According to a proposed budget filed by Governor Rick Scott last month, the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) will receive $9.9 billion in funding this year for strategic transportation projects. Doreen DiPolito, owner and president of D-Mar General Contracting and Development in Tampa Bay, FL, applauded the move, citing its significance in supporting and creating construction jobs throughout the state. As the owner of a certified Women’s Business Enterprise, DiPolito is committed to raising awareness of the career opportunities for women in construction.
Florida’s proposed 2015 budget allocates $3.8 billion for highway construction projects and $350 million for aviation improvements, including $80.3 million for an aviation capacity project at Tampa International Airport. It also appropriates $109.6 million for seaport infrastructure enhancements as the state prepares to welcome massive new container ships following the expansion of the Panama Canal.
While PortMiami is nearing completion of its deep dredge to accommodate the new class of megaships, other Florida seaports—including Port Everglades and the Port of Jacksonville —are pursuing their own dredging projects. Additional seaport construction projects include extending berth capacity, expanding container storage space, erecting new cargo cranes, and building terminals, transfer facilities and logistics centers. These projects are creating thousands of construction jobs at Florida’s 15 deepwater ports. In Port Canaveral alone, current and planned projects will require more than 4,500 construction professionals.
Governor Scott recently pledged to invest a total of $1 billion in Florida seaports over his eight-year term. His policy cites Florida Ports Council data, which shows that the state’s seaports generate more than 680,000 jobs and $96 billion in total economic value, and contribute $6.90 in economic activity for every $1 invested.
“Many people assume that construction and contracting jobs are limited to business and residential buildings. But the reality is that our industry encompasses all kinds of exciting projects, including Florida’s multi-billion-dollar transportation initiatives and other public works,” said DiPolito. “This tremendous level of investment means that there will continue to be a strong demand for skilled workers. In fact, developers often have to hire people from out of state to fill all of their openings. That’s why I’m so passionate about encouraging and supporting women in construction (http://d-mar.com/about/minority-certification/); the opportunities are virtually unlimited for those who pursue relevant training and apprenticeships.”
DiPolito’s own career trajectory clearly illustrates that point. She began her career in mechanical engineering in 1984 at Honeywell in Clearwater, Florida, before agreeing to assist with her former in-laws’ general contracting (http://d-mar.com/) firm, which had been struggling after the passing of its founder. To succeed in her new role, DiPolito studied for and subsequently earned certification as a Florida General Contractor. Not only did she oversee the successful turnaround of the business, but she went on to become its president and owner; and the Clearwater Regional Chamber of Commerce honored DiPolito and D-Mar with the Clearwater Medium Business of the Year award in 2006.
Since then, DiPolito has made it her mission to demonstrate the capability of women in construction. She belongs to an elite cadre of female construction managers who are leading high-profile projects throughout the state—from a $42 million apartment complex in Fort Lauderdale to a $250 million continuing care community in Boca Raton. (7) DiPolito has earned acclaim for the numerous residential development and commercial building projects D-Mar has completed throughout the state of Florida. Her portfolio includes well-known franchises such as Dunkin’ Brands, Hess, Circle K, Quiznos and Burger King - she also recently led the re-conversion of a Hess station that serves as the model for the rebrand project under new ownership of Marathon’s Speedway, in which D-Mar was selected as Speedway’s legacy contractor. D-Mar continues to expand in charter schools and was recently awarded a contract with LSG Sky Chefs.
“I love the challenges this industry presents, whether it’s creating something from nothing, as in the case of a new build, or completely reimagining an existing structure and bringing that vision to life,” explained DiPolito. “It’s rewarding to see my projects through to fruition and hearing my clients say we’ve exceeded their expectations. I hope that more women will explore the possibility of a career in construction and experience that thrill for themselves. Between the recent resurgence in residential and commercial building and the massive investments in seaports, airports and other transportation projects, there are lots of great, high-paying jobs awaiting the right candidates!”
To learn more about D-Mar General Contracting and Development and owner Doreen DiPolito, visit www.d-mar.com.