“Success isn’t about how much money you make, it’s about the difference you make in people’s lives.”- Michelle Obama
The Drive288 project prides itself on establishing a work environment of diversity and inclusivity, with equal and fair treatment for everyone on the project. Mirroring the unique diversity of Houston, its team of workers come from all walks of life and take pride in the individual challenges and triumphs that brought them to the Drive288 project.
There is one worker in particular who knows a thing or two about overcoming a challenge. Meet Ashley Neighbors-Evans. Hailing from Chicago, Illinois, Ashley is a traffic engineer and a graduate of Florida A&M University. As a teenager, she slowly developed a passion for the construction field, spending her summers renovating old homes with her uncle. With five years of construction experience under her belt, she has also worked on the massive, $2 billion I35W-I820N North Tarrant Expressway project in Fort Worth—moving up the ranks as a Project Engineer/Project Manager to infrastructure, as a Traffic Coordinator/Traffic Engineer.
“I chose to be an engineer because I knew it would be exciting and challenging,” said Neighbors-Evans. “Engineering is a field that not only solves world problems but also impacts people’s lives.”
Entering a male-dominated industry, the road to Drive288 was not always easy for Ashley. She knew she had hurdles to overcome, but she was more than “up for the challenge.” Fresh out of college, she found herself applying to jobs without receiving any leads in return. Eventually, she took a step of faith and purchased a one-way ticket to Virginia in search of a job. Knocking on door after door aggressively job-hunting, she received her first job offer with a small 8A firm in Washington, D.C.
“Being the only woman in a group of men is a challenge, but it has been important for me to realize that people who do not respect me because I am a female are the exception and not the rule. I honestly embrace those experiences now because they have empowered me to be more assertive and straightforward.”
The Drive288 project is grateful to have workers like Ashley, and she is just as grateful for the cohesive atmosphere on the team.
“I really love the work environment. I like how everyone works together, as a team, coming from all different backgrounds, to get the job done,” she said. “Everyone has been very welcoming and respectful.”
A note from Ashley:
“I would like to thank all the strong women in my lineage who inspired me to be the best I can be, and who also taught us that we could be whoever we wanted to be. Because of you, I am where I am today and I thank you!”