M.C. Dean’s Women in Construction southern Virginia chapter teamed up with United Rentals and Walbridge to celebrate the 60th annual Women in Construction week, March 2-6. The week of activities at a data center project site in Virginia included a kick-off breakfast for networking, equipment operator training, and a panel discussion with women leaders.
These grassroots efforts were started by Felicia Young, Justine Lagmay, and a few other women on the project site. Together, they formed a local chapter of Women in Construction to develop meaningful careers and make an impact on the surrounding community.
“When I came to this project site, I didn’t realize the number of women who would be here or the impact we would have,” said Felicia. “Our numbers have doubled since we first began organizing, and we have built a nice support system for each other and all of the workers here.”
The training sessions, which focused on new OSHA/ANSI safety regulations and operator training for aerial and forklift equipment, were hosted by certified instructors from United Rentals. By learning new skills, these women can now drive new paths for growth at the job site.
Felicia and Justine served as moderators for the all-women panel discussion, which included the data center customer’s director of safety, two female managers from United Rentals, the vice president of marketing from Walbridge, and Julaine Simmons, M.C. Dean vice president. An interpreter was also present to translate the entire discussion for Spanish-speaking attendees.
Questions ranged from career-specific advice to sources of inspiration and how to overcome hurdles in a male-dominated industry. Overarching themes were to continue learning and create female mentors and male allies to help achieve their goals.
With 50 women in attendance, this comprises 14 percent of the total workforce currently at the job site. This is three times the normal average according to the panelists.
Beyond the events hosted last week, this group has also participated in school job fairs and fundraisers, organized food drives, and raised awareness about breast cancer at the job site.
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