Build California Ambassador Spotlight: Joyce Lewis

Since launch in Q4 2019, Build California has engaged with over 58,100 students through career fairs, student presentations, and industry activations to educate students on career opportunities in construction. We would not have been able to achieve this without the help of our amazing Ambassadors.

Build California Ambassadors are industry professionals who are passionate about educating and supporting the next generation of California’s construction workforce. By sharing their own construction career journey, they help to inspire students and make it possible for Build California to be in many places at once.

Joyce Lewis, Civil Engineering Graduate Student at San Jose State University, has been an Ambassador since November 2023 and in that time has attended 4 different career fairs, classroom presentations, and other events in the Bay Area region. Recently, we asked Joyce a few questions about her experience in the industry and as a Build California Ambassador. Check out what she had to say below!



Build California: What is your unique construction story, and how do you think it will help inspire students to join the industry?


As a young girl growing up in Rivers State, Nigeria, I was captivated by the towering buildings and bustling construction sites that dotted the capital (Port Harcourt) city’s landscape. My love for construction began as a simple fascination with buildings and roads, sparked by the “magic” of seeing structures take shape before my eyes. My father, an Instrumentation Technician, recognized this passion early on and encouraged it with thoughtful construction toys and insightful site visits.

But it wasn’t until a crisis struck our community in the form of devastating floods that my perspective on construction shifted. Witnessing the impact of natural disasters first-hand fueled my commitment to sustainable construction practices. I realized that construction wasn’t just about erecting buildings; it was about creating resilient communities and leaving a positive mark on the world. This pivotal moment led me to pursue civil engineering, blending my passion for construction with a drive for positive change. Throughout my studies and career, I’ve been drawn to projects that prioritize sustainability and community development. From overseeing residential apartments to quality control inspections on major projects, I’ve dedicated myself to making a difference in the construction industry.

Before relocating to the United States, I was actively involved with the private sector and professional associations in Nigeria to address critical construction issues. I worked as a consultant project manager for Faultless Finish Limited, overseeing the construction of a 37-unit residential apartment for a renowned real estate company. Additionally, I worked as a quality control inspector for the Saipem Egina Jetty Project in Port Harcourt, Rivers State under Trevi Foundations Limited and other similar projects.

Despite the many hurdles I have faced in life, I have maintained a strong and committed resilience towards achieving my goals and impacting lives positively. If I could pull through the challenges of life and not give up on my dreams, anyone could pull through as well.

Build California: Why are you passionate about supporting the next generation of construction workers?

Lewis: I am passionate about supporting the next generation of construction workers because I believe in the importance of mentorship and community building. For the past ten years, I have volunteered for various programs aimed at positively impacting lives and making the construction industry sustainable. Through my involvement in civil engineering and construction professional associations in both Nigeria and the US, I have gained a wealth of experience that I believe should be shared with others.

In my spare time, I enjoy volunteering and have contributed to the renovation of three homes with Rebuilding Together Silicon Valley. I have also served as a judge for the Society of Women Engineers’ Emerging Global Leader Award and participated in many other volunteer activities.

Build California: What is your favorite part about being a Build California Ambassador?

Lewis: As a Build California Ambassador, my favorite part is being a part of a network of exemplary construction leaders who are making an impact on their communities and inspiring young construction enthusiasts. During activation events, I get to inspire students and young enthusiasts about the construction industry and the resources available to them. It’s a fulfilling activity, and I feel honored to be part of a network of people who share my passion for community impact and mentorship. The opportunity to inspire young people who will enhance the United States construction landscape brings me immense joy.


Build California: Why do you think others should become Ambassadors?

Lewis: I understand that many construction professionals have pretty busy schedules, but I strongly believe that everyone can spare some time to mentor the next generation of construction leaders. If we are not deliberate about enhancing our industry, it will be difficult to find and develop quality industry leaders to take over from us in the future. Therefore, I encourage my fellow construction professionals to consider becoming Ambassadors. By working together, we can inspire and guide young people, ensuring a bright future for the construction industry in California and the United States at large. Every action we take, no matter how small, contributes to sustaining and advancing our field. Let’s build a better tomorrow, one story and one mentorship opportunity at a time. Lastly, always remember that being an Ambassador isn’t just about promoting the industry; it’s about sparking passion and fostering a new generation of construction leaders.


Interested in becoming a Build California Ambassador? Get more information about the program on our website and take the first step towards becoming an Ambassador by completing our on-demand training! Contact Abigail Palomares at PalomaresA@agc-ca.org with any questions.



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