Acres is celebrating 𝐖𝐨𝐦𝐞𝐧 𝐢𝐧 𝐂𝐨𝐧𝐬𝐭𝐫𝐮𝐜𝐭𝐢𝐨𝐧 𝐖𝐞𝐞𝐤 by highlighting the contributions of the wonderful women that make up our team!
Get to know Melanie Atwater, a Journeyperson Carpenter with Acres’ Industrial Department who enjoys the variety of work that comes with the construction industry.
𝐃𝐞𝐬𝐜𝐫𝐢𝐛𝐞 𝐲𝐨𝐮𝐫 𝐫𝐨𝐥𝐞 𝐚𝐬 𝐚 𝐣𝐨𝐮𝐫𝐧𝐞𝐲𝐩𝐞𝐫𝐬𝐨𝐧 𝐜𝐚𝐫𝐩𝐞𝐧𝐭𝐞𝐫.
My role mostly entails building forms and pouring and finishing concrete. My job also includes reading prints, calculating layouts and most recently tying rebar.
𝐖𝐡𝐲 𝐚𝐧𝐝 𝐡𝐨𝐰 𝐝𝐢𝐝 𝐲𝐨𝐮 𝐠𝐞𝐭 𝐢𝐧𝐭𝐨 𝐜𝐨𝐧𝐬𝐭𝐫𝐮𝐜𝐭𝐢𝐨𝐧?
I stepped into the construction industry when I was working in home restoration. I had some exposure to carpentry and started my career by working for some renovation and home building companies. Now, I’ve moved into industrial construction and it’s a great change of pace.
𝐖𝐡𝐚𝐭 𝐝𝐨 𝐲𝐨𝐮 𝐞𝐧𝐣𝐨𝐲 𝐦𝐨𝐬𝐭 𝐚𝐛𝐨𝐮𝐭 𝐲𝐨𝐮𝐫 𝐣𝐨𝐛?
What I enjoy most of my job is being active and working outside, especially on those days when I wish I could be outside! I enjoy the change of tasks as well. Everyone is positive and great to work with, which keeps the quality of work excellent.
𝐖𝐡𝐚𝐭 𝐚𝐝𝐯𝐢𝐜𝐞 𝐝𝐨 𝐲𝐨𝐮 𝐡𝐚𝐯𝐞 𝐟𝐨𝐫 𝐰𝐨𝐦𝐞𝐧 𝐰𝐚𝐧𝐭𝐢𝐧𝐠 𝐭𝐨 𝐞𝐧𝐭𝐞𝐫 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐜𝐨𝐧𝐬𝐭𝐫𝐮𝐜𝐭𝐢𝐨𝐧 𝐢𝐧𝐝𝐮𝐬𝐭𝐫𝐲?
It gets better. That’s the big thing to keep in mind when you enter an industry that is still mostly male dominated. Know that there is a place for you in construction, as much as the person next to you. Don’t tolerate harassment or stereotyping, because there are workers who will support you, treat you as an equal, and see that you succeed.
𝐖𝐡𝐚𝐭 𝐚𝐫𝐞 𝐬𝐨𝐦𝐞 𝐜𝐡𝐚𝐥𝐥𝐞𝐧𝐠𝐞𝐬 𝐲𝐨𝐮’𝐯𝐞 𝐞𝐧𝐜𝐨𝐮𝐧𝐭𝐞𝐫𝐞𝐝 𝐚𝐬 𝐚 𝐟𝐞𝐦𝐚𝐥𝐞 𝐢𝐧 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐜𝐨𝐧𝐬𝐭𝐫𝐮𝐜𝐭𝐢𝐨𝐧 𝐢𝐧𝐝𝐮𝐬𝐭𝐫𝐲?
Still being such a minority in the trades, I think a lot of individuals still have preconceived ideas of what women are capable of. We don’t fit a box – some of us can lift very heavy things and some cannot. When you first start out, it may feel like you have to prove yourself and that you’re capable of doing your job. Once I developed self-respect, I believed in myself and didn’t shy away from doing or saying the right thing.
𝐖𝐡𝐚𝐭 𝐚𝐫𝐞 𝐬𝐨𝐦𝐞 𝐚𝐜𝐡𝐢𝐞𝐯𝐞𝐦𝐞𝐧𝐭𝐬 𝐲𝐨𝐮 𝐚𝐫𝐞 𝐩𝐚𝐫𝐭𝐢𝐜𝐮𝐥𝐚𝐫𝐥𝐲 𝐩𝐫𝐨𝐮𝐝 𝐨𝐟?
Something I am particularly proud of is when I was in my first year at Fairview College. I really struggled with crippling anxiety, and I didn’t think I was smart enough. I got through my 8 weeks being awarded with the Instructors Award of Excellence for being top of my year in theory, shop, and final project scores. It was a very validating moment for me.