Linda A. Young, President

I started in the construction industry more than 30 years ago working as a controller for a local residential developer in San Diego County.   

Today, I'm the co-owner of C-SOS Consulting, providing construction industry firms with accounting, estimating, and project management services.

My hope for the next generation: Seriously consider the construction industry as a viable, lucrative career opportunity. Get past the obvious “dirty” aspects and investigate the amazing facets available to someone who is eager and ambitious.

Linda Young
Melinda Dicharry, Vice President

I began my career working for a family-owned HVAC company while I was in college. I worked my way up from receptionist to the controller position, learning construction accounting systems hands-on while also finishing college. Once I graduated, I dug deeper, earning a Certified Construction Industry Financial Professional (CCIFP) designation which allowed me to cross over into construction operations. 

In 2010 I became the Founder and CEO of Paradigm Mechanical Corp., a commercial mechanical company that specializes in heating, air conditioning, plumbing, and piping retrofit work for commercial, industrial, and government clients.

Advice to those considering a career in construction: Never stop learning and don't limit yourself. You can truly do ANYTHING you want to do in this industry; take advantage of every learning opportunity (classes, hands-on training, jobsite visits, management meetings, etc.). Find an association like NAWIC to be a part of and dive in. Get active! You get what you give. Find a mentor. I am fortunate to have a few mentors that have really poured their experience into me. Work hard. 
Linda Young
Myrna Smith, CIT, Secretary

My dad was a general contractor, so I was raised in the industry.  During high school, I worked for my dad’s company for a few years before heading to college. I then pursued a paralegal degree and a legal career.  After two jobs in that industry, I knew that my real love was the construction industry and that I wanted to go back.  I have been working for general contractors, subcontractors, and a development company for over 30+ years.   

I am currently the Design Administration Manager for Harper Constructiona Design Build General Contractor, and have been there for 16 years.  Prior to my current role, I worked in various positions including Executive Assistant, Project Coordinator, and Small Business Liaison Office.  As part of our Design Department, I assist with all design and project closeout documents as well as submissions to owners. I also work with architects, engineers, and other consultants.  

Knowing what I know now, I'd recommend: Getting a good education and going for a four-year degree program early, while you're still young.  Learn as much as you can before getting into full-time work or having a family.  People with architect or engineering degrees are in demand and an asset to have.  Also, any other extra training such as scheduling, LEED, or BIM is an asset to know.
Linda Young
Jan Parthemer, Treasurer

I began my career in the IT department of Scripps, but once I hit the glass ceiling, I knew it was time to find something new. My husband started Datalink Solutions, Inc. which provides low voltage communications cabling. I took over as President and have been there ever since. 

It has been 35 years since I started as the President and Owner of Datalink Solutions, Inc. I truly enjoy partnering with our customers to evaluate their system needs, and design and install data and voice cabling or fiber optic solutions that meet their needs today and in the future.

What I know to be true: If you do your best and are honest and reliable, you will find support out there. There are mentors, male and female, that want to see this industry grow and thrive. Find them!
Linda Young
Teran Lindsley Breceda, Trustee

I got my start in the construction industry in 2000 when my husband, Eric Breceda, a licensed contractor and I launched Breceda Landscape. I'm still the co-owner of Breceda Landscape today and love providing our San Diego County clients with a personal interactive landscape experience. 

Advice for those just starting out: The construction industry is rewarding and worth your time.

Linda Young
Paula Covert, Trustee

I began in the industry as a receptionist for a mechanical contractor and quickly moved into payroll.  After a few years, I started filling in some spare time helping with purchasing and the project managers.  That’s when I discovered I had a career in front of me and not just a job. I finally found what I really enjoyed doing!  I decided to further my education, taking classes nights and weekends to obtain certification for Construction Administration which included semesters of Scheduling, Estimating, Contract Law, and Project Management.  As a single mom with a full-time job, it was a lot on my plate, but well worth the effort.  I moved into a full-time position as a Purchasing Agent and was blessed to have had a very helpful and supportive mentor as my supervisor.

I have just begun (what I believe will be my final job before retirement) a position as Purchasing Manager with Countywide Mechanical Systems.   It is a new department for them and I am tasked with setting up procedures and making this department shine.  I am beyond thrilled to have this opportunity and to contribute to the continued success of this company.

My advice to my younger self: Explore and be open-minded. When fresh out of school, it never occurred to me that a career in construction was even an option.  In fact, I didn’t even know another woman who even worked in the industry.  Thanks to the Foundation and Camp NAWIC, girls today do know it’s an option and are getting the mentoring and education they need to help make the choice.
Linda Young
Rhonda Mitchell, CIT, Trustee

My entire extended family has been in construction for as long as I can remember.  I’ve worked in the design and construction department at UC San Diego for almost 20 years.  Prior to that I was self-employed in the private sector in both construction support services and the development end.  It is then that I studied the industry at University of California, and later with the NAWIC Education Foundation (NEF).  

I've been the Contracts Manager for the Capital Program Management department (previously Facilities Design & Construction) at UC San Diego since 2007.  Our department is responsible for managing all executive design, consulting, and construction contracts for the university campus and medical centers with a capital improvement program of approximately $3.5 billion.

What I want students to know: Our industry is such a fascinating one; it is challenging and rewarding, and the sky is the limit. There is a strong need for interested, talented individuals in construction management, as well as all of the construction trades involved in creating the final building project. Salaries are very good, even for entry-level positions, and there are advancement opportunities in both the private and public sectors. It’s a profession you can feel proud to be in, with sound comraderies and the satisfaction of being a part of an important place and seeing it evolve. Although the construction industry has been predominately male-oriented, women have carved and paved important inroads into all levels of construction; this will continue to grow and be the norm. I have seen attitudes towards women in the business change favorably over the past decade, and I highly recommend female students (or any student) consider construction as a career. There really isn’t anything like it!

Linda Young
Jim Dowling, Trustee

My first introduction to construction was working in a bingo equipment factory making parts in a woodshop and here I discovered I loved working with wood. I moved to California in 1982 and landed a job at a cabinet making shop where my carpentry career began. In 1998, I opened Dowling Construction Inc. because I was tired of working for other people and a good friend encouraged me to venture out on my own. I had 12 years of tenant improvement work under my belt and felt it was a good niche to get into.

Why Join the Foundation?

I have sat on the Board of Trustees for the Jamul/Delzura School District for many years and have been involved in promoting civic education. Now that I don’t have any kids in the district, I want to transition into introducing/promoting today’s youth into construction careers and think the Foundation’s partnership with NAWIC San Diego have produced the best programs to do so. I want to make a difference.

Words of wisdom for youth: College isn’t for everyone. Debt is for no one. Construction careers RULE!

Linda Young
Anthony George, Trustee

My first experience with the construction industry was one of the consumer at a young age. My family hired contractors for renovations to property my parents owned, and they were the most down to earth and hardworking folks I ever met. Fast forward to my adult professional life and that still holds true. I have been involved in numerous construction projects in my position with Mayor Faulconer’s Office. From skateparks to residential construction, I have seen how important the construction industry is in keeping a large city like San Diego moving forward. Cultivating careers in the construction industry is critical to strengthening our local workforce and the Future Construction Leaders Foundation does just that.

What anyone considering a career in construction should know: A career in construction is one that helps move a community forward with tangible results of success.

Kristen Panebianco