Reade Milne sat at her desk in the Edgartown building inspector’s office on Tuesday, looking out over three decades of clutter — shelves of leather-bound zoning ledgers, piles of land records, a magic eight-ball, a stuffed pheasant.

The clutter belonged to Leonard Jason Jr., who after 34 years has stepped down from his position as Edgartown’s building inspector, passing on the office, in all of its messy glory, to Ms. Milne.

“I’m still working on clearing it out,” she said. “After that many years, there’s a lot to go through.”

After three years as assistant building inspector, Ms. Milne was officially appointed on Dec. 13 as the Edgartown building inspector. She is the first woman to hold the position. But, as she explained, “It doesn’t seem like anything monumental. I’ve been doing what is considered a man’s work since I was 18 years old.”

Ms. Milne grew up on the Vineyard and has experience in almost every facet of the construction industry, from banging nails to architectural planning. She began her decade-long stint in construction working for her father, Geoff Kontje and his company 41 Degrees North Construction, after deciding not to return to her second semester at St. Michael’s College.

From banging nails to architectural planning, Ms. Milne has worked in many facets of the construction business. — Melissa Knowles

“I didn’t really know what I wanted then, but he showed me the ropes, from framing through finish, and eventually he put me on my own job as foreman,” she said. “He was always pushing me to learn more about different aspects of what goes into building a house.”

After years of running a construction crew for her father, she decided to change pace by enrolling in Boston Architectural College. While in school she was awarded a youth lot in Vineyard Haven. She spent her first year at school designing her own house and took the following year off to build it, using reclaimed post and beams and plenty of support from family and friends.

Among the many helpers was Greg Milne, a fellow graduate student she had just met that year. Mr. Milne would soon become her husband — and is currently a registered architect at South Mountain Company.

The two returned to Boston the following year, got engaged soon after, and Ms. Milne continued to attend college while working for an architecture firm. But once they had their first child, Greta, they decided it was time to move back to the Island. The couple also has a son, Felix.

After returning to the Island, Ms. Milne continued to work in both construction and architecture for many years before becoming the assistant building inspector.

“I was sort of half joking that I was interested in the position and then I got roped into it,” she recalled. “I made an offhand comment to somebody that I was thinking about doing it. And, being the Vineyard, word got through to Lenny.”

She continued: “Lenny said, I think you should do it. He said it’s nothing big. You follow the code and you know the code. He said you have a good head on your shoulders. You’ll do a good job.”

That was three years ago, and in that time she has absorbed all the information she could from Mr. Jason.

“I paid attention to everything he said because he doesn’t say much,” she said. “So I just did my best to observe. The way he inspected the house, the way he wrote a permit or the subtle relationship of approaching a situation that could be contentious.”

Ms. Milne said she is honored to be filling Mr. Jason’s shoes, and has already set out on a busy first week inspecting many houses In Edgartown and Chappaquiddick, meeting with real estate agents and members of the planning board.

“I’m still trying to find time to make myself space in here,” she said, kicking her feet up on an open filing cabinet. “But the pheasant is our new mascot . . . his name is Lenny, and I think he is going to stay.”