This week marks Women in Construction Week, organized by the National Association of Women in Construction, making it a timely way to celebrate all that women contribute to Lloyd Companies and the broader building industry.
When residents begin moving into new apartment homes and offices open at the Steel District later this year, Aspen Thorstenson’s, the Commercial Design Director for Lloyd’s architecture department, fingerprints will be across their spaces. Her days are spent bridging design and construction to create outstanding building projects.
“My job involves a lot of integration between the different trades, and I love it,” she said.
“Lately I’ve been doing a lot of Steel District tenant buildouts, which has been fun, and of course, we do a lot of apartments. I’m working on one now called the Boundary that focuses on being on the boundary of Sioux Falls and tying into nature.”
For Kelli Velde, work days offer just as much variety. As Lloyd’s construction division trainer, she onboards all construction new hires while holding ongoing training for existing team members and leaders.
“I love Lloyd. It’s great,” she said. “And I get to do a little bit of everything.”
Velde and Thorstenson are just two examples of the multitude of roles involved in construction that can create rewarding careers for anyone.
“If you want to be part of this industry, from a superintendent to a project manager, and you’re a woman, you are more than welcome to work for Lloyd,” Velde said.
“Whether you’re in the office or in the field, there are lots of opportunities – a lot of different areas in construction that you can go into. And it’s not going away any time soon. We’re always hiring and women should feel secure and know they’re welcome here.”
That’s definitely been the experience for these women. Thorstenson, originally from Washington state, came to South Dakota for college and graduated from the architecture program at SDSU. From there, she worked in a firm for more than seven years before coming to Lloyd in 2021.
“The best part is that we have multiple divisions, so we’re able to learn about other trades as well as architecture and how a whole project comes together with finance and development integrated through construction,” she said. “It’s been amazing. I really like working here and there’s always an opportunity to learn about the other trades while working as a team. It’s a holistic approach. You work through everything together and you celebrate together.”
Velde came from across the country, too. A California native, she worked there for a family-owned construction company in IT before moving with her son to Minnesota to be near family. After working for a time in the marketing industry, she returned to her construction roots with Lloyd in 2022.
“Literally after my second week, I walked by our CEO Chris Thorkelson and he knew my name,” she said. “The door is open from the president to anybody. No one is too good to answer a question.”
She points out Lloyd’s buddy program, which pairs new hires with a buddy for their first several months “and you go have coffee or lunch with someone who’s been here awhile and they’re here to answer questions,” she said. “I love it.”
Lloyd Companies continues to grow and add to the team. Click here to learn more about current opportunities.