November 3, 2022

A Reflection on Women in Construction

As a Site Manager in a largely male dominated workplace, I have been met with many challenges in my career. The most significant was proving my level of knowledge among my all-male management peers on site. Despite being hand chosen for the position by our client, the reception I received was often fraught with doubt. The support of our client, a major Canadian oil refinery, was significant and AMECO management provided additional support along with a large amount of autonomy. I was given the green light to explore new lines of business. This provision enabled me to gain even more knowledge about our project specifically and become an expert in my field with a supportive tool crib team. This has created a unique position for AMECO at the refinery.

Currently, when questions arise from our client or contractors on site, AMECO is often contacted for advice or consultation. Our expertise has made AMECO a valuable asset to our client and their go-to solution to keep projects moving.

Our contract was recently renewed yet again, extending our tenure in providing services to our client into the 11th year.  The contract negotiation process was a valuable one to be involved in as a Site Manager. The initial contract was negotiated long before I became Site Manager, so it took a fair amount of self-education to bring myself up to speed. Being able to appreciate the nuances of a contract can greatly affect a person’s ability to negotiate with purpose and full knowledge of both the ramifications and elasticity of the terms. This proficiency gave further credence to my legitimacy as the Site Manager, while also increasing the confidence in our team, the client, and AMECO management. It solidified our position as a fair and willing participant in contract negotiations and led to successful renewal.

On reflection on being a woman in construction, I feel the concept that best leads to respect is one of ROI. Return on investment can have many characterizations for this purpose.  The fact that our client expressed a desire to invest in me as Site Manager and our AMECO management team mirrored that was of value to me.

Because of that, I invest in my position, my future, and AMECO by taking advantage of opportunities to learn in and outside of work, such our internal Mentoring Program, the Harvard Business College New Leader Program, and the Tuition Re-imbursement Program, which allowed me to recently accomplish a Master’s in Business Administration. I also invest in myself and my community by maintaining a good work-life balance at home on the farm and by volunteering with Workers 4 Wishes.

I also invest in my on-site team by encouraging cross-training opportunities and outside customer service and management training. I actively foster a trusting and respectful relationship with each employee to inspire them to invest in their own position with AMECO and strive for continued success.

And finally, I will continue to invest alongside our AMECO operation team to ensure that we have continued success with our refinery project in addition to supporting our AMECO sales team exploring opportunities that exist for AMECO and determining where our next areas of growth will come from.

By Laura Kennedy – AMECO Site Manager

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