Christy Smith has worked with concrete since her high school days. As a senior, Smith and her then-boyfriend, now-husband started a concrete business, Curb Appeal Landscape Borders, to be outdoors and earn money.

They didn’t have experience with concrete, but were determined to make the company work. They focused on residential projects, like concrete borders around flower beds and landscaping. “We thought it was the perfect time to offer a niche service that many homeowners desired,” Smith says.

Smith renamed the business Five Star Construction in 2006. Since then, she has been the president, while her husband oversees the crew of eight concrete finishers. Five Star considers curb and gutter work its specialty, but it has also made forays into commercial jobs, sidewalks, storm inlets, and demolition. They travel the Southeast, working on everything from Wal-Marts to football fields.

As a woman in construction, Smith has faced many obstacles. “When I walked into a jobsite trailer, men thought I was lost,” Smith recalls. “But being confident in my work and hearing positive reviews from customers helps me conquer this male-dominant industry.”

Smith is an active member of the National Association of Women in Construction (NAWIC), raises money for construction-related scholarships, and networks with other women in the industry. “I enjoy working with other women, and we try to promote each other’s companies,” Smith explains. “It’s a sisterhood.”

She also has a special place in her heart for MAGIC Camp (Mentoring a Girl in Construction), a week-long event where NAWIC members come together to educate young women about the various construction trades.

“It is rare to see a female in the concrete industry,” Smith says. “But every day is different, which is enjoyable.”