Women in Construction: Interview with Rebekah Morris

Rebekah Morris is publisher and president of the twice‐weekly Arizona Builder's Exchange (AZBEX) publication, which she launched in February 2010. She has since grown the service into a multi‐faceted resource for local commercial real estate and A/E/C firms to find leads on upcoming projects, industry news, trends, and market insights.

In 2015, AZBEX started producing events and now features four annual half‐day conferences and six breakfast panels known as the Leading Market Series.

In 2016, the AZBEX Database (or DATABEX) was launched. Both the events and database are engineered to bring opportunities to clients – whether it’s the contacts made at a half‐day conference or bi‐monthly breakfast program or the early stage notice of a project in the database, every service of AZBEX is focused on bringing opportunity to clients.

Rebekah’s background with a large general contractor enabled her to spot the opportunity to start AZBEX, but it is her grit, determination and eternal curiosity for the industry that has kept it going and growing each year.

In her spare time (what spare time?!?), Rebekah enjoys reading, cooking, hiking and playing with her three kids. It is her dream to travel more. Realistically, that’ll happen when the youngest turns 18.

Tell me a little bit about your current role and the career path that led to it.
Rebekah was working as a Project Engineer for a Top 5 national GC and was laid off in the Great Recession with two small children. When she moved to Arizona to be closer to family, she had an idea: if she was going to find a job, she needed to know who had the work here. She had always been a fan of a similar publication in Portland, but was unable to find a similar company in Arizona that focused on the construction industry.

She thought, ‘if I want to read something like this, maybe somebody else does too’. She knew enough about construction and thought if she was the reader, what would she want to know? What projects are out there, who is landing them and can somebody get work from this? S asked a lot of questions and kept asking myself: “Am I bringing them value?”

What recent project or accomplishment are you most proud of?
Watching my employees grow within my company and, if they leave us, it makes me feel so proud to see them go on to do bigger and better things.

What message do you have for other young women interested in following in your footsteps?
Get out of your own head! For me, I need to get out of my head and think, what is the best possible message? Can I be clear and concise? If someone is reading this, what do we need them to know? How can they get work out of this? I come up to bat twice a week, and always have the chance to knock it out of the park, and if for any reason, I do fall on my face, I’ll come up to bat again in a couple of days.

Why do you enjoy what you do? What would make it better?
I love coming up with new ways to convey information, diving in until I have figured it out. Make it better? Well, to be honest, at the end of the day, I’ve designed this life. I am very happy and proud of everything we do and we always try to slightly improve our best work.

Do you have a mentor and are you a mentor?
Unofficially I have mentors, there have been many people that I have reached out to over the years and that have reached out to me. It is not an “official mentor program” we meet for lunch or coffee and share information that is helpful to one another.

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