Ontario Construction Report special feature
Margaret Ward started her career with Enbridge with conventional responsibilities. However, she discovered the company’s career growth opportunities to become a channel consultant with the residential sales market development team.
“I started with Enbridge in administration but then got my pipeline inspectors’ ticket through a summer program the company offered to get more women into the field,” she said.
Ward then worked as an outside sales representative and obtained her gas fitters’ licence through night-school. She later worked in the field as a customer attachment advisor, working with site supervisors to provide input on placement of services.
She says, along the way, her male colleagues treated her well and she gained valuable experience with each new position.
“On site it is important to show knowledge through the language of codes and detail,” she said. “I was fortunate to have and be able to take advantage of many opportunities along the way for learning and training to develop my knowledge and experience.”
“I had great support from and rapport with the crews I worked with. I respected that they knew their jobs and they understood that I knew mine and respected the fact that I was there to help.”
As channel consultant, Ward is a key contact for builders. She says while Enbridge is great at being an equal opportunity employer, it can be foreign for outside clients to run across women in jobs such as hers. She says there can be a lot of pressure to demonstrate knowledge, and attitude has a lot to do with acceptance.
Ward says she takes advantage of other opportunities, such as home builders’ association events, to further build and develop her network as she learns about the building industry’s changing requirements.
She says she would absolutely recommend construction as a career for women. While she knows there are now more courses being offered at schools like George Brown College for the trades, she says she is surprised that, 20 years after her own introduction to the industry, relatively few women participate. “My son recently graduated from a related program at George Brown and there was only one woman in his program.” she said.
“I love what I do. I enjoy the constant learning, meeting new people and the satisfaction of a finished job.”