It would seem Edith Washington was destined to end up in the construction industry. Her grandfather was a carpenter, and she married a man whose father was a contractor. However, Washington, 55, had other career aspirations as she grew up in Toledo, Ohio.
"I was going to be an opera singer," Washington says. "I was so sure of it that I immersed myself in music in high school. My mother still teases me about it."
Washington, the current Construction Specifications Institute (CSI) president, even went to Philander Smith College, Little Rock, Ark., on a music scholarship in 1966. But she switched to the English department when she was offered an English scholarship in exchange for editing the yearbook.
As an English major, Washington initially was going to go into education because her family wanted her to be a teacher. But she didn't want to commit to education and instead took a variety of courses, including business law.