Join us in celebrating the 25th Annual Women in Construction Week (March 5-11) with a blog series highlighting the value and ingenuity women bring to our member businesses. We’ll also feature careers and opportunities available to women interested in a rewarding, full-time job and being a part of the precast, prestressed concrete industry’s bright future.
My name is Lori Westerholm. My career in procurement began in 1999 working as an Assistant to the President/CEO of a manufacturing company specializing in Hot Stamp Foil and Holographic Film in Newburyport, MA. In 2001, I applied for the purchasing agent position which was ultimately offered to me and accepted. At that time, I did not have a college degree and my 5-year plan was to begin my path to earning a degree in Business Management while working full-time in conjunction with taking classes at night. In 2002, I started courses in Business Management at Franklin Pierce University in Portsmouth, NH and earned my Bachelor of Science degree in 2006, graduating with honors. That same year, I accepted a Buyer position with a master distributor of Copper, Steel and PVC located in Ipswich, MA. As the company grew from 3 distribution centers in 2006 to 11 distribution centers in 2013, I accepted the position of Inventory Control Manager. In 2015, I made the decision to move back home to Virginia to help take care of my parents which ultimately lead to my career with Metromont, LLC.
PCI-MA: How do you describe your job to people?
Lori: In my role as Supply Chain Manager for VA Operations, I oversee Metromont’s Purchasing Departments in Richmond and Winchester, driving the company’s strategic sourcing needs as well as mentoring, guiding, and developing each team member for future growth.
PCI-MA: How did your career journey lead you to your company?
Lori: Upon my return to VA in 2015, I worked remotely in my role as Inventory Control Manager for the following 6 months as well as participating in the selection process and training of my replacement. In 2016, I started my search for a managerial position in procurement, ultimately accepting the position of Purchasing Manager for Metromont, LLC in Richmond, VA.
PCI-MA: What is one of the greatest challenges you’ve faced in our industry and how have you overcome it?
Lori: I am consistently challenging myself and striving to be successful in any role I may hold. I feel the greatest challenge I have faced is being valued, respected, and supported as a female in a leadership role. Women who hold positions of authority in a male-dominated industry often find it difficult to grow professionally, and I would like to think I am making a difference empowering young woman to reach their full potential.
PCI-MA: What do you enjoy most about your job?
Lori: As I moved into the Supply Chain Manager position for VA Operations, I was tasked with putting a team together for both plants as well as gaining the acceptance of the team members already in place. In this leadership role, I enjoy being able to promote change, mentor and guide each team member, and challenge each team member to strive to be the best they can be. More importantly, providing a level of trust with an open-door policy so that each team member feels they are able to speak freely without repercussions.
PCI-MA: Do you have a mentor or role model? If so, how does this person support you in your personal and professional growth?
Lori: In previous positions as I grew professionally, I did not have a mentor. During that time period, leadership roles were primarily male-dominated. It was not until I started my position as Purchasing Manager for Metromont, LLC that I was introduced to the newly hired Sourcing Director a few years later, who guided me in my professional growth. This position is now held by Lee Rushing, VP of Sourcing, for Metromont, LLC. Lee has taken on the role of my mentor, although he would say otherwise, and has become a source of strength and guidance in my professional growth as I stepped into the role of Supply Chain Manager supporting VA Operations.
PCI-MA: What are your career and life aspirations and goals?
Lori: My career goals include continuing to support Metromont, LLC as Supply Chain Manager for VA Operations as well as mentoring, guiding, and supporting each team member in their own goals and professional development. As my career in Supply Chain Management nears its exit point, I would like to continue supporting Animal Rescues as I have done in the past, adopting and/or rescuing dogs in need and/or with special needs. I would like to continue working as a volunteer with French Bulldog Rescue in support of their mission to rescue, rehabilitate and rehome French Bulldogs in need.
PCI-MA: What advice would you give a young woman entering the construction industry?
Lori: I would advise young women entering the construction industry to strive to be the best they can be. I know that sounds cliché, although empowering at the same time. We all have our own strengths and weaknesses, and identifying the weaknesses and pushing through is where we find out what we are made of and can accomplish anything and strive for excellence.
About Metromont Corporation
Metromont was founded in 1925 on the principles of faith, honor, and passion, and 96 years later, those values are still the foundation of who we are and everything we do. With nearly 1,500 associates across six manufacturing facilities in South Carolina, Georgia, Florida, and Virginia, Metromont is a leader and pioneer in the engineering and manufacturing of precast concrete. Most of all, we’re a trusted partner, working side-by-side with our customers from the earliest stages of project design through turnover of the completed structure. Across the eastern seaboard, the southeast, and even as far west as Arizona, our customers rely on us to provide innovative precast solutions and the best quality for their parking structures, data centers, multifamily housing, office buildings, warehouses, and distribution centers. And we do, because a trusted partner is who we are – and who we’ve been for nearly a century.