Women in Construction Week, Part Four
Heavy Equipment Operator, BelPacific Excavating & Shoring
Q: When did you start at NorLand, and how did you get involved in the Construction Industry?
A: I started working at NorLand almost a year ago. I’ve always liked lifted trucks, mud, and off-roading and I wanted to incorporate that into a career, which is how I found heavy equipment. It pays well and there’s good job security. They’re never going to stop building things, so theoretically I should never be out of work. My journey started with going to school and earning my heavy equipment certification. Then I worked my way through different companies and jobs, overcoming hurdles and biases, on my way to becoming an operator. After slowly gaining seat time at five other companies as a labourer and operator, I began working at BEL Contracting, and now BelPacific.
Q: This year’s IWD campaign theme is #EmbracyEquity. How do you think we can work towards equality in the construction industry?
A: It really depends on the company and the employee’s mindset towards women in the workplace. I’ve worked with people who don’t think that women should be in the industry, and you butt heads with them all the time. I’ve also worked with others who are supportive of women in the industry. It’s these men who help give me the confidence to keep moving forward. To me, it’s the fact that some men just need to get used to women coming into the industry. We shouldn’t have to put up with anything that our male counterparts wouldn’t. At the end of the day, we are ALL here for the same reason. To get the job done, pay the bills and go home.
Q: Based on your own experience, what advice would you give to other women considering pursuing a career in construction?
A: Never give up! Don’t let anyone tell you that you can’t do something, because you can! It may not be the way other people do it but if it gets the job done then who cares. Never be afraid to ask questions, that’s how you learn. The more you know and understand the more accomplished you will become. Another big thing I would tell women who are coming into this industry is to never be afraid to stand up for yourself, and don’t let anyone do or say anything that is inappropriate or insensitive, just because you are a minority. Believe in yourself and your worth!
Q: What does International Women’s Day mean to you?
A: Women in construction is still quite new, especially in heavy equipment. I think that International Women’s Day is about women telling their stories, showing other women what’s possible, and exposing more women to jobs that are typically male-dominated. It’s cool that NorLand asked me to share my story, because I want to be someone that helps pave the way for other women in the industry, by letting them know that they aren’t alone.