(Photography by the Business Journal’s Annette Semerdjian)

Stefanie Sandoval, construction inspector for the Port of Long Beach, had an interest in construction from an early age. As a teenager, she participated in construction classes offered by the nonprofit Women In Non Traditional Employment Roles. Through that program, she pursued a career in construction inspection and entered into an apprenticeship. Sandoval worked as a consultant before being hired as a construction inspector for the port in 2014. Currently enrolled at Long Beach City College, Sandoval plans to complete her bachelor’s degree to advance to a construction management role. In her current position, she oversees long-term projects and handles on-call matters that need immediate attention. For instance, she is leading the inspection of a 710 Freeway exit recently closed off due to a sinkhole and broken sewer line in order to find the cause of the breakage. She is also working with the Long Beach Water Department on a three-month project to upgrade the main Pier B water line. As a young woman, one of Sandoval’s challenges is being taken seriously in her field. “Everybody assumes it’s my first day out here when I’ve been doing it for eight plus years,” she said of prior experiences. Now, working at the port, Sandoval credits her team for creating a good work environment, “I like our teamwork here and our attitude. Everybody has each other’s back at the port,” she said. “I love my boss and all my co-workers. . . . It’s an ideal [work] situation.”