Women in Construction Spotlight: April Chang

April Chang played a major role in SFO Harvey Milk Terminal 1 BAB becoming the world's 1st LEED Gold and WELL Core Platinum-certified airport terminal.

March 7, 2023

Employee Spotlight

Sunday, March 5 kicked off the first day of 2023's Women in Construction Week--a week dedicated to celebrating women as indispensable members of the construction industry. Monday through Friday, we’ll be highlighting the experiences, challenges, and accomplishments of five outstanding women from various Webcor teams.

April Chang—LEED AP, WELL AP, TRUE Advisor, DBIA Professional, Envision Sustainable Professional. For April, assistant design manager, these highly regarded industry certifications aren’t just a testament to her exceptional sustainability and design-build expertise, but necessary tools to help distinguish her as a knowledgeable professional in the architecture, engineering, and construction (AEC) industry.

“Despite my years of relevant experience, industry certifications, and educational background (BA in Architecture and MS in Construction Management), I’ve continued to experience issues with people hearing me, seeing me, and taking me seriously in professional settings,” April says. “It’s part of the reason I’ve prioritized earning so many certifications—it helps establish some level of confidence with new people I meet in the workplace. Between being a woman and looking as young as I do, I expect this will continue to be an issue for me with any new group I’m a part of. I’ll just need to continue to prove myself as someone who brings value to a team/project.”

Since joining the SFO Harvey Milk Terminal 1 Boarding Area B (BAB) project as a project manager with Austin Commercial (prior to transitioning to Webcor), April’s done exactly that. She went on to manage the LAX Terminal Core project and the Taiwan Semiconductor (TSMC) project in Phoenix, AZ before moving back to Los Angeles to join Webcor, a company with which she was already familiar thanks to her time on Harvey Milk T1— an Austin-Webcor JV project.

“I worked closely with Project Director, Design Wayne Campbell while managing the BAB project on Austin’s side, so I was somewhat familiar with Webcor’s culture and people prior to making the transition,” she says. “Since moving over to Webcor, Wayne and I have been discussing a new role that integrates traditional project manager responsibilities with those of a design manager, given my educational background in architecture.”

April’s design and sustainability expertise played a major role in BAB becoming the first airport terminal in the world to achieve LEED Platinum and WELL Core (Platinum) certification last year. To date, her role managing the project’s ambitious sustainability goals has been the highlight of her career. “As someone who was behind BAB’s sustainability efforts, seeing the project earn the honor of being named the world’s first LEED Platinum and WELL Core Platinum-certified airport terminal was pretty amazing,” she says. “That entire project was a great experience; checking the punch list items and ensuring all the key items were ready for the first flights landing in the BAB terminal was also spectacular. I was probably running around for 24 hours straight, but the expressions on the passengers’ faces when they landed were worth it.”

In the nearly full year that’s passed since she joined Webcor in spring 2022, April’s continued to challenge herself and chase every learning opportunity offered to her. She’s gotten involved with the pursuit side of the business, engaged in continuing education presentations with the design management and façade management groups, and engaged in valuable discussions with design managers both within and outside Webcor at last month’s design management symposium in our San Francisco King Street office. “It was great to see some movement on how we can grow in this integrated role of ours,” she says.

As she approaches her second year at Webcor, April looks forward to tackling more professional challenges that will propel her growth as an AEC leader in the design management and sustainability space. She’s prepared to take on the challenges ahead—from the knowledge and experience required to get there to the less-discussed issues like advocating for yourself as a young woman in a clearly male-dominated space.

“One of the most valuable lessons I’ve learned during my time in this industry is that you absolutely must speak up for yourself,” she says. “You need to learn to be your own advocate for the things you want and believe you deserve. Communication skills in general are also key, including properly adjusting your communication style as needed to suit your audience.

“I’ve learned so much and come a long way since starting out with Austin in 2015, but I’m definitely still learning and have plenty of room to improve!”