At Rino, we approach construction with a hunger to learn and a passion for overcoming every problem we encounter. We don’t discriminate based on gender. If you fit in at Rino and have what it takes to get the work done, we want you to be a part of our team.

Our women don’t just embody the traits of hunger, passion, grit, and determination — without their work, we wouldn’t be where we are today. For women in construction week, we’re proud to introduce you to some of the key players keeping Rino in business. They also just so happen to be women.

Annie Tooley, Human Resources

It takes courage to start over in a new industry, but that’s just what makes Annie Tooley good at her job. She worked in the medical field and got burned out on the anonymity that can be unavoidable in corporate culture. When Annie heard Rino was looking for help, she leaped at the chance to come on board.  “I’m so grateful to be here,” she says. “I came in green, with no experience whatsoever, and that didn’t seem to cause any issues for [Jason].” 

Over time, Annie’s proven that Jason’s bet on her was an excellent one. Her hunger to learn propelled her from a novice to someone that everyone at Rino ultimately depends on. She loves being there for people, completing payroll, and growing the HR and safety programs. Even more so, she finds Rino refreshing because she can be herself. “We’re very professional,” Annie says, “and we love the work. But it’s nice not to have to filter yourself every time you walk through the door.”

Her advice for women who might be interested in construction? “Don’t be afraid! You don’t have to fit a certain mold.”

Nikki Penland, Project Engineer

Nikki grew up in construction in Alaska and credits that experience for her confidence in being able to give and take in an industry historically dominated by men. When she finds herself in a new situation, she knows there’s a certain period of proving herself. “I give people the respect they deserve,” she says. “And I let them know that I expect the same. I have no problem putting my foot down. I am very kind but not as sensitive as some people may be.”

For us at Rino, Nikki’s strength and commitment to growth are invaluable assets to our team. We can count on her to get her work done in a way that makes us proud.

Nikki’s thoughts for women who are considering the trades? “If it’s something you are interested in, make sure that you don’t give up. It’s a hard world to get into, and you have to show that you have what it takes.” 

Gretchen Smith, Traffic Control Supervisor

If you’ve driven down Canyon Road in the last few months, you’ve probably driven by Gretchen. She’s out there directing the flow of traffic so our crews can safely put in sidewalks — over two miles and counting.

Gretchen was no stranger to hard work, having grown up on a farm in nearby Enumclaw. When it came to her career choice, she chose construction because it gives her the chance to combine so many things that she likes — being outside, working as a team, and variation, just to name a few. 

TCS is not a job everyone wants to do, but Gretchen is good at it. She takes on the responsibility on good days and bad, and her willingness to step up to the plate defines the Rino spirit. She’s got the positive attitude, reliability, and work ethic to go far, and we’re so grateful that she’s found her home at Rino.

Gretchen’s words of wisdom for those thinking of a career in construction? “If you see something and you want it, go for it. Whatever your goals are, go for it.”

These stories are just a snapshot of a few of the ladies that make Rino what it is. Without them, we wouldn’t be where we are today. We hope that the next generation of women will take on the challenge of construction with the ingenuity and drive that Annie, Nikki, Gretchen, and all of our Rino women show. 

Here’s to [more!] women in construction!

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