On-Site Magazine

Building better communities

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June 1, 2012 by Corinne Lynds

Some of you may have noticed this by now, but just in case you missed it: I’m a girl!

More specifically, I’m a girl in the construction industry, which has prompted many questions from the curious. I’m often asked: “How did you get into the business?” Was your Dad a contractor?” and, “Do stilettos come in steel toe?”

I find these questions amusing. People want to get a handle on my “perspective.”

Being a woman in what has traditionally been a “man’s industry” does not come without a few perks. For one, I have never had to wait in line for the ladies room at a tradeshow or conference. More significantly, I am often invited to take part in women-centric construction events.

At first, I was apprehensive about this sort of attention. After all, good contractors are good contractors whether or not they stand up or sit down to pee. But through my connection with the Women in Construction (WINC) organization, I have discovered how powerful the so-called “weaker” sex can be, and now I wear my pink hardhat proudly.

In just a few short years, WINC has raised more than $80,000 for Habitat for Humanity in Toronto. It was an honour to swing a hammer along side these highly skilled ladies on May 9 at the recent Women’s Build.

Although I am currently bestowing accolades on the fine ladies at WINC, I would be remiss if I didn’t point out that Canada’s construction industry, as a whole, does a phenomenal job at building better communities through financial and time investments. Nearly every one of the contractors you see listed in the Top Contractors report on page 17 have made significant investments in Habitat for Humanity, United Way, Canadian Cancer Society, Heart and Stroke Foundation, and the list goes on with a host of more specific local community projects.

In conversations I had with this year’s top construction firms, it became clear that strong local community involvement is a cornerstone of successful construction businesses. Many of the biggest companies, such as Aecon, EllisDon and PCL are focusing more of their time and resources on supporting employee-driven initiatives rather than the larger-scale United Way-style campaigns that are popular with large corporations.

We often credit the construction industry for literally building the roads, schools and structures in which we conduct our daily lives, but we must also recognize how our time and financial investments are building better communities.

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