Builders Exchange of Michigan: How did you earn your first dollar?
Amy Folleth: I actually made my first dollar working retail.
BX: What drew you to the construction industry?
AF: My husband. He worked for a family business since he was 15 years old until 2010. We opened Best Barricading in April 2010. Unfortunately, he passed away in June 2017 in a work-related accident.
BX: What does a typical day look like on the job for you?
AF: My day consists of bidding new projects, signing contracts, bookkeeping, employee relations, managing, directing, and keeping the company running smoothly behind the scenes.
BX: What’s an exciting project that you’ve completed recently?
AF: The Bagley Pedestrian Bridge in Detroit. We provided traffic control to allow the engineer to sound the bridge deck and check the tension cables suspending the bridge. The bridge is located on I-75 and spans lanes of traffic.
BX: What’s the best career advice you’ve ever heard?
AF: Find a mentor and be a mentor. Go above and behind your job duties.
BX: What makes Best Barricading special?
AF: We are a small women-owned business. We pride ourselves in providing the utmost customer service. Our knowledge and integrity is the basis for our success.
BX: If you could master one new skill right now, what would it be?
AF: The hiring process continues to be a challenge!
BX: What were your goals when you began your position at Best Barricading?
AF: Operate a company that offers competitive, knowledgeable, and integrity-driven traffic control solutions.
BX: What challenges have you overcome and what experiences have you had to get to where you are today?
AF: When my husband was killed, I had to take over some of his responsibilities. I had to teach myself how to read plans, bid projects, and gain an understanding of multiple traffic setups, MDOT compliance and procedures. This tragic event in my life was the hardest hurdle I have ever had to overcome. Long days and nights at the office reviewing old files and bid documents and familiarizing myself with MDOT Traffic Typicals and applying them in the field. It was very important to me to keep my husband’s legacy alive. My driving force was to make him proud of our efforts after his absence.
BX: What advice would you give to other women who would like to go into the same career field you’ve chosen?
AF: Do it! I didn’t really choose this career, but I am very glad it chose me. It’s exciting and challenging and I would encourage women to take the leap in the construction field.
BX: What can other members of the construction community do to encourage women to participate in the construction industry?
AF: Provide tools and work experience and hire more women in all aspects of the field.
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