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Tuesday, March 7, 2023

WIC Week Spotlight: Jasmira Durakovic

In Jasmira’s own words (in a heavy Bosnian accent), “I know my story is a long one but I promise it’s interesting, so grab your snacks and get comfy.”

Finding success as a woman in electrical construction job

March 7, 2023 - This week, as a part of Women in Construction Week, we are highlighting women as a viable component of the construction industry.  WIC Week also provides an occasion to raise awareness of the opportunities available for women in the construction industry and to emphasize the growing role of women in the industry.

Years in Industry: 17
Years at Hunt: 3

Jasmira came to the US as a 20 year old after the war in Bosnia.  She was young, married, had a baby, and was trying to learn English from tv shows.  After a short stint in New York, her and her husband moved to Iowa for an opportunity to work at a meat production company.   She hated it and asked herself every day “is this the American Dream everyone is talking about?”

Fast forward through another 2 jobs (plus a promotion!), 3 years, and a move to Minnesota, and another baby - Jasmira still not fulfilled in how she made money to care for her family.  She loved art, painting, and drawing but didn’t think she could make a career out of it so her mind went to architecture.  She enrolled at Hennepin Technical College for Architecture as well as some English classes.  Wanting to finish as soon as possible, she worked 30-35 hours per week while finishing 99 college credits in 2 years with a 4.0 GPA.  Plus the two kids!

She received two job offers and ultimately accepted one at a structural firm.  After 3 years, the recession of 2008 hit and she lost her job.  She was passed up on several interviews for candidates with more experience.  Discouraged, Jasmira started working other jobs to make ends meet (interpreter, photographer, bank assistant, and even as a realtor!).  She kept her skills up to date by drawing houses for friends and family.  After 6 years, she got a call from an electrical engineering firm with a designer position open.  Electrical had never crossed her mind and she was up for the challenge!

Finding Success in Electrical Construction

Ultimately, Jasmira fell in love with creating one-lines and risers.  She sees it as creating something out of nothing and finds it satisfying.  Today, as a Virtual Design and Construction Designer, Jasmira’s job IS art.  She connects all the dots for someone who is in the background and it’s different every time.  She says she learns something new every day, doesn’t have time to be bored, and loves the different challenges that each project brings.

“You can never say that you know everything and keeping yourself educated at the highest level is so rewarding.” – Jasmira Durakovic