Marshanda Ferrell Has Found Her Niche in the Traffic Control Business

Watch as Marshanda Ferrell talks about her work at ABC Traffic Solutions, her award as a Construction Ready Graduate of the Year, and the impact Construction Ready training has had on her life.

When Marshanda Ferrell received a Construction Ready Graduate of the Year Award – part of CEFGA’s Craft Pro Champion Awards program – in July 2021, she took the opportunity to let the audience know her company was hiring.

As the admin and hiring manager for Doraville-based ABC Traffic Solutions, Marshanda recognized a networking opportunity when she saw it. She’s come a long way since graduating from Construction Ready in 2017 and joining RoadSafe Traffic Systems in Conyers as a flagger. She eventually took on an administrative role there, then followed her boss, Allan Minnig, after he launched ABC with a business partner two years later.

Now Marshanda is always on the lookout for new hires, including the Construction Ready graduates she regularly recruits as they complete the same training that helped turn her life and career around. Her original story is at the bottom of this page; following the Craft Pro Awards ceremony, she shared some additional thoughts and updates, which are presented here:

Marshanda, pictured with CEFGA President and CEO Scott Shelar, received the Construction Ready Graduate of the Year Award at CEFGA’s Craft Pro Champion Awards ceremony on July 28, 2021.

What was your life like before you went through Construction Ready?
My life was up in the air. I didn’t know which way to go. … I was going from this temp job to that temp job to another temp job, just trying to figure something out. Going to school was [out of] the question at the time.

How did Construction Ready help you?
The program helped me a lot by showing me what it takes to keep a job. The fundamentals of having that job, the basics, giving me the [credentials] that I needed to obtain a job … the discipline, it taught me responsibility. It was wonderful.

How did you end up in your current position with ABC Traffic Solutions?
When Allan decided to start his own company, he wanted to take me with him then, but I was six months pregnant. I wanted to keep doing office work, but he had to get the business going before there would be enough office work for me to do. So he said, ‘Just stay here, have your baby, then come to work for us. After I had my baby, I stayed with RoadSafe probably another six months, then I went to ABC.

What do you enjoy about your work at ABC?
I enjoy helping the company grow and move forward. I already knew how to run the front office, I knew the traffic control business, so I just jumped right in when I started there. I like ABC because it gives me an opportunity to be creative in my own way.

How does it feel to be named a Construction Ready Graduate of the Year?
It is amazing. I was very surprised at the email that said I was being presented with this award. I was like, ‘Really, me?’ I like going back and getting new hires [from Construction Ready], so that was the accomplishment for me, and this is just icing on the cake. But I’m really happy. I’m surprised I didn’t cry up there.

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Original Story

Marshanda Ferrell’s Career Path Took a Significant Turn for the Better
with the Help of Construction Ready

The stretch of I-20 between Westside Atlanta and Conyers spans less than 30 miles. But for Marshanda Ferrell, it represents the path to a whole new life.

Marshanda, a graduate of Construction Ready at Westside Works Class 19, is an administrator at the Conyers branch of Road Safe Traffic Systems, one of the nation’s largest providers of traffic control and pavement marking services.

She had bounced around in low-paying jobs and been laid off from a temp service in late 2016 when she began to consider the Construction Ready Program at Westside Works. She knew about it from a brother who went through it, and though she was hesitant about a construction career, she had two young sons to care for and needed to do something soon.

She graduated in February 2017 and was hired by Road Safe as a flagger. Within five months, she had been promoted to her current position, in which her front-desk duties include billing, material sales and welcoming visitors.

“The Construction Ready Program at Westside Works gave me a second chance and a new career,” Marshanda says. “It’s like a whole new lifestyle, a complete lifestyle change,” she continues. “I never imagined being in this position. I imagined things being a little better, but it just seems like I’ve been blessed.”

She’s certainly paid her dues, especially in the initial months after her hiring. She didn’t have a car, but two of her supervisors graciously provided transportation. She also had to juggle daycare for her youngest son with the need to be on job sites at early hours.

“It was a challenge,” she recalls. “Working in the construction field is a totally different atmosphere. At first I was timid about it. I wasn’t used to being outside in the cold or the heat. I felt like I had to make myself tough, like one of the men.”

Road control meant going wherever the company sent her, from the heights of Lookout Mountain in northwest Georgia to the dusty farmland of the state’s southeast region.“There are so many experiences I never would have gotten without this job,” she says. “I remember going to Dublin, how hot it was there, and the long hours, and the bond that formed between the employees doing that kind of work. You learn each other because you’re just there in the middle of nowhere.”

Within two months, Marshanda secured a car of her own. Branch supervisor Allan Minnig promoted her after recognizing her hard work and potential. “She picked things up really well and become very knowledgeable about the job,” he says. And she was able to relocate to Monroe, which both shortened her commute and provide a change of environment for her children.

“I was at a standstill before,” she remembers. “Dead-end job, making a little over minimum wage, still on food stamps, struggling to take care of myself and my children. … They had been struggling in school, especially my oldest son. There was some bullying and his grades were slipping, but now that we’ve moved, he’s picked up his grades and seems to have adjusted well.”

As with some of the job sites she’s worked, the road to Marshanda’s new career has been winding and sometimes bumpy. She’s happy she took the chance on pursuing it.

“The Construction Ready Program at Westside Works helped me by giving me the skills and the credentials to get back to work,” she says. “The teachers, the staff, the counselors, they were all great. I really enjoyed going to class. They made you want to be there and have the determination to finish and make them proud.”

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