Hispanic Heritage Month Spotlight: Latinx Women Taking the Construction World by Storm

National Hispanic Heritage Month is celebrated annually from September 15 to October 15 to recognize the vital contributions made by the Hispanic and Latinx community in the United States, despite the various challenges and injustices faced along the way.

As Hispanic Heritage Month comes to an end, Intuit Dome and the AECOM/Turner Joint Venture are pleased to spotlight two outstanding women, Jessica De Luna Sanchez from AECOM, and one of our subcontractors, Vanessa De La Rosa, co-founder of DLR Planning. We got the opportunity to speak with Jessica and Vanessa about their backgrounds and experiences in the construction industry.

Jessica De Luna Sanchez

What is your background/heritage? 

I am Hispanic and Latino. I was born in the Northern region of Mexico near the gulf coast. I mainly lived in the cities of Tampico and Monterrey; I recently moved to the United States in 2014. Spanish is my native language; English is my second language. 

What is your role for Intuit Dome? 

I am a Project Manager for the Structures team and a Community Liaison and PLA administrator for the project.  

How did you end up in construction? 

Both of my parents are engineers working in construction. However, I really ended up in construction because I was working for international clients well-known in the construction and project development industries at a firm in Mexico. During this time, I was lucky to have mentors who admired my work ethic and tenacity. After developing the contracting process for one of the clients, I was invited to join the General Contractor’s operations team as a Contracts Manager. Once the local projects were completed, the company extended an invitation to continue working with them for projects in the US and Mexico. Project Management is my passion. 

What does Hispanic Heritage Month mean to you?  

It is a significant time when we get to celebrate Hispanic culture, traditions, gastronomy and overall, the positive impact in American society. It is a time to take pride in our beautiful legacy and continue practicing our traditions from generation to generation. A time to commemorate, recognize and most importantly educate. 

Vanessa De La Rosa

What is your background/heritage?

I consider myself a Latina of Mexican descent. I am a first and second generation Mexican American from Pacoima in the San Fernando Valley. Raised in the greater LA areas, I am a native, a product of LAUSD, and I attended UCSB and USC. With four siblings, two kids and in-laws, like many Latinos, there is no shortage of family in my life.  

What is your scope for Intuit Dome?

Our scope for Intuit Dome involves providing construction management services onsite in the form of project controls, QA/QC support, staff augmentation and procurement management to first tier subcontractors for earthwork, structural concrete, structural steel, and miscellaneous metals. We pride ourselves on providing staff that can use common sense and their backgrounds in civil engineering, onsite experience, and construction management training to become an extension of our clients’ teams. We help fill gaps where needed, keep the superintendents on the field, and act as a hybrid between the field and the executive project management team.

How did you end up in construction?

 After working for the City of LA for many years in large-scale event production for the LA Convention Center, I had an inkling to be part of projects that were more meaningful to me, more permanent and more impactful to a community. With a list of wants, and the process of elimination, I surprisingly found the construction industry was the most fitting. I took a leap of faith and quit my city job. I kept afloat by freelancing events like the Oscars and the Emmys, and transitioned by interning on job sites to get my boots dirty and eventually went back to school for my Masters in Construction Management at USC Viterbi. The idea of not having to wear heels to work ever again and driving by a building that I contributed to was all I needed to commit to construction. So, in 2015 my husband and I started DLR Planning, our Construction Management firm. 

What does Hispanic Heritage Month mean to you?

For me, Hispanic Heritage month is a reminder to all Americans that Latinos are a huge piece of the fabric of this country. This month allows us to reflect on the rich cultural influence we have had in the United States for centuries and realize that in many ways our influence as a minority group is still young, still growing and still evolving. I find it’s a time for everyone to be embraced by our deeply rooted values of family and community and celebrate the culture that brought us some of our favorite foods, drinks, holidays, entertainment and most importantly, people. HHM is an opportunity to educate ourselves of the Hispanic/Latino Heritage contributions within our society, and I hope it inspires a greater comfort in getting to know cultures outside of our own. 

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