The Concrete 'Sandbox Is Big Enough for All of Us to Play In'

Harris, who has been working in concrete for 31 years, says despite the challenges, there are plenty of opportunities for women in the industry.

Jean Dimeo, Editorial Director, ConstructioNext, WOC360, IRE360

March 1, 2024

3 Min Read
Lee Ann Harris

Lee Ann Harris is co-owner and managing director of the Decorative Concrete Institute in Temple, Georgia. She says the institute’s motto is education, passion and love. “We try to provide the best education to others, the passion we have for the industry, and the love that we have for the industry.”


Tell our concrete and masonry industry readers about yourself.

I have 31 years in the industry. When I first entered the concrete world, I worked for eight years for an industry manufacturer, L. M. Scofield Co.… My husband and I started our business in 2001 where our focus was consulting, education, installation and training. That is where my journey began owning a small company where I wore many hats. Purchasing, receiving, packaging, managing the office and warehouse, customer service, scheduling training classes and installations where we could fit them in.

In April 2022, five very talented women started the Women’s Association of Concrete Professionals, and I was president-elect. In May 2023, I was voted president.… Our association is committed to mentoring, training, supporting, positively impacting and empowering current and future women in the concrete industry.

What drew you to the concrete industry?

I wasn’t looking at this industry specifically; I was a single mom who needed a job. When I started working in the industry it actually started to grow on me because of seeing what all could be done with concrete. Turning a material into elegant, colorful flooring, walls, countertops, outdoor living spaces and more.

What are the top three opportunities you see for women in concrete and why?

I really don’t have three specific things. I feel women are creative and detail oriented. Multitasking comes natural for a woman, which means engaging in different projects or facilitating projects, which makes good time management.

What improvements for women have you and your peers seen in the industry over the years?

More and more women are getting involved in many different capacities. Owning businesses, driving concrete trucks, estimating, engineering, actually just taking advantage of what they find enjoyment in.

What are the biggest challenges still facing women in concrete?

Being the industry is made up of approximately 97% men, I feel it is the acceptance that they can perform the same job as a man can, and that they can work alongside a crew of men. Along with not being recognized that they can hold their own.

What advice would you give a woman who is considering getting into the concrete industry?

Be confident in your craft and abilities to perform. Keep your nose to the grindstone and be the best that you can be.

Is there something else you would like to share about women in concrete?

As we share with all of our students who come through the Decorative Concrete Institute, the sandbox is big enough for all of us to play in. If this is a career that you want to be in, educate yourself, stay up with what is new in the industry and keep pushing forward. If you are in the industry, learn your marketplace. Maybe what you were selling isn’t working now; find out what will attract the current clients.

About the Author(s)

Jean Dimeo

Editorial Director, ConstructioNext, WOC360, IRE360, Informa Markets

Jean Dimeo is an award-winning editor, writer and publication manager who has worked in construction publishing for 30 years. Dimeo was managing editor of Construction Dive, our sister publication about commercial construction, and the editor in chief of Builder, EcoHome and Building Products, all about residential building and remodeling. She also worked as an editor for a Spanish-language construction publication and as a building products expert for consumer magazines including Better Homes & Gardens SIPs.

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