Building Partnerships While Building Communities 

by Meredith Kay 

DT1 4670

It’s rare to find a woman in a position of power on a construction site. Commercial construction is still a predominantly male-led industry, but two local companies, H-E-B and Joeris General Contractors, are changing the faces of the game and issuing hard hats to strong, capable, and incredibly intelligent women leaders. 

HEB is currently building one of its largest and most technologically advanced stores yet in Cibolo, and the entire leadership team is comprised of dynamic engineers and project managers that are also beautiful, family-focused, and fearless females.  

Kathy Strimple 

H.E.B. Senior Due Diligence Manager 

Kathy was one of the first female civil engineers to graduate from U.T. Austin in 1983 and one of the first women to embrace a leadership role within the H-E-B construction department. She has been with the company for 22 years and has had the opportunity to build her career working in different departments within the organization as the company has grown. She is currently a key member of the Real Estate Team, collaborating with the Land Acquisition Team, identifying and selecting location sites for new or expanding stores. She says, “I help H-E-B decide if we can build on a particular site, what we have the capability to build, and how difficult the building project might be.” Her job encompasses the preliminary engineering that begins with site selection and carries through to community outreach working with city leaders. Once ground is broken on the project, it is Kathy’s job to support the construction team and to make sure that “all of the promises made by H-E-B are kept to the community.” 

Patricia Molina 

H-E-B Facility Designer 

Earning both her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in Architecture from UTSA, Patricia Molina has helped to design multiple H-E-B stores throughout different phases of construction for six years now. She loves the flexibility and creative freedom that working with H-E-B has given her to truly see her visions come to life. She works closely with the other architects, designers, and engineers to create unique stores that fit the needs of the communities in which these stores will serve. Patricia says that her favorite part of working with the company is that, “It is so rewarding to watch something you helped to design become an integral part of a community.” 

Becca Wang 

H-E-B Senior Engineer 

Becca Wang grew up in Austin, graduated from high school in Singapore, and received her environmental engineering degree from Georgia Tech. She returned to Texas after college to work for a private engineering consulting company that worked with H-E-B, but for the past four years, she has become one of H-E-B’s leading engineers. Once the design phase is completed and approved, Becca’s team puts together the construction documents that include required permits from local and state organizations and then becomes the liaison between the H-E-B construction team and Joeris, the general contractor. She views civil engineering as a “puzzle” and says, “I love taking all of the separate pieces of a project and collaboratively putting them together to create a community store where there was once only a grass field.” She considers each project that she completes one of “her stores” and whole-heartedly embraces the corporate slogan of “This is my H-E-B”  

Cassandra Cantu 

H-E-B Construction Project Leader 

There were only two female students in her graduating class when Cassandra Cantu received her second bachelor’s degree in construction science from Texas State University in 2017. She earned her first degree in architecture from UTSA, and she found H-E-B at a career fair after college. She has been traveling around Texas managing multiple projects for the past five years, and she currently has four projects under construction. It is her job to coordinate information and communicate project status between her H-E-B construction teams and the contractors. She says, “H-E-B really has construction down to a science. There is a recipe for our success, and my job is never boring. There is always something new to learn, and new problems arise all the time that require me to find a solution. It’s a very analytical way to be creative.” 

Lori Ellerson 

Joeris Project Manager 

Born and raised in San Antonio, Lori Ellerson received her degree in construction science from Texas A&M. She has worked with Joeris for five years now, and when she is assigned to a project, it is her responsibility to set the construction schedules and oversee every aspect of that project from groundbreaking to grand opening. She says that she loves working with her colleagues, on-site trades teams, and the H-E-B construction team to solve problems and often find new ways to get something done that hasn’t been done before. She says, “This is a job that I am proud of. I believe in the positive impact that H-E-B can have on a community, and it feels so satisfying to be a part of that.” 

Lauren Gibson 

Joeris Project Executive 

Lauren was born in Calgary and received her degree in civil engineering from Queen’s University in Ottawa. She has called Texas home now for 10 years and has been with Joeris for the past six years. Lauren oversees multiple projects and supports the teams on those projects from the design review through to final completion. It is her job is to stay focused on the “big picture” of the project, helping project managers execute the resources necessary to stay on schedule and within budget. She makes sure that the right people on both sides of the construction table stay informed, and she has become the “H-E-B Guru” for Joeris, leading successful projects across the state. She says, “It’s exciting when I’m not the only woman at the table in a construction meeting, but at every single meeting, there is always a knowledgeable woman there, and that’s something I’m proud of.” 

For additional information: 

Crystal Royal 

Supplier Diversity Manager 


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