Group of Young Women Visit for a Day of Exploring the Career Opportunities in Construction
July 5, 2022 – Aurora, CO — Joined by a mission of building future generations of the construction industry, Encore Electric and Transportation & Construction GIRL partnered on June 21 to host a group of young women for a day of exploring a day in the life of the electrical trade.
Led by Keller Hayes, a longtime advocate for women in the construction industry, Transportation & Construction GIRL is an organization working to draw attention to women’s careers in transportation and construction. By pushing women past stereotypes and showing career opportunities, the group is motivating girls to pursue careers in transportation and construction.
“There is so much opportunity in the construction industry,” said Keller Hayes, founder of Transportation & Construction GIRL. “To give these girls the opportunity to connect with, shadow, and see themselves in women mentors is huge.”
The day began at the Encore Electric Prefabrication and Tool Center. As an introduction to Encore Electric and what a career in the electrical trade can entail, a group of men and women from different departments within Encore Electric spoke to the girls sharing their experiences and career paths that lead them to the construction industry.
Cheryl Steiner, estimator, spoke on her path to construction and her wide range of experiences from project management with the Air Force to electrical work on boats. Steiner left the girls with an encouraging message: “Don’t be intimidated by what you don’t know. Just be curious, and don’t hesitate to ask questions. We’re all here for you and want to see you be successful,” Steiner said.
Following introductions, the girls took a tour of the prefabrication center for a behind the scenes view before hitting the jobsite to see where they might begin their electrical careers as apprentices. To accompany the tour of the prefabrication center, Sam Hamilton, director of VDC and prefabrication, introduced the girls to a variety of construction technology including HoloLens, a Navisworks virtual model of the Gaylord Hotel, and more.
Hamilton and her team gave the girls the opportunity to explore the technology hands on, educating them on the importance of the technology to our teams and to support collaboration among trades and visualize the project before construction to save resources, create efficiency, and build safely.
Girls took turns trying out and navigating the technology, sparking conversations on the VDC process and the opportunities a career in construction technology could hold.
After a morning at the Prefabrication and Tool Center, the girls toured the UCHealth Tower 3 project to see construction in action through the eyes of an electrical contractor.
After a safety briefing from Haselden Construction, the general contractor on the project, the group was led through several floors of the project at varying levels of completion where they could see Encore Electric electricians at work and received a behind-the-scenes look at the complex systems our teams design and install.
While on the Tower 3 project site Jessica Linder, project engineer, introduced the young women to life as a Project Engineer for Encore Electric using “The Life Cycle of a Light Fixture”. Linder engaged the group by walking them through everything from reviewing lighting drawings to compiling a submittal to utilizing 360 photos and RFIs for when a lighting installation doesn’t go as planned. At the end of their visit, the ladies put their new skills to the test and dug through the submittal to locate dimension information to solve a real-world clash between the HVAC and lighting.
Linder, who herself did not anticipate a career in construction, identifies the importance of groups like Transportation & Construction GIRL that introduce girls to role models who are women in construction.
“While more and more women are joining the industry, I believe young women still struggle to imagine themselves in a career in construction,” Linder said. “By participating in these events, I hope to be a role model to young women and leave them thinking, ‘if she can do it, why can’t I?’”
Eyes were bright and questions were firing all day as the girls soaked up a day in the electrical trade. Encore Electric team members in attendance were eager to share knowledge and advice with the girls.
“It is imperative that we take time from our busy work lives, careers, and deadlines to give back to our community and in this case, fostering and supporting the next generation of women in construction,” said Anna Lavenhar, engineering and quality manager. “I can’t express in words how important this is. The women of Encore are passionate about sharing their time and their stories to mentor this next generation of women.”
“There is a bright future ahead for women in construction,” said Molly Morzel, human resources manager. “I was inspired by the initiative and drive of the young women at the Transportation and Construction GIRL event and their interest in learning all the different aspects of construction. Eyes were opened to the complexity of electrical work from VDC and prefabrication to apprenticeship, project engineering and support services.”
Organizations like Transportation & Construction GIRL are invaluable in the industry, allowing women of all ages and backgrounds to connect and grow in their construction careers.
“I am heartened to see the increased interest young women are showing in pursuing construction careers,” said Heather Ruddy, compliance and information governance risk manager. “Events like Transportation and Construction GIRL give students an opportunity to explore the array of career options waiting for them directly from strong female role models. The girls participating in this year’s event exemplify the construction industry’s best future.”
“Being a woman in construction is such an adventure,” said Foreman Emily McCurley. “Removing the stigma and showing women how great this industry is means so much, I can’t wait to see these young women in the field!”
Lighting the way for young women and educating them on the endless opportunities ahead is a responsibility that we are honored to take on at Encore Electric.
We look forward to our continued partnership with Transportation and Construction GIRL!