A Family that Grows Together Stays Together
When someone says that the people they work with are family to them, they don’t usually mean that literally. But for Rachele Phariss, the story is different.
From a young age, Rachele knew she wanted to pursue a career in the construction industry. She was fortunate enough to have an extraordinary science teacher who got her involved in a math, science and engineering program. Rachele was fascinated with the connection between these subjects and fell in love with the notion of helping build something impactful for her community.
She continued to pursue this passion during college, majoring in civil engineering at the University of California, Davis. While in her senior year, Rachele discovered Balfour Beatty’s internship program.
“My boyfriend at the time was interning at Balfour Beatty, so I knew about the opportunity through him,” says Rachele. “I was lucky enough to intern right in the middle of construction on the Freeport Regional Water Intake Facility in Sacramento, and once I graduated, they hired me.”
As a fulltime employee, Rachele had the opportunity to finish out the project she had started as an intern. Rachele’s boyfriend was also hired after his internship, and the two quickly became a Balfour Beatty couple.
“And now I’m married to him,” says Rachele. Just like that, Balfour was family.
Eleven years later, Rachele still boasts about the home she’s found within the company. She’s worked on numerous different civils projects, ranging from large-scale water projects to joint ventures between our infrastructure and rail teams, some of which she’s been able to work on with her husband. To Rachele, every project in unique, not just thanks to its learning opportunities, but also in the connections she forms with her fellow project team members.
“It’s our interaction that is kind of like family,” says Rachele. “I always make a connection and long-lasting friendships with the people I’ve worked alongside.”
Rachele is currently contributing to Balfour Beatty’s most significant integrated U.S. Civils and Buildings project, the LAX Automated People Mover. In a field that’s largely still male-dominated, it’s the people on this job – specifically the women – who have surprised Rachele the most.
“I used to be the only woman on the whole construction team,” says Rachele. “This megaproject is a good 50/50 mixture. I am seeing more women out there. I think it’s good. Something is changing, and it’s changing for the better.”
Rachele is deeply grateful for the growth and development opportunities has been afforded at Balfour Beatty. Between the relationships she’s built and the knowledge she’s acquired from her projects, Rachele is not the same shy intern she was when she started; she’s found her voice and her purpose. And she wouldn’t have it any other way.
“Balfour Beatty cares about its people. That’s why I was attracted to this company, and it’s why I stay,” praises Rachele. “They really do treat us like family. My husband and I joke that our kids are going to be Balfour people, too.”