GTA Construction Report staff writer
Dori Hiebert has risen from a site clerk to becoming managing director for Crossby Drew Inc., a go-to-shop for nuclear support services.
Hiebert quickly learned about the industry, including how to get along on a construction site as one of two women out of a crew of several hundred.
“The whole construction experience was very different; the hours, the pace of a site. I had been coming from a retail background and fell in love with the industry, the variety of people and tasks.”
She says site clerk responsibilities provide a great introduction for women to demonstrate their skills. “When you show what you can do people recognize that and appreciate the value,” she said. “I’ve had to hire many site clerks over the years and I always make sure they understand the environment they will be working in.”
She says explaining the job site environment to a new employee sometimes means giving women tips on how to survive and thrive. She says sometimes women need to be more forceful to get the job done. With time though she says they will earn respect as they prove they can do the job.
After that initial project concluded, she received an invitation to apply for a head office position with Crossby Environmental, staying on when the company merged to become Crossby Dewar.
“From the start this has been a great opportunity,” she said. “Crossby was a family run business, and the Dewar Group was a family run business. Together they make a great company to work with.”
Hiebert says it can be challenging to form relationships within the complex nuclear support industry, but says it is far more welcoming than 15 years ago.
“We’re a small industry so networking and education events tend to be the same groups of people. With changes to OPG (Ontario Power Generation) and the power generation industry we are seeing people who have come from all over the world. There are women in engineering, trades and executive roles.”
Hiebert says the women she meets through her career are strong, organized and intelligent. However, she says it can be difficult for women to hold multiple roles, including mother, wife and career person and she knows people who have had to decide to be one or the other.
Still, she encourages other women to consider the industry’s potential.
“We have a junior accountant with our company who thinks she may be interested in project management so she is taking an opportunity now to job shadow someone in that position to get a feel for what it is really all about. It really is about challenging people to see what they are truly interested in and helping them achieve their goals.”
Hiebert says she always tells people if you’re not happy, there is always an opportunity to make a change, to try something new. She says she considers herself fortunate to have been given the opportunity to travel on an amazing career journey.