Women in Construction Week is part of the broader Women’s History Month celebration in March. The week, started by the National Association of Women in Construction (NAWIC) is an opportunity to highlight the growing role of women in the construction industry.
“NAWIC’s core purpose is ‘enhancing the success of women in the construction industry’ and what better way to continue this purpose, but to dedicate our WIC Week, not only to our members, but to all women working in and for the construction industry and to recognize the contributions women make to the success of projects in all facets of the industry,” said NAWIC President Riki F. Lovejoy, CBT, CIT.
Women represent 47% of the total U.S. workforce and are playing an increasingly significant role in the world of construction. Yet according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics and OSHA, only 9% of total construction employees are women.
Given this fact, it’s inspiring to come across women who are thriving in such a traditionally male-dominated industry.
In honor of Women in Construction Week, Gage Brothers wants to highlight some exceptional women who help to make Gage Brothers a stronger and more competitive company. Read on to explore Ann Hill’s experiences in construction/manufacturing and to find out her advice for others looking to take a similar path.
Name: Cassie Nicolai
Job Title: Human Resources & Safety Manager
Q: How long have you been in the manufacturing industry?
A: Eight years
Q: Why did you choose a non-traditional career field?
A: When I was close to graduating with my business degree I started looking for an internship that would let me get my foot in the door with a company. I knew I wanted to work for a company that did “something cool.” My 23 year-old self had no idea what that meant, but as soon as I took a tour of Gage Brothers during my interview, I knew this was where I belonged. Since then I have fallen in love with the manufacturing industry.
Q: Have you ever faced any barriers in what is a male-dominated industry?
A: There have been times when I felt someone did not value my opinion because I am a woman in the manufacturing and construction industry. Usually it was someone from outside of Gage Brothers who had not met me before, and I quickly find a way to work with (or around) them.
Q: What challenges do you see other women in construction facing?
A: Stereotypes definitely exist still about women who work in construction. Most of them negative which I won’t go into detail here. Progressive companies realize that manufacturing and construction have become high-tech industries that need all types of people with a variety of skills and knowledge. Those companies who are stuck in the past will be left behind eventually.
Q: What is the most satisfying part of your job?
A: As an HR and Safety professional, my greatest joy is seeing others succeed—especially when that person may have doubted their ability to do so. I enjoy trying to find the right tools and support that a person needs to thrive.
Q: What motivates you to keep working so hard at Gage Brothers?
A: I have had countless opportunities to learn and grow since starting at Gage Brothers. That definitely motivates me to return the favor by giving them my all.
Q: What advice do you have for women who want to work in the construction or manufacturing industry?
A: I would like to steal Ann Hill’s advice from yesterday because she said it perfectly! Women have a lot of expectations placed on them in society. Just do what interests you and what you’re good at. Be yourself. Also, sometimes women can be our own worst enemies. Let’s support and lift each other up.