Construction is a driving force in the Tahoe economy with 17% percent of the local
population working at construction-based businesses. And yet, women are
underrepresented in the field. Enter trailblazer Joan Jones.
Joan Jones was born and raised in Truckee. She attended primary school through High
School in Truckee and then attended UC Davis and California State University,
Sacramento where she completed her studies of Business Administration. Joan
returned to Truckee and worked for Northstar at Tahoe from 1984-1997 as Director of
Food and Beverage. In 1997 she became General Manager of GarWoods Grill and Pier.
During her years in the restaurant industry, she found herself involved in multiple
remodel projects and realized she loved construction. Recognizing that the restaurant
industry was hard on family life, she decided to pursue a job in construction. Jones’
reputation preceded her: Just three days after quitting her current job, she got a call
from John Corda, a contractor who owned Corda Construction, offering her a job.
She began with the company as an office manager in 1998, worked her way up into
estimating, then project management, and eventually acquired her contractor’s license
in 2012 and became a partner in the company.
In 2016, when John passed, she took the role of President and sole owner of Jones
Corda Construction. “I thought you had to wield a hammer to become a contractor,”
Jones said. “What I found is, it’s just as hard to run a construction company as it is to do
the physical work.”
Corda says she especially enjoys the problem solving aspect of the job. She is tasked
with taking a client’s idea or drawing and making it a reality, which she describes as a
complicated process. Jones said that she has actually been surprised by how accepting
people have been of a female contractor. She said that her presence tends to bring
“civility” to the worksite, which can tend to be a “blustery” environment. Jones believes
women bring a unique perspective to problem solving and has seen female clients often
appreciate having a woman to speak with during the building process.
“I hope that more women will join the construction field, and realize that there are lots of
different roles,” Jones said. “It’s not just how much you can carry … you can be a smart
person, and one doesn’t disqualify the other.”
Joan Jones is married to Russ and has one daughter, Katy, who together run the other
family business, Truckee River Winery. She is very active in the community and was on
the Truckee Town Council from 2008-2016, serving as Mayor twice. She is truly a
pioneer and the Truckee community has benefited greatly from her contributions on all
“Women In Construction”, Alexandra Spychalsky. Moonshine Ink, June 2017.