By Jennifer Farnsworth
It might be that Yvonne Manso has the ability to ensure confidence in her customers when it comes to the quality of the product, because quite simply Manso believes in herself.
As a sales director for D.A. Collins, Manso has spent the past 14 years earning a solid reputation in a historically male dominated industry. Her work ethic and spirit brought her to the forefront of the construction materials industry.
She is originally from Michigan. After high school, Manso served two years in the military and four years in the reserves. She later moved to Las Vegas, working in the hotel industry for 14 years. After meeting her husband, a native of Saratoga County, she found herself moving to the area and in need of a job. She landed a position at D.A. Collins as a sales coordinator.
“The hotel industry is so different and I had no experience in the construction field, but I was lucky enough to find a company that trusted I could learn the business. And I did,” said Manso.
When she first began, she could sometimes sense apprehension when contractors would see a woman show up on a job site. She said she did not let that deter her. In fact, she said it motivated her to learn the ins and outs of the business. Now when she shows up, contractors know they are dealing with a seasoned pro.
“It has gotten so much better over the years, but I really had to prove myself, which I wanted to do. I wanted to learn all that I could so that I would feel confident in what I was doing. I knew I had to spend time at the plants and really work hard to gain enough experience to have the confidence I needed. Now people know I know what I am talking about and that I’m not messing around,” said Manso.
She said part of the process centered around being able to help determine what is best for each individual project. Manso said she can talk concrete, stone and asphalt with anyone.
“I never thought this area would become my speciality, but I honestly love it,” said Manso.
The coronavirus pandemic, said Manso, made her reflect on just how important her sector of the job market is. While many industries were forced to scale back and shut down, hers did not because they were considered essential.
“We just kept on working. Some were able to work from home, like accounting, but many were still out working. I realized just how important our work is,” said Manso.
She said that she would like to see her line of work be something that high school students think about.
“Maybe you don’t necessarily want to go into a trade, but we need not only carpenters, but engineers and project managers. People who work in the lab. Someone to deliver the product. There are so many good jobs in this field,” said Manso.
Manso credits her success to a mentor she had during her time in Las Vegas. She strongly recommends younger people who are starting out, or looking to make a career change, to find a mentor.
“Find someone who can help you grow and connect with people. When you take a job, try to have a mentor. They can help guide you. That goes for any area of business,” said Manso.