As the president and co-owner of Robinson General Contractors, Yvette Robinson has spent the last decade making her mark as both a successful business owner and trailblazer for women in construction.
Robinson’s journey in construction began through familial ties at a young age in Laredo, Texas, with Paisano Home Builders Inc.
“Construction has been something that I’ve always been a part of,” she said. “[My grandfather] was really known in the construction industry [in Laredo] and also my dad and my uncle, so the family business is kind of something that we all kind of pitched in.”
Although Robinson’s journey in construction began early in her life, it wasn’t always the priority or passion that it is for her today.
“I mean there was no time for other things. It was like this comes first and then you can go with your friends,” she said. “It was not something that I held dear to my heart in those days, but now I’m proud of it because this is who we are, and this is what we do.”
More recently, Robinson General Contractors found its start when Robinson and her future husband, Kurt D. Robinson, were only dating. She had experience in the residential industry while he had experience in the commercial side. The pair would visit construction sites together and were motivated to build something of their own.
“It really inspired me to say, ‘Hey, why can’t we build this,’” she said. “I didn’t have a job, so I thought we could do it, it wasn’t impossible.”
Robinson General Contractors was then established. Its birth would prove to be a much more difficult feat than Robinson anticipated.
“There’s a lot of blood, sweat, and tears that goes into creating a company that I didn’t realize my father and uncle faced when they started their company,” she said. “In my mind it was something easy and we’re going to get in there and start making money, and that was not the case.”
The Robinson team quickly learned important lessons about bonding and aligning credit and the fact that contracts were not going to immediately start coming in. A year and a half later, contracts started to come in.
“Right when you’re about to give up is when I got my first call, my first job,” she said. “I’m proud to say the job was in Dilley, Texas. Every time I go to Dilley, I think of my first job there.”
As president of a construction business, Robinson faces unique experiences as a female in a male-dominated field.
“You’re always going to go through little hurdles trying to have to prove yourself because you’re a woman,” she said.
Throughout her career, Robinson has encountered times when she had to prove herself but believes that everyone has a different background that uniquely contributes to their experience as a person.
“Everybody has a story to tell right and nothing comes easy in this world, you’re always going to have to evolve and grow,” she said.
Although Robinson sometimes finds herself being the only Latina in the room, she is proud of her work.
“I’m just proud being a female in this industry. We’re here and we’re pushing forward and we belong.”