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Ladies First: Hagins Makes Construction Safe for All

Special to Informer | , Dedra T. Owens | 3/8/2012, 2:32 p.m.

Belinda Hagins is breaking new ground at Hensel Phelps Construction Company. She is laying a foundation for other women and also setting an example for those in her hometown of Washington, D.C. With safety as her focus, Hagins is the first African-American female foreman to reach the milestone and receive an award for 50,000 craft hours without a lost-time accident. This accomplishment highlights her commitment to creating a safe workplace for all.

Hagins, who grew up and still resides in Ward 4 of the District, is working on the construction of the new Washington D.C. Convention Center Hotel under construction. As a foreman, she is responsible for supervising laborers and carpenter apprentices. A good foreman is essential to the overall success of any construction project.

"As a Washingtonian it is exciting to be a part of the D.C. Convention Center hotel project from the ground up," said Hagins.

Her career with Hensel Phelps began in 2002 as a laborer at the Pentagon Renovation project in Arlington, Va. Since then, she has completed the four-year Hensel Phelps apprenticeship program, providing her with both hands on and technical expertise. Her career with Hensel Phelps also has included work on T.C. Williams High School in Alexandria, Va. and the D.C. Court of Appeals Renovation and Addition project in downtown D.C..

She said the biggest reward of her job is "all the professional training and development I have had access to as an employee of Hensel Phelps. ... I have been able to grow both personally and professionally. Hensel Phelps is committed to providing the tools and resources for our employees to go as far as they are willing to work," said Hagins.

Hagins also serves as a model for other women who aspire to achieve a career in construction.

"I want women to know that construction is not an unfriendly environment if you want to work and you are determined, you can achieve success in the field of construction," she said. "But, you must be willing to work."

Always working towards the next level, Hagins added, "My next goal is to be a general foreman."