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Women in Construction Week Spotlight: Temika Latilla

Women in Construction WeekTM begins March 3 as the National Association of Women in Construction (NASWIC) celebrates the accomplishments of women and the vital roles they play in the construction industry.  

Each year, Milrose Consultants recognizes Women in Construction Week by highlighting the careers of women we work with. This year, we are excited to bring you the inspiring story of Temika Latilla, Vice President of Operations and Team Lead at Project Expediters Consulting Company, A Milrose Company. 

Inspired by Her Father 

Passion, dedication and an “I can do it” attitude may be the winning trifecta for Temika’s success in the construction industry, but she said she wouldn’t be where she is today without the guidance and inspiration of her father. “My dad is an amazing man,” Temika said proudly. “At 16 years old, he came to this country, learned to speak English, joined the Merchant Marines and paid his way through college to become a successful mechanical engineer.” She fondly recalls the many “Take Your Daughter to Work” days and how she loved to see and learn everything about “how things worked.” “My dad instilled in me a strong work ethic that has laid the foundation for every aspect of my life.” 

Cooking Up a Career 

Over the years, Temika honed her skills as a DIY expert by tackling home projects—with input from her dad. But it was her love for food that first inspired her to pursue a career as a chef. “My original career path was to become a chef,” Temika said laughingly. “I love food but soon realized becoming a chef wasn’t where I was meant to be.”  

Facing Adversity 

The construction industry has long been considered a “male-dominated” sector. At the age of 19, Temika met this challenge when she wanted to apply for a “helper” position as a hands-on administrator in her father’s mechanical engineering firm. “At that time, the only woman who worked at the firm was the secretary,” she stated. “I wanted to change that. Even my father—who held the title of Chief Engineer at the company—couldn’t pull any strings to even get me an interview because it wasn’t ‘a place for a woman,’ as I was told.” Deflated, but not defeated, Temika went on to build a successful 10-year career in the beauty industry. “I moved forward with my life,” she explained. “I got married, started a family, and enjoyed my time in the beauty industry—but the passion to work in the construction industry was still burning inside of me.” 

Finding Project Expediters 

Now a stay-at-home mom with three children, Temika was ready to go back to work—but not in the beauty business. “I wanted more. I’ve always set goals and achieved them. It was time for me to live my dream.” Temika discovered an open administrator position at PECC and—despite having no experience in the field—decided to go for it. “I’ll never forget interviewing with Coral Silsbe, owner of PECC. She asked me what experience I had in construction, and I replied: ‘None, but I know I can figure out anything you throw at me.’ With persistence and determination, Temika overcame Coral’s questions as to why she should hire her. With a firm response, she said: “I can do this job if you give me a chance.” 

Seven years later, Temika has proven her “I can do it” attitude. Since starting at PECC as an administrator, she worked her way up the construction ladder to her current position as Vice President of Operations and Team Lead. “I’ve always been a very direct person,” she said. “Coral saw potential in me. She pushed me to work harder and made me work for it. I was in a ‘make it or break it’ path but she encouraged me to learn and do so much more.”  

Milrose Temika post

Encouraging Women to Join the Field

Although men still account for the majority of workers in the construction industry, Temika said she’s seen significant changes over the years. “Women are more accepted in the construction industry today than they were years ago,” she explained. “I believe it all started with a few strong women who stood their ground and didn’t take ‘no’ for an answer. By portraying more confidence in their abilities, they are proving to be less intimidated by their male peers and paving the way for a new generation of industry trailblazers.” 

Today, Temika continues to prove that women can do it all—and then some. Not only is she working full time and a single mother of three, but she is now in the final stretch of earning a Bachelor of Science degree in Business. “Finishing college has been a lifelong dream for me,” she said proudly. “My parents instilled the notion in me and my siblings that you must work hard for the things you want.” In typical Temika fashion, she set a goal to earn a four-year degree in three years. She said she is carrying an honors grade point average and is looking forward to pursuing further study. 

Promoting and Encouraging Women in Construction 

We would like to thank Temika and all of the women within the Milrose Consultants Family of Companies—Milrose Consultants, Permit Advisors, SF Codes, McCormick Compliance Consulting, Integrated Companies, Masterplan, JM Zoning, Project Expediters Consulting Company, and Strategic Partner Howard L. Zimmerman Architects & Engineers, D.P.C. (HLZAE)— for their outstanding contributions to the field of construction. Please join us in celebrating Women in Construction Week 2024 throughout the week of March 3-9 by following us on LinkedIn, Facebook, and Instagram.