NAPLES, FL (May 5, 2020) – Gulfshore Homes, a luxury home builder whose tagline “Exceptional Homes Without Exception,” is making an exception in a field once dominated by men by assembling an all-female team to manage the day-to-day coordination of its custom home build and renovation projects. Unique in the construction industry, five talented women are at the helm of the award-winning builder’s project management teams to ensure client visions become realities.



“Our goal is to go beyond the expected and provide true concierge-level customer care,” said Steve Watt, President of Gulfshore Homes. Watt’s leadership over the last 25 years has expanded the company’s market presence as a preferred luxury home builder in Southwest Florida. “There are many builder choices in the area, and assembling the best tradesmen is only part of the equation. Our project management professionals have to be just as talented with an added level of exceptional customer service. This combination raises the bar to reflect our expectations.”


According to Gulfshore Homes’ Vice President Matthew Schull, the transition happened naturally at first. “We started to see more women apply for project management openings and they were undeniably highly qualified with personalities to match, and characteristics that we felt would enhance our customer experience. It wasn’t intentional, but it works very well for us.”


When a custom home build or renovation contract is signed at Gulfshore Homes, it’s the project manager that keeps all the moving pieces in motion. The Gulfshore Homes all-female project management team includes Joanne Aprile, Michelle Duquette, Melissa Martin, Crystal Schull and Sharon Warford. Based on projections, the company is poised to grow and will hire new team members as needed. Watt says gender is not a condition for employment.


“I think women tend to put more value on staying organized and are also better at multitasking,” said Gulfshore Homes Project Manager Michelle Duquette, who started her journey in the construction industry as a receptionist for a land developer 28 years ago. With a bachelor’s degree in Business and Marketing, she is also proficient in graphic design, CAD, and project cost estimating software.


“The web-based project management system is one of my favorite tools,” said Gulfshore Homes Project Manager Crystal Schull, who is also the firm’s youngest employee. “Face-to-face meetings are important, especially at the beginning of a project, but using technology is also absolutely essential these days because many of our clients travel frequently or are at their northern residence part of the year. The client side of the system is an easy way for us to stay connected.”


Using the latest internet safety protocols along with a dedicated login and password, an online project management system and client portal allows Gulfshore Homes project managers to save time and stay better organized. The web-based tool is a great asset for clients as they can log in at any hour and monitor construction progress including photos, and files related to permitting and inspection status. Plus, provides links and concepts from the interior designer and build team that can be reviewed and approved digitally by the client.


“When I started my career in construction, women needed to be mentally tough and have thick skin,” said Duquette, whose father was a general contractor and architect. “Even though more women are working in this field today, I still think they have to give 150 percent to earn respect and be taken seriously by their male peers in the construction field.”


Joanne Aprile, a project manager who is currently coordinating nine home renovation projects for Gulfshore Homes said, “Being able to multitask is important on a day-today basis; but I think follow through is even more critical. My job is to assist all the other team members in getting to the goal. That means putting ego aside and adapting my approach to fit many personalities.”


Project managers must juggle multiple roles at the same time for multiple customers. “One minute you are a designer, next you’re are an estimator, plan reviewer, permit chaser, purchaser, budget keeper, scheduler, and sometimes a therapist,” said Duquette.


Melissa Martin, whose 19-year background in construction finance helps her manage a project so client budgets stay aligned with their expectations said, “Dealing with ‘issues’ is part of the job.” Her approach is quick and effective: “See an issue, head it off, find a solution, and correct it.”


Aprile has managed both commercial and residential renovations projects during her 25 years in the industry. “My job is to anticipate the next step and get everything in order so we stay on schedule and the client stays happy.”


Crystal Schull admits her perception of the industry being dominated by only men changed once she started working at Gulfshore Homes in 2019. “I was worried at first because I thought I would be one of just a few women in the construction industry. But that wasn’t the case! There are women involved in all aspects of the industry and our presence is growing.”


Every member of the Gulfshore Homes all-female project management team has a different work style, schedule, and background, but as Schull points out, they also work well together as a unit and collaborate often. “Working in the construction industry is not for the faint hearted because there’s going to be an unfamiliar challenge to face every day. Having other women around creates better balance as they are helping to soften the edges of the construction industry and make these challenges less common.”


Established in 1993, Bonita Springs-based Gulfshore Homes specializes in tailor-made residential designs with upscale lifestyle features that make each home uniquely distinct. It’s roster of exemplary crafted luxury homes are found in the area’s most coveted neighborhoods including Mediterra, Bay Colony, the Moorings, Miromar Lakes, Grey Oaks, and Port Royal. In addition to new home builds, Gulfshore Homes also offers renovation design services for aging luxury homes. A full gallery of ultimate homes crafted or renovated by Gulfshore Homes can be found at