Growing San Diego
As a life-long resident of the San Diego area, Padilla knows how important the NCC is to the region. “The bicyclists, the pedestrians, the commuters, they’re giving them all equal safety . . . to enjoy this area,” she says. But as anyone in construction knows, it’s not always constant accolades from the community when the project is on-going. Padilla says her role in traffic control taught her how to develop patience because the public is often frustrated. “People are just focused on getting from one place to another, but being a part of the redevelopment of [this roadway], it’s like you don’t understand how much we wanted to build this for everybody to commute through.”
When complete, the NCC project will include the replacement of highway and railroad bridges over lagoons, restoration of the San Elijo Lagoon, and 14 miles of highway widening. All done with a priority on both sustainability and public safety.
Women at work
When she began, Padilla encountered other women on the job who mentored her, but she was well aware of the challenges she’d face coming into the male-dominated field and took them on. “I may look different, I may be small, and I’m a female . . . but I’m here, fully willing to learn and be a part of this team.”
Since starting out four years ago she’s worked in a variety of roles with carpenters, concrete masons, welders and engineers. What she likes about this career is the fact that there are a lot of infrastructure opportunities out there. “That’s my excitement,” she says, “knowing that I can move around and get a taste of all of San Diego and see that redevelopment.”
Padilla sees herself growing in the career and is amazed at where she’s at, “I never imagined myself being in construction and enjoying it as much as I do,” she recently told her supervisor, “They say that’s where the pot of gold is. When you get into something not knowing anything [about it] but you just keep on going. Sure enough, every day pays off.”
Listen and learn more
Click to listen now on iTunes or Spotify and hear the full conversation with Julia Padilla, journeywoman with Labor Union Local 89. Plus, see her on the NCC Project video.
Find past episodes of The Rebuild SoCal Zone podcast.
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