any other industry, and in life. Perseverance is the one characteristic that will get you through it all. There will be challenges, and to overcome them, you must finish what you start. You need to stick to your goals and work to achieve them.

8. What is the most important lesson you’ve learned in your career thus far, and how did you learn it?

The most valuable lesson I have learned is that we cannot save everyone. As a person whose job is to recognize talent and foretell success, I tend to always see the best in people. Even when their best might not meet our company standards, my desire is to restore employees and help them reach their potential.

It is a painful lesson, but sometimes, no matter how hard we try and how much effort we put in to helping someone succeed, they just aren’t always a fit. One of the keys to success as a Human Resources professional, or just a compassionate human being with good intentions, is that sometimes you have to allow a person to sink or swim once they have been setup for success—no matter how difficult that may be.

9. Success in the workplace is often attributed to having a strong role model or mentor. Do you have a mentor? Are you a mentor to someone else?

I wish I had a mentor within the industry, but I would name my mother as the person I look up to the most. She raised me to be tough, hard-working, classy, and humble. She provided me with the personal and professional characteristics I needed to achieve my goals and become the leader I am today.

I currently mentor some of the young women on my team. My goal is to bring them out of their comfort zones by assigning tasks that invite visibility and recognition so they can develop the skills needed to progress within our organization or any other company. I find it personally satisfying to provide guidance and mentorship I never experienced in this industry.

10. What message do you have for other young women interested in following in your footsteps?

Work hard. Stay humble, always be diligent, and be open to learning new things. Preserve your faith in God—use your faith to stay strong and persevere in the face of adversity—remove barriers and obstacles by being true to your own beliefs and principles.

Women in Construction
International Women's Day

About Tammy Hart:

Tammy Hart is the Director of Human Resources for DIR Holdings, the parent company of both ProLift Rigging and BluePrint Supply Chain. With more than 20 years of experience in Human Resources, she leads the HR, People, Recruitment, and Retention teams for both companies. Prior to her role at DIR Holdings, Tammy worked as a Payroll Manager for a logistics firm and served as Director of Human Resources at the Westin Hotel before joining DIR Holdings.

Tammy is an active member of The Society for Human Resource Management and The National Association of Women in Construction. She also sits on the Board of Directors for The S.O. What Foundation and is the Board President of The Memphis Food Truckers Alliance.

Mrs. Hart has a BS in Organizational Leadership from Union University and is SHRM – CP certified. She resides in Memphis Tennessee with her family.