TAMPA, Fla. - As we continue to recognize Hispanic Heritage during the month of September, we're telling the story of a woman whose dream as a little girl has become her passion in adulthood, and is leaving a lasting legacy in the Bay Area.
Tiara Rubio has worn many hats working for Suffolk Construction Company; assistant project manager, project manager, virtual design and construction manager, business development manager, and operational support manager.
Rubio's passion for construction started when she was a child.
"My father was a mechanical engineer in the Dominican Republic. He built gas stations for Texaco. As well, my mom had a lot of influence in me having a passion for design, because she always designing our homes," she recalled.
Rubio went to architecture school in the Dominican Republic for about a year and a half and then came to the U.S. to continue her education.
But she changed her major to construction management after visiting a construction site.
"You known, I said this is a lot less time in school. I can make a lot more money faster so I think this is it," she said.
Her first job was 12 years ago, working as a drywall contractor.
"[My boss] allowed me to make the mistakes that would lead me to know what I was doing," Rubio said.
The 35-year-old construction manager has been at Suffolk for seven years.
"I want to stay in construction. This is my passion. This is where I strive," she said.
Rubio says women bring a unique perspective to a construction project.
"Having a difference of opinion is important because you need the diversity, you need the diverse thinking to solve problems and to get the task done," said Chris Eastman, the vice president of Suffolk Construction. "She's fantastic and I wish I had 10 of her to be honest with you. Just happy that she is with because she is a tremendous asset. I can't say enough about her."
has been in the business for more than 30 years.
Rubio remembers one time she showed up on a job site. "They look at me and say, 'Are you the the engineer or are you the architect?' I say, 'No, I am your boss. I'm the construction manager.' They're like, 'OK, OK, can you help us solve this problem?'" Rubio recalled. "'Yes, absolutely.'"
She's a problem solver with a very bright future.
"I can see myself as a leader, leading a job, leading a project, leading people, producing a good quality product," said Rubio.
She has worked on projects like the Miami Airport expansion and the Hardrock Casino in Tampa.