I’ve been in the union for about a year now, affiliated with IUOE Local 15. Before my start in construction, I tried the college route but soon realized that was not for me. I also had jobs in a hospital and the post office. When I had my daughter, I looked for a better paying job and that’s when the union opportunity came to me.

My interest in construction came from two of my relatives who worked for Grace Industries several years before the company became part of Haugland Group. I really enjoy the hands-on part of my job. My time in the field has been a great experience. I love the energy of the job site and the everyday challenges. My union and the team I work with are very friendly and supportive.

I use many types of earth-moving equipment such as excavators, skid steers, and telehandlers. I learned how to operate the machinery through Local 15’s training center. If I ever have a question or issues arise, I can easily ask any operator or foreman on the jobsite for assistance.

While it was a shock to many of my friends and family when I began working in the field, they quickly got used to me wearing a hardhat. My advice to women interested in the construction industry is believe in your abilities and don’t let anything or anyone discourage you. If you have the mindset and the drive, my advice is to go for it. My union and Haugland Group have supported me since I started here. They have provided me with the necessary resources and understand my needs. My plan is to continue gaining experience and working as an operator in the construction industry.