Vincencia Adusei is an open book — until she is asked her age.
She’s in her 30s, she reluctantly acknowledges. She has tried to avoid the question for years because, as a native of the West African nation of Ghana and as a woman running a construction company, the last thing she needs is another reason for people to doubt her.
“When I first started, not that everybody would say it out loud, but it was clear I faced stigma because of all of those things,” Adusei said. “When you show up, all eyes are on you at first. When a man shows up, it’s business as usual.”
At first, Adusei admits she was a bit self-conscious. It didn’t help that for years after she arrived as a teenager in New York City her accent was much more pronounced. “People kept asking me, ‘What? What?’” she said.
Then, when she started her consulting business, Vase Management, a decade ago, and later the Vase Construction division in Bridgeport, she found herself the only woman in most meetings. This often led to inappropriate comments about her looks or a woman’s place in construction.
The comments bothered Adusei, but she said she’s too busy to have time to worry about what others think about her.
“I don’t have the luxury of thinking of that,” she said, while sitting in her sparsely decorated office on a recent weekday.
On that particular day, she had visited a construction site in Bridgeport by 10 a.m. before changing into a black and white maxi dress, because jeans and boots may be necessary for a construction site but aren’t as fitting for a consulting gig. She would later change back into jeans before visiting a second work site in Milford.
A construction zone is where Adusei is most comfortable. The youngest of seven children, she was happiest growing up when her parents, who to this day own a construction company in Ghana specializing in road work, would let her sit in the company pickup truck’s bed and go out to a job.
Before starting Vase Management, Adusei, who obtained her business degrees from the University of Bridgeport, planned to stay out of the construction industry. Each of her siblings had also gone into construction in Ghana and she wanted to branch out away from the family business.
An assignment on entrepreneurship during her years at UB led her to legally establish her own company, which she named Vincencia Adusei Special Events, or VASE, due to her interest in event planning.
But she soon found that her passion was in renovation work and vertical construction. “I guess it’s in my blood,” she said.
Vincencia Adusei, president of Vase Construction, at a job site at 58 Harbor View Avenue Tuesda...
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