The Next Wave: April Ducott
In 2005, recent college-graduate April Ducott came to work on Cape Cod in the construction industry, having never visited this coastal peninsula. Today, Ducott calls herself a Cape Cod “lifer”, working as the Senior Project Manager at Cape Associates in Chatham for the past eight years. Prospering as a woman in a traditionally male-dominated industry, April Ducott graciously showcases her management skill and knowledge in her role. As a testament to her success, Ducott led the 2019 Habitat for Humanity Blitz Build on the Cape, constructing a new home in Brewster in just one week.
CCL: What drew you to the construction and building industry?
AD: When I was young, my family would buy investment houses, and I would go in after school [in Connecticut] to help demo. I decided to go to a technical high school for carpentry. I went on to Roger Williams University for architecture, but quickly realized that it wasn’t for me. A student peer asked me if I had heard of construction management, and I had no clue what it was. I gave it a shot and I loved it.
CCL: What do you think stands out about Cape Associates’ work?
AD: It’s a larger company, but with a small, family-oriented feel. The company has deep roots here and a big pool of resources that we can pull from. Some managers have been here for 40 years, so to be able to call on them is invaluable.
CCL: You recently led Habitat for Humanity’s latest Blitz Build. Tell me about the project and what it was like working in your leadership role.
AD: I have been part of the Homebuilders and Remodelers Association of Cape Cod (HBRACC) since I moved out to the Cape, and two years ago I joined the Board. Being in that position introduced me to so many organizations within HBRACC that they work with, like Habitat for Humanity. Peter Kimball, the current president, asked me if I wanted to be involved, of course I said yes. He asked me to run the project, which would be building a home in one week. It was a year-long planning process to ensure that one week would run as smoothly as it could. A lot of builders and vendors donated their time and materials. I coordinated crews and explained what they would be doing each day within a very tight schedule. This past September, we showed up to just a foundation, and by the end of the first day we had a roof and shingles. To watch, in five days, a foundation transform into homeowners getting their key to a completely finished home, it was really impressive.
CCL: What would you say was your key to success throughout the Blitz Build process?
AD: As much planning that you put into it, you can never predict how it will actually unfold. The key for the week was to stay calm and make decisions quickly, because things were literally changing by the half hour. There was a really great support system, too, so it was easy to ask for assistance for anything that popped up.
CCL: Do you have any goals for the future within your career?
AD: I would like to get more involved in the Cape Cod community and helping with some of the issues we face here, like the housing shortage, seasonality, and getting young people here and working in the trades. It can be hard for us to build houses because there is not a huge young succession, so I would love to be involved in helping young people to stay here. I have been a supporter of the Cape Cod Young Professionals organization and love the work they do, as well as other work force training initiatives here on the Cape.
CCL: What advice would you like to give fellow young professionals looking to succeed on the Cape?
AD: The networking aspect is huge. You have to get out there and meet other people and organizations that you are interested in and volunteer your time. You’re putting your time in, but you are also meeting all of these wonderful people and benefiting an organization. When I first started here, I had my head down and was focused on work, not realizing that there was this whole world around me with so many avenues to get involved in.