Pull! Empowering Women Beyond the Barrel
Director of Business Development at Contour Engineering & Founder/President of Shotgun Sisters
Tara stands out in the AEC realm with her rich experience in geotechnical and environmental sectors. She's transformed prospects into strategic accounts across diverse sectors, from healthcare to commercial markets. Her leadership prowess earned her a spot on the 2022 Georgia Titan 100 list, which recognizes the region's top business trailblazers. Beyond her professional accolades, Tara also founded Shotgun Sisters—an innovative all-women's networking group that teaches women clay shooting to enable them to feel confident in building relationships with clients.
Tara Lane didn’t always have her eyes set on the construction world. During her time at university, she had another career path in mind—broadcast journalism. It was a chance opportunity and a recommendation from a friend that landed her in the construction industry, where she has not only thrived but made a significant impact.
“I think that sometimes things are meant to be. And for whatever reason, the good Lord did not intend for me to go into news broadcasting.”
Tara is now an accomplished business development leader in the geotechnical engineering space and is known for her outstanding work in founding the all-women’s networking group—the Shotgun Sisters. Join us as she shares her fascinating career journey and how Shotgun Sisters is breaking barriers and empowering women in construction.
from hard hats to strategy maps
A job at Acton Mobile (now “WillScot”) became Tara’s first introduction to the construction industry, where she supplied job site trailers for commercial projects. The vivid memories of her navigating commercial job sites while donning oversized safety vests became symbolic of the broader struggles and eventual evolution of women’s role in the construction arena.
“I spent literally every day on site in my hard hat, my steel toe boots and yellow safety vests, which at the time were way too big for me.”
Not one to be confined to a single role, Tara’s tenacity and ambition propelled her into the domain of geotechnical engineering at Contour Engineering. This space, often unseen by the general public, is pivotal in the development of any major infrastructure.
The meticulous process of any project they undertake begins with tasks like environmental due diligence to evaluate the soil’s state, which encompasses phase one and two brownfield assessments. The results often have profound implications, with potential to influence foundation decisions and instigate design alterations.
Networking with a Bang
A pivotal moment in Tara’s career came when she received an invitation to a clay shooting event by one of her male peers, which she accepted. This not only unveiled her talent, but also led to the formation of this all-women’s networking group in 2015. Tara took up the sport competitively—participating in various clay shoots where she built up her industry contacts and relationships. That’s when other women started to take notice.
“A few women in the industry said, ‘I wanna do that’. So I went out, taught them how to shoot. Afterwards, we started sharing some project leads and I said we should do this every month.”
Tara designed a unique training program for members—ensuring a safe and supportive environment for women by stressing the importance of gun fit, ammo, proper stance, and padding. Her approach aims to provide the best experience, especially for those who may have had less favorable encounters before and underlines the emphasis of fun over competitiveness.
Today, Shotgun Sisters has grown into a thriving network of over 400 members in several chapters (with more on the way). Aside from their monthly clay shoots, the group has transformed into a beacon of empowerment, mentorship, and equality for women in construction.
a future built on a.i.
Harking back to the times when MapQuest printouts guided our journeys, Tara reminisced about the humble beginnings of technology. But today she thinks the industry stands on the brink of a technological renaissance spearheaded by artificial intelligence after seeing its influence in everything from construction designs to predictive analytics for the lifecycles of building materials.
“I think A.I. is literally going to revolutionize all sectors.”
But with great power comes great responsibility. As drones once prompted a reevaluation of aerospace laws, the increasing role of A.I. requires a reexamination of ethics and regulations as well. However, she was optimistic of the future—believing that no matter how advanced, machines can’t replace the human touch in relationship-building.
Product Marketing, Assignar
Although Erin was new to the construction industry when she first started at Assignar in 2022, she’s no stranger to interviews. Erin has spent years chatting with entrepreneurs, managers, and even pilots to write stories for various publications in her own business. Today, she helps ensure a successful launch for our feature releases, creates product tours, and gets in front of the camera whenever she can.