The world of asphalt, avenues, concrete, and construction has dominated the successful professional career of our project manager Amanda Dawley, and she has a father to thank for that.
“My father is in construction, building power plants, and I remember going around with him as a child to job sites and him showing me plans for the things he was building,” Amanda says. “That’s probably how I got interested in this; I grew up around construction.”
Growing up, Amanda went to 13 schools in 13 states but eventually came to call Polk County home. After working with the Florida Department of Juvenile Justice in Bartow for a couple of years, she first stepped into construction in August 2006 with The Lane Construction Corporation in Lakeland and then went to work for Better Roads, Inc. in Gibsonton in July 2011. She joined Tucker Paving in January 2012 as an assistant project manager and was promoted after just five months to project manager.
Amanda’s primary focus is on public-sector construction projects— jobs for cities, the county and the Florida Department of Transportation. She says she once had a desire to get into nursing, likely explaining the great satisfaction she says she gets in helping people. “I like being able to get the guys in the field what they need to get the job done and get it done right,” she says.
Amanda says she’s personally very conservative with her finances— “I tell my kids at Publix: ‘If it’s not BOGO (buy one, get one), it’s a no-go,” she says— but she says that frame of mind also works well for her in her position. She says that through the construction contacts she’s made after nine years in the industry, she’s learned how to search for vendors that can do work at less expense yet maintain Tucker Paving’s high standards for workmanship.
“Cheaper isn’t always better,” she says. “Always going the cheapest route can make you look bad really quick. You have to balance price, quality, consistency, and reliability. It all goes hand-in-hand.”
Amanda says that while people outside of construction might not realize it, “In the paving industry, the safety culture is the most important part of our business. Out there on the job, everyone and everything around you is moving,” increasing the chances for accidents and personal injuries.
“The best way to have a good safety culture is caring for people,” Amanda says, explaining one of the reasons Tucker Paving is big on holding family events for employees. “They’re all about people caring for people,” she says. “This industry requires a lot of hours from everyone, and these people become family to you.” She says workplace safety is greatly improved when employees can say to one another: “I care about you. I don’t just work with you.”
Amanda and her husband, David, have two children: Bradley, 9, and Savannah, 7. She says the family enjoys traveling— “enjoying experiences versus things”— and doing a lot of volunteer work, particularly for the homeless and foster children. She says the volunteer work for less-fortunate individuals and families is a good way to keep her children “grounded” and focused on the really important things in life.