Scecina graduate Andrea Sloan breaks ground in male-dominated industry

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Scecina graduate Andrea Sloan ’00 at her business, GroundBreakers Hydrovac Excavation Services LLC, in front of one of their 29 hydrovac trucks. Hydrovac excavation uses high-pressure water to cut and liquefy the soil, while simultaneously using a vacuum system to remove soil to safely dig in and around utilities.

By Beth Murphy, Director of Development

Although Andrea (Caric) Sloan runs a successful, growing business just minutes from Scecina and her childhood home, she knows her path to leading GroundBreakers has been unorthodox.

Sloan, who graduated from Scecina in 2000, is a rising star in Indianapolis’ business community. She is the president and owner of GroundBreakers, a certified woman and veteran-owned business enterprise that performs non-destructive and precise hydrovac excavation services.

GroundBreakers’ mission is to safely and efficiently remove soil around buried utilities and underground structures. The hydrovac excavation process from GroundBreakers combines pressurized water and a mighty 6000 cubic feet per minute (CFM) positive displacement blower system that allows excavation in the most challenging conditions, including frozen ground. OSHA approved the soft dig method used by GroundBreakers, where mechanical excavation is not permitted as the safest non-destructive method of digging.​

In March of this year, the Indianapolis Business Journal (IBJ) recognized Sloan as a member of its Class of 2022 “40 Under 40,” the IBJ’s yearly list of local business and professional leaders who have achieved success and excelled in their field before the age of 40. She’s a rare woman business owner in the male-dominated construction world.

As a U.S. Army Reserve veteran, she actively recruits veterans to her business. In 2021, GroundBreakers won a HIRE Vets Gold Medallion Award, a U.S. government program recognizing employer efforts to recruit, employ, and retain veterans. This November, her company was named Certified Vendor of the Month by Mayor Joe Hogsett and the City of Indianapolis’ Office of Minority & Women Business Development for their efforts in supporting veterans in the Indianapolis community.

Sloan also is enthusiastic about encouraging other women and veterans to pursue business ownership. “When I walk into a room, I am still very much in the minority,” she said. “The construction business still is very much male-dominated.”

She sits on the board of the Indiana Construction Roundtable and is a member of its diversity and equity committee. The effort is designed to empower owners, general contractors, construction managers, and XBEs contractors in achieving a new level of engagement resulting in improved business relationships, greater diversity and inclusion, and education on challenges faced by business owners representing diverse communities.

Andrea, a lifelong Indianapolis area resident, is devoted to giving back to the community by volunteering for Habitat for Humanity Indiana. GroundBreakers has recently helped support a home build on the city’s Eastside and has committed to supporting future builds. Andrea is also an active board member of the Homeless Veterans and Families (HVAF). This organization provides housing and reintegration services for homeless veterans and programs to prevent at-risk veterans from becoming homeless.

“The path to success is not a straight and narrow one,” she said. “You must be willing to take on different opportunities.” She received and took to heart great advice from a woman mentor, “Don’t turn down opportunities, take them on, because you never know where that yes is going to lead you.” She said that her ability to work hard and take risks and her “growth mindset” are her strengths. “Build the most extensive network you can that will encourage and support your journey.”

Andrea is a part of the Indianapolis chapter of the National Association of Women in Business Owners (NAWBO), the National Association of Women in Construction (NAWIC), the Indiana Subcontractor Association (ISA), and the Young Presidents’ Organization (YPO).

“I have learned so much from my network that has helped me operate a business and take measured risks,” Sloan said. “To be honest, owning a business is very stressful, but I wish I could have taken the leap earlier in life.”


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