Michelle Cousté, 26, assistant superintendent at Clark Construction, is managing the build-out of Ashburn’s Metro station.
“I get here when the crews get in, at 6 am. I walk around, check on everything. Then I lead a 7 am meeting with every foreman on the job site. There are almost never women in that mix. It’s me talking to all men who are at least ten years older. Sometimes people don’t listen and I’ve had to pull out a more assertive voice. There’s two hard parts about that. One is it’s not my natural instinct to yell or be demanding. The other is choosing when to do it, so it’s not ‘she’s a diva’ or ‘she’s a hardass.’