The GTA Construction Report Special Feature
Shari Pryce came to the construction industry with a background in sales and marketing and experience as an executive director with several not-for-profit agencies. She initially learned about the industry through her husband’s custom home and renovations company. She has stayed because of the relationships she has developed.
Pryce moved to Barrie from Toronto in 1979 and raised her three children in the community. She gained industry knowledge by working with her husband at Prycon Custom Building & Renovations over a number of years.
Pryce says today she works with builders who construct one home a year and others who will build 500. At Reliance, she offers solutions from water heaters to furnaces and helps manage the accounts, regardless of size.
She says Reliance has a diverse culture and many talented people. “We have the freedom to speak our minds and share ideas openly. I’ve always been of the mindset to surround myself with great mentors.”
She says gender has never been an issue for her. “I believe that everyone is unique in their own way. Outside of gender we all bring experience and viewpoints to the table. For me, it’s about listening and truly understanding the needs of my builders and helping them make wise choices. I feel respected in the industry because of my professionalism, knowledge and positive attitude.”
Pryce says she enjoys that her job is different every day and that she gets to work with diverse clients. She says she likes providing options and solutions and seeing projects successfully completed.
She is a member of seven home builders’ associations in her large territory. Although she cannot participate on all of the boards, she participates in several committees.
“Part of being involved with associations is understanding the industry and what my builders are dealing with,” she said. “It is also about networking. Every event I attend offers a new connection.”
She and her family also support charities and fundraising initiatives including three humanitarian builds they were involved with in the Dominican Republic over the past five years.
She says the HVAC industry is thriving and she is seeing large numbers of young people entering the field. One of her sons is an installer with Reliance and the other son is eager to one day take over the family business. She says her own mother always encouraged her to follow her passion and told her that anything was possible. “If my daughter hadn’t had her heart set on becoming a vet since she was a child, I wouldn’t hesitate to encourage her to consider the field as well.”
Her advice to young people, including her sons, who are considering careers in the field, is to work hard, be honest, and to treat every job as if you own the company. “I don’t believe there are specific challenges in the industry for women. In today’s environment for the most part, we are treated equally. Be yourself, and have confidence in what you do. Know your stuff and always be prepared. Perseverance, dedication and hard work will lead to success.”
She also says she believes any job in the industry will be rewarding because it’s what you make of it. “Pick a career that you enjoy going to every day.”