Women-owned painting and construction company flips the script

Some construction sites may not have women. But what if the construction team consisted only of women?

SAN DIEGO – On a typical construction site, Melody Guzman may be the only woman on the team.

“You know, everyone says someone has to do it, but we’re all someone,” said Melody Guzman, the site manager.

As of 2010, only 9% of construction workers are women, according to OSHA. The Bureau of Labor Statistics said that women made up just 9.9% of the construction industry in the United States at the end of 2018, which women describe as “significantly underrepresented”.

However, it’s a different picture in a neighborhood in South San Diego near National City. Guzman, an artist, patiently applies white paint to the side of a ruined house next to Kelly Forbes.

“We’re women owned, run by women,” Forbes said.

It all started when Forbes felt like it was being treated like a drop in the ocean in a male-dominated industry.

“I had a full truck, full tools, all skills, had been painting for over 10 years – because I started out as a teenager – and I made $ 10, sometimes $ 15 less an hour than the men in the field,” said Forbes.

So Forbes took matters into their own hands. She founded LOVE Painting Company, a San Diego painting and construction company that employs women, including single mothers.

“Being a single mom is also challenging, but it’s very flexible to be able to run your own business,” said Forbes. “I don’t know how we can do it other than do that.”

Forbes said every employee starts at $ 20 an hour.

“You must have a living wage in San Diego,” said Forbes. “It’s not just about making a profit. It’s about creating a culture and an environment where people can thrive and have good jobs. “

Forbes said their company is working on residential and commercial properties using environmentally friendly materials like low-VOC or no-VOC paints. According to the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), VOCs contain a wide variety of chemicals, some of which can cause short-term and long-term adverse health effects, including headaches and liver damage.

Born in Massachusetts, she understands that her business model is unique.

“That is sometimes lost in today’s society where everything is so technology-oriented,” said Forbes. “There is a direct connection to the human mind when you work physically and I think we enjoy it a lot and it is extremely powerful.”

“I used to be an IT professional [and] I work a lot in the office, ”said Guzman. “Shortly after four years – it was actually my career – I just couldn’t do it anymore. It just didn’t feel natural to me. “

It’s not just about the job. The LOVE Painting Company will beautify local nonprofits and ruined neighborhoods with donated paint.

“We’re giving back to the community so we’re doing this here today,” said Forbes. “You feel super warm.”

Guzman and Forbes paint over a sub-ideal house wall covered in graffiti.

“So we’re just getting started,” said Forbes. “We’re just cleaning up this graffiti and then we’re going to put a little mural here. It becomes a mermaid with a great message. “

They hope to complete the volunteer project in mid-August.

“It really makes you great when you’re into something beautiful,” Forbes said.

The company currently has four employees. You can find out more about the LOVE Painting Company here.

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