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Bisnow Honors Bay Area Power Women Next Week

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A week from today, Bisnow will recognize 50 Bay Area Power Women who are leaders in the industry at a special morning reception. These women have shaped commercial real estate in the Bay Area and beyond, and we look forward to celebrating them.

Claudia Folzman, Co-Founder / COO, Iron Construction


Claudia Folzman was recruited into the construction industry after earning a degree in civil engineering from San Diego State University. While she had not considered a career in construction, she says she realized it provided a unique opportunity. For those starting in the industry, Claudia says to be prepared, learn the basics, and be willing to put in the time and hard work. "If you're willing to put in long hours, it can be incredibly rewarding," she tells us. "It has been for me." Her proudest moment was going from working for someone else to co-founding Iron Construction in 2001. In February, the firm announced its plans to return to San Jose after accepting an offer on its Sunnyvale HQ (which it purchased in 2012 and converted). Claudia says the biggest challenges in the industry today include keeping an adequate workforce and the volume of work. "Everyone is so busy with work and projects that not everyone is able to keep up and there's a lack of subcontractor coverage," she says. Outside of work she enjoys gardening, wine tasting and cheering on the San Jose Sharks during hockey season.

Sarah Zdarko, Corporate Senior Lean Manager, Pankow


While pursuing a degree in architectural engineering at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, Sarah Zdarko realized her major wasn't setting her up for the career she wanted. A walk across the breezeway and into the construction management department, however, introduced her to a career path that suited her love of creativity and problem-solving. After finishing her architectural engineering degree, she pursued construction management positions and made her way to Pankow. As Pankow's corporate senior Lean manager, Sarah says she has a chance to adapt a manufacturing-based management system to the construction industry. That is a challenge, but also one of the most rewarding parts of her job as she drives culture and behavior to support efficiency—something she says can help yield quality results in less time. This helps with employee retention, one of the industry's biggest challenges, by offering more work-life balance. Sarah's advice to others entering the industry is to follow your passion and make choices that are right for you. Her own passion outside of work encompasses travel and experiencing other cultures.