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March 3-7, 2026

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Safety First, Stereotypes Last: Monica Rakoczy’s Impact on Construction Inclusiveness



Monica Rakoczy, owner of EnterTRAINING Solutions, LLC, found her way to the construction industry unintentionally, despite growing up around the industry. Her mission in the construction industry is to emphasize the importance of safety, engagement and the evolving role of women in construction. Monica’s openness to opportunities has led her from an admin role to owning a business focused on making safety relatable, engaging – and even fun – across the utility, construction and industrial industries. Monica says: “My goal is to leave this world a slightly better place than I found it.”


"I grew up with construction. My dad was a CEO of a General Contracting company. I never had any intentions of following in his footsteps, but after college, construction found me,” is how Monica describes her serendipitous entry into the field. Initially aiming to distance herself from her Pennsylvania roots, she found herself drawn back to the construction world in Virginia. What started as an administrative role quickly transformed into a comprehensive career journey across different sectors of the industry. "My career can be summed up with a simple phrase. 'Sure! Why not?' Anytime someone asked if I wanted to learn a different part of the industry, that was always my thought process," she reflects.

This openness to new experiences propelled her through various roles, from marketing and equipment management to safety, where she found her calling. "Never in a million years would I have imagined being in the safety field, let alone owning a business in it, but I think it was more of safety found me," she shares. Her journey underscores the importance of embracing opportunities, a principle that has guided her to the helm of EnterTRAINING Solutions, where she focuses on making safety training engaging and relatable across key industries.


Describing her workday, Monica highlights the unpredictable nature of her role and the joy it brings. "My favorite thing is there is no typical day on the job for me! Every day and challenge is unique," she says. From hands-on training with boom lifts to the nuances of trench safety, she appreciates that her work is varied and impactful. The constant in her day-to-day life is the people she meets and assists. This human element of construction work matters the most to Monica. "The work we do in our industries is so incredibly special and unique... The skill and pride that goes into those end results is truly remarkable. I’m just lucky enough to get to interact with the people behind it all.”


Reflecting on the industry's safety culture, Monica notes considerable progress yet acknowledges ongoing challenges. "Safety as a whole has come so far... That doesn’t mean we are done. Not by any means," she points out. The inclusion of women in the workforce has prompted a reevaluation of safety gear and practices, traditionally designed with men in mind. "Just general work wear and PPE are a prime example of this... I need function and performance. I don’t need pink to call attention to the fact that I’m a girl, that’s already obvious." Monica said the emphasis must be on the need for practical solutions over aesthetic considerations.


The importance of personal connection and understanding goes beyond the job title. "Get to know your employees on a personal level... Everyone out there is a person with a life, passions, and family that are near and dear to them," she advises leaders. This approach fosters a caring and safe work environment, where employees feel valued not just for their labor but as individuals. 

She further encourages leaders to listen and learn from their teams, highlighting the wealth of creativity and problem-solving skills among workers. "Some of the smartest people you will ever meet are already working for you... Really spend time asking the hard questions and listening to the answers," she urges, advocating for a collaborative approach to safety and innovation.


Monica challenges the prevailing emphasis on formal education, pointing to the essential roles that tradespeople play in society. "A doctor cannot see patients if they have no building to bring them to, or power to run that building. Every job is a necessity," she stresses, advocating for recognition of skills and talents beyond academic achievements. Her perspective underscores the importance of practical experience and the diverse pathways to success in the construction industry.


Open about her struggles with work-life balance and mental health, Monica shares her strategies for managing these challenges. "Learning to share the burden, particularly during my busy time of season is crucial," she reveals, highlighting the importance of support networks. Her advice reflects a broader message of self-care and understanding of the cyclical nature of business and personal well-being.


Monica values the role of mentorship in her career, both as a recipient and provider. "I am not a mother (other than to a bunch of fur-babies!), but I’ve picked up the nickname of being the 'Job Mom' over the years. Honestly, it’s the biggest compliment,” she says, underlining the nurturing aspect of her leadership. She views mentorship as a two-way street, where support and guidance flow freely, fostering a culture of growth and mutual respect within the industry.

Through her "Inspiring Women" luncheon, Monica actively contributes to her community, celebrating and supporting women's achievements. "We are the product of the people along the way who believed in us and cheered us on. We are the lucky ones. It is our responsibility to give that chance to others," she states, advocating for women to support each other in professional spaces.


Monica acknowledges the challenges women face in construction but also highlights the unique advantages they bring. "There will always be disadvantages... but few that some creative thinking or just confidence cannot handle," she says, sharing her experience of overcoming stereotypes and resistance with determination and ingenuity. Her advice to women in the industry is to remain authentic and embrace their uniqueness. "Be authentic to yourself... Each one of us brings something unique to the field. Don’t be afraid to embrace what makes you unique," she encourages.


Optimistic about the industry's direction, Monica notes a positive shift towards inclusivity and acceptance of women. "I see less and less resistance and more and more of embracing the women as the next generation," she observes. She sees this trend as not just about increasing numbers but also about creating an environment where women feel supported and valued for their contributions.

To further this progress, Monica calls for practical support systems, such as flexible childcare options, to remove barriers for women entering the field. "Typical childcare centers have drop-offs starting at 7 am, which is sometimes an hour into the construction world’s workday," she points out, highlighting the need for the industry to adapt to the realities of its workforce.


Reflecting on her career, Monica shares the best advice she ever received: "Let’s Look It Up!" This approach fostered a sense of curiosity and self-reliance, encouraging her to seek answers and explore new ideas independently. For women starting in construction, her advice is simple yet profound: "Have fun!... Soak up all the knowledge you can and go do great things!"

As for the industry's future, Monica believes continuous improvement is key. "There is no solution, just constant improvement," she says, emphasizing the need for ongoing efforts to make construction more inclusive and welcoming for women.

Monica celebrates the diversity of women in construction, urging them to take pride in their work and unique contributions. "Remember women in construction come in all shapes and sizes, backgrounds, beliefs, etc.... Your work will be around for decades for others to enjoy."

5 Safety Tips

  1. A Culture of Safety First: Monica emphasizes the transformative journey of safety from a regulatory requirement to a core value within the construction industry. A proactive safety culture not only prevents accidents but also fosters a sense of mutual responsibility and care among team members.
  2. Inclusivity in Safety Practices: Recognizing the diverse workforce in construction, Monica advocates for safety solutions that cater to everyone, including women. This approach ensures that safety gear and practices are not one-size-fits-all but are thoughtfully designed to accommodate the needs of all workers.
  3. Engagement Through Education: By making safety training relatable and engaging, Monica believes in empowering workers with the knowledge and skills they need to protect themselves and their colleagues. Interactive and practical training sessions can significantly improve safety outcomes on the job site.
  4. Listening to the Frontline: Workers on the ground often have invaluable insights into the practicalities of safety in their daily tasks. Monica champions the idea of listening to these voices, believing that frontline workers can offer innovative solutions to safety challenges.
  5. Continuous Improvement: The pursuit of safety excellence is an ongoing journey. Monica's approach to safety in the construction industry is one of never-ending improvement, adapting to new challenges, and learning from both successes and setbacks.

Connect with Monica on LinkedIn here.

Stay tuned to the CONEXPO-CON/AGG 365 newsletter as we continue to share stories from women working in construction.

Photos courtesy of Monica Rakoczy

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