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News | March 25, 2024

Women of Installations & Logistics Build Strong Future for NSA

FORT MEADE, Md. - Construction is booming across the NSA/CSS Washington (NSAW) campus, with upgrades to existing buildings and the expansion of East Campus.

Behind these innovative projects are the women of Installations & Logistics (I&L), who play a critical role in paving the way for the future of NSA. During Women’s History Month, NSA celebrates them and all of the women helping drive mission outcomes.

Caryn O. began her career in I&L about 15 years ago and although she had no construction background when she started, she has since flourished in her role as an I&L project manager.

“I absolutely love being in the construction field because it is really cool to see drawings and then see it actually turn into something physical,” she said.

After joining I&L, Caryn earned a graduate degree in construction management and has since managed major upgrades to the Friedman Conference Center in 2017 and floor to ceiling renovations in the OPS1 building on NSAW’s main campus that began in 2019. According to Caryn, both projects involved obstacles that had to be overcome, including supply chain issues associated with the COVID-19 pandemic.

Despite these obstacles, Caryn said she would definitely recommend construction as a career.

“I enjoy working with dedicated and hard-working individuals who endure dirt, climate issues, and long hours and never complain,” she said.

Project Manager Katie F. is leading renovations to the 70-year-old 9800 barracks buildings located east of the “Big 4” – a group of buildings on NSAW’s main campus. This $44.5M project was awarded in 2020, and the final phases are expected to be finished in April.

“Overall, it was gratifying to support a project that improves the quality of life for service members,” she said.  “It is personally satisfying to use my background and skills to help deliver facilities that will ultimately support NSA’s mission.”

Katie worked as a civil engineer for several years at an external organization before joining I&L’s Design & Engineering team in 2012. After several years, she decided to learn more about the construction side of projects. In 2017, she joined the Infrastructure team within Project Execution, whose mission is to improve existing spaces and infrastructure at NSAW.

“As a project manager, I am able to leverage my work experience, as well as my master’s degrees in civil engineering and business administration, to execute projects from start to finish,” Katie said. “It was challenging to balance the requirements of various stakeholders while staying within budget and complying with the contract.”

Katie said she enjoys learning from people with different areas of expertise.

“It’s inspiring to watch people with diverse backgrounds, including engineering, business, and trades, collaborate to execute a successful project,” she said.

Carolyn S. is the deputy project manager supporting the construction of the Chiari Center on East Campus. She has more than 12 years of interior design and project management experience, both external and internal to NSA. She joined NSA in August 2016 as an interior designer in the Design and Engineering office, where she gained a strong foundational knowledge of I&L's facility design and construction requirements. She joined the Military Construction (MILCON) team in September 2023.

Carolyn said her favorite part about the MILCON office is that every day is different, and she is able to witness all aspects of a project.

“Being able to see designs come to life in construction and eventually become a finished building that will support some of our Agency’s biggest missions is one of the best parts of my job,” she said. “Since we are working in active construction, you never know what each day will bring.”

Jessica M., who joined NSA as a contractor in 2010 and became an Agency employee in 2019, is currently a project manager in the MILCON office working on East Campus Building 5.

“I enjoy the varied and changing work,” she said, adding that she enjoys the work/life balance that includes telework and a flexible schedule.

“Being a woman in construction can be intimidating at first,” said Jessica. “According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics 1 in 10 of those in the construction industry are women. Advice I have as a woman in this male-dominated field would be to be your own best advocate, be confident enough to use your skillset and knowledgeable to make the right decisions, understand your strengths, and use all the tools you’ve acquired throughout your life to be successful.”  

According to Jessica, she and the MILCON team work to build long-lasting facilities that will serve NSA’s workforce for the next 50 years, and keep the mission moving forward.

“We are being good stewards for being fiscally responsible,” she said. “We are problem solvers. We look at the big picture and find how to reduce or mitigate a problem.”

All of the women said they enjoy their work and are proud to be a part of the construction field.

“There are many professional opportunities in construction, and women should not be intimidated by outdated stereotypes of the industry,” Katie said.

NSA Media Relations