Connecticut Post

KNOCKING DOWN WALLS

WOMAN ACHIEVES SUCCESS BUILDING

By Marjorie J. Passeri

Staff Writer

 

 

Although gender barriers are all but gone in the work place, in some occupations – particularly those relating to construction – the walls remain.

 

But that doesn’t bother Monroe’s Ronit Glantz, 28, one of only a handful of female builders in the state, who has constructed more than 30 houses and supervised the development of two major subdivisions since her first project five years ago.

 

“Sometimes subcontractors who I haven’t worked with before don’t take me seriously at first,” said the petite young woman, standing 5 feet 1 in her work boots.  “But once they realize I know what I’m doing, we have a great relationship.”

 

Working for a woman was “odd at first,” said Hector Vargas, a siding contractor of Fairfield.  “But she’s very professional – probably one of the better contractors.”

 

Vargas was among dozens of subcontractors at the site of Glantz’ latest project – Riverview Condominiums, a 49-unit affordable housing complex on 16 acres in Newtown that she is developing with business partner Bryan Robik, also of Monroe.

 

Construction sites are familiar territory to this soft-spoken Joel Barlow High School graduate, who grew up in Easton.  The daughter of a general contractor, she spent many summers painting trim and puttying nail holes at her father’s jobs.

 

Leonard Glantz, president of Landmark Homes Inc. in Newtown, said he was surprised and proud his daughter decided to follow in his footsteps.  He gave her a start in the business in 1993 shortly after she graduated from Central Connecticut State University with a business degree.

 

Impressed by her ability to quickly learn the business, Glantz soon turned over the day-to-day operations to Ronit.  “It gives me great deal of pleasure to see her succeeding at something she really enjoys,” the senior builder said.  “To be able to pass down what I’ve learned in the business to my own daughter is a great feeling.”

 

By all accounts, the young Glantz is off to a good start in her construction career.

 

“She’s taking on a lot at a very young age. But she has learned well from her father, who also is a very good builder,” said Tom Paternoster, Newtown’s building official.

 

Seeing a future in the Newtown’s housing market, Glantz said about half the town is yet undeveloped.  She hopes to continue to build affordable housing, so people her age can own their own homes.

 

“I am amazed at how expensive things are,” she said, “It’s tough for people my age who get out of college and try to buy a house on income of $30,000 to $40,000,” she said. “I’d like to make owing a home more possible for these first-time buyers.”

 

Looking back on what she’s accomplished in the past five years, she added, “It’s a great feeling to drive by a house I’ve built and see a family living there.”