Carolina Lamartine is a senior project engineer at The PENTA Building Group and a founding member of the company's Diversity and Inclusion Committee. After graduated with a bachelor's degree in engineering from Universidade Estadual do Maranhão and a MBA from United States University, Carolina Lamartine started her career at PENTA Building Group in 2018.
Since then, she has worked on projects in Las Vegas and Palm Springs, including the CAESARS FORUM Convention Center, Agua Caliente Cathedral City Casino, and currently, 63 Las Vegas. In this interview, she talked about how she got into the construction industry and the importance of implementing diversity and inclusion initiatives in this industry.
1) Tell us how you became interested in the construction industry?
My dad worked for Petrobras, Brazil’s oil & gas state-owned company, for 36 years. I grew up visiting oil ships, refineries and enjoying company summer camps with various “engineering” activities for children. In high school, my two biggest strengths were math and writing, so career counselors would always point me towards engineering or law. I chose Civil Engineering and construction because I loved the idea of taking an empty or old space and repurposing it, turning it into something hundreds, if not thousands, of people will use every day. I also see the beauty of doing something that supports human existence in all its needs, from simple basic shelter to entertainment and fun!
2) What path led you to The PENTA Building Group?
Honestly, somewhat of a random one! Through Brazil’s Science Without Borders program, I was awarded a scholarship to spend a year at Northern Arizona University. Construction companies would come in weekly for seminars to the Construction Management program, and interview students for internships. PENTA was the first and only company in the 2015 spring semester to interview international students, and I was one of two students in the program to get a summer internship. After returning to Brazil to finish my degree, PENTA brought me on as a full-time Project Engineer in 2018. Since then, I’ve worked on projects in Las Vegas and Palm Springs, such as the CAESARS FORUM Convention Center, Agua Caliente Cathedral City Casino, and currently, 63 Las Vegas.
3) Why do you think it’s important to have increased inclusion of women in the industry?
According to the United States Census Bureau, women make up 50% of the population in the United States. Missing out on women means missing out on an incredibly large pool of intelligent, competent people. As I researched for my MBA’s capstone thesis in 2020, I realized the construction industry has suffered from worker shortages throughout its history, from labor to management. This industry needs to get serious about employing not only women, but people with diverse backgrounds, ethnicities, race, and education levels, to be sustainable. We need to start looking at developing people, providing them with tools to improve their skills, and meeting them where they are, instead of expecting them to fit the same mold the industry is used to. It’s a changing world and companies will need to adjust to remain competitive. There is plenty of space for everyone in this industry, and it will be better as it gets more diverse and more inclusive. I’m proud to be a founding member of my company’s Diversity and Inclusion Committee, where we work to develop and implement D&I programs that promote learning and growth for employees.
4) How does PENTA foster an environment for mentorship and growth?
The bottom line is that PENTA rewards people who work hard. And by working hard, I don’t mean putting in the longest hours or bringing in the most money, but people who care about what they do, about our teams, and about our clients. This creates an atmosphere that allows people to make mistakes, to be honest, to ask for help, and to learn. Through this comes trust, and from trust comes growth. This doesn’t mean there isn’t room for improvement. PENTA proudly surveys its employees annually, and through the comments on that survey in 2021, as we’re growing and expanding operations to several regions, it came to light that new hires and interns were feeling the need for more formal mentorship. We have since started assigning mentors - or ambassadors - to new hires and interns, to bring them into the PENTA culture and help them navigate the transition. Caring about our people is the #1 driver to fostering this culture.
5) What else do you like to do in your free time?
Recently I’ve enjoyed participating in community outreach with PENTA at schools and universities. Outside of work, I love to cook and take my dog to the dog park during the week. On weekends, my fiancé and I are usually travelling and going on hikes; during the winter, you can find us snowboarding on any given mountain. And of course, at least once a year we visit my family and friends back in Rio de Janeiro - there’s nothing I love more than drinking Mate-Leão iced tea and eating Biscoito Globo on the Leme beach!