The woman who built Trump Tower

Joining us from New Jersey USA for the 2018 Inspire Summit, we are delighted to welcome Barbara Res!

Barbara Res found her way into Engineering in college. Although she had the highest Mathematics grades in her school and excelled at Science, she was steered into a career of teaching because she was a girl. Rebelling against convention, she picked engineering because of the challenge. She graduated as one of three women in a class of 800 and entered the world of construction which in 1972 was a "no woman's land", and she was literally barred from the work site, a move that prevented her from advancing in her job. She quit several positions because of discrimination. Finally, she took a chance on a part time position with a major construction company in New York. After holding several "men's jobs" in contracting, Barbara met Donald Trump, at the Grand Hyatt project he was developing. She impressed him and when he had a new ‘ground-up' project, he installed her as Executive in charge of construction in 1980.

The project was the world famous Trump Tower.

He is a lot more complicated than the cartoon character. The top people in his company were women, like Barbara Res.  For any company to hire a woman as chief of construction was actually startling. I don’t know of a single other developer who had a woman in that position. That’s why, in spite of the comments he makes now — and God knows why he says these things — when he was building his empire, the backbone was women.’ 

Architect, Alan Lapidus 

Ms. Res is now an expert on dealing with sexual harassment.  Always the only woman, whether in engineering school or on the site, she was discriminated against, harassed and intimidated.  Her positive attitude and perseverance enabled her to overcome the obstacles and achieve success in a field that is still mostly closed to women.  Ms. Res talks about her experiences in the times before the law protected women and how things have changed yet remained the same.  She inspires, informs and amuses with her stories of working with billionaires.  Ms. Res believes that work does not define the individual and that women can succeed in any field.

Her no-nonsense attitude and her ability to stand up to the men including Trump himself attracted his attention. At the time, Ms. Res was the first woman who had been assigned to oversee a major New York City construction site.  When Mr. Trump hired Ms. Res to oversee the construction of Trump Tower, he invited her to his apartment on Fifth Avenue and explained that he wanted her to be his “Donna Trump” on the project, she said. Few women had reached such stature in the industry. He said: “I know you’re a woman in a man’s world. And while men tend to be better than women, a good woman is better than 10 good men.”

Ms. Res went on to hold the position of Executive Vice-President of The Trump Organisation from 1980-1992.

More recently in the build up to the 2016 US Election, Ms. Res, who voted for Hilary Clinton, appeared in interviews on CBS, PBS, MSNBC, CNN, the BBC and Channel 4 and was quoted on the now President's treatment of women, stating she would 'certainly not' vote for Trump and opposed him because of his temperament and inexperience made him unsuitable for the presidency. She also opposed his agenda which she says was mutated for political expediency.   

She has written extensively about women in construction and her relationship with Donald Trump.  She has lectured  at NYU School of Continuing Education and the New School.  She is the recipient of CCNY’s Prestigious Townsend Harris Medal.  Barbara Res is the author of All Alone on the 68th Floor: How One Woman Changed the Face of Construction. 

Babara Res has worked in construction and development across the U.S. and in Europe for almost 40 years. She has held virtually every position in contracting and has been a development executive responsible for bringing projects from raw land through occupancy.

In addition to Trump Tower (pictured far left), her other acclaimed projects include the building by Hartz Mountain at 667 Madison (pictured near left), which bears her name on the cornerstone.

She has advocated before municipalities, legislative bodies, state and federal agencies and before the business and local community.Ms. Res is a licensed attorney and an effective mediator and arbitrator.  She talks about the interaction between developers and contractors, professionals, the government and the community with tips to enhance these relationships to maximise results.

Barbara will be speaking in the main auditorium and will also be taking questions from the audience.

If you'd like the opportunity to ask her a question on the day, please register for your place and email your question to entitling your email 'Question for Barbara Res'.