March 6-12, 2022 is Women in Construction Week. Matern Staffing is excited to feature partners and employees in the construction industry. Desiree Branum is a new Matern Staffing employee who recently started as a Construction Worker for a Fortune 500 global metals company.

“As long as you have the motivation, you’ll be able to do it,” exclaims Desiree Branum, sharing advice she has for young women entering the construction field. After speaking with Desiree, you’ll learn this motto has always been a part of her.

Desiree grew up in Virginia, raised in a strong military family. Both parents and grandparents served in the military and her household valued obedience and discipline. After high school graduation she entered the Marines. While trying to figure out what she wanted to do next, she fell into substance abuse. She openly shared about quitting cold turkey, something she was determined to overcome, and is proud to speak about her sobriety. Then, she bounced between small jobs, some in fast food, until a friend introduced her to the job opening at her current employer.

In her current position as a Construction Worker, Desiree fabricates custom-order rebar products. First, overhead cranes deliver the rebar to the workstations. Then, she uses a hand machine to feed the metal while operating foot pedals that help with stopping/starting. She bends, measures, and cuts rebar to precise measurements according to the customer’s order. After fabrication, she pushes the bars to a cart where it is bundled and lifted to the loading dock. Desiree describes the pieces of rebar as having diameters that vary from pen-size to your fist. The rebar varies in length between 2ft to 6ft. She describes it as a lot of controlled activities going on throughout the day.

Desiree is a very hands-on person who loves to build things. She credits her girlfriend and her girlfriend’s mom with motivating her and instilling the confidence to try something new. When she sees bridges around town, she is proud of her contributions to building the backbone of her community. Desiree is passionate about having a job where she can build things, that also in turn develops her. Having this job builds her independence, hope, and motivation. 

When thinking about women who consider entering the construction field, Desiree shared, “It might seem scary and sound hard, but a woman’s touch is good balance. Just give it a chance, like I did!” She praised her current employer for also taking a chance on her. Desiree entered the steel industry without any experience and they trained her in several areas because she applied herself. She worked hard to gain experience and enjoyed rebar fabrication, so she started in that area.

When Desiree isn’t bending and cutting rebar, she enjoys binge watching TV, hiking with her dogs and girlfriend, and spending family time together.

If you are interested in starting a new career in the construction industry, search our open job opportunities or call us today!