Why did you pursue a career in construction?
Originally, I did my thesis in construction design and realized that a lot of the effort you put into the design may not always come to fruition. Instead, I chose to pursue construction because of the sense of accomplishment it gives you when you see the original drawing come to life. In construction, I am a part of a team that works to build the infrastructure that is used by everyone and each time I see the final product, I see the fruits of that labour.
Can you share an overview of what your job entails?
In my current role, I support the Prime Contracts Director in administering the project agreement between Mosaic Transit Group, a joint venture made up of Dufferin Construction, ACS Infrastructure and Aecon, established specifically for the Finch West LRT project, and the project owner, Metrolinx.
On a day-to-day basis I ensure any changes or commercial issues are addressed and resolved between Mosaic, Metrolinx and the project’s sub-contractors.
What do you like most about working in construction?
I love that its very dynamic and fast paced. There truly is never a dull moment – the scope of every project is different, so there is always something new and interesting to learn. Whether you have been in construction for one year or for ten years, its an evolving set of challenges which keeps it fun! It is never repetitive or mundane work.
Do you believe construction is a viable career path for young, new and/or diverse Canadians?
Absolutely! With the amount of infrastructure we plan to build in Canada over the next few years, its 100% viable. There are the traditional construction roles, but also you don’t necessarily need to be the person showing up on a construction site. There are materials, quality, environmental, project management, financial, and so many other aspects to construction that provide a variety of opportunities for everyone.
What advise would you give someone thinking about a career in construction?
My advice would be to stick out the first couple of years, as they are usually the most difficult. Depending on the type of construction you’re going into, it can be a bit of a transition while you get that first experience under your belt. You also learn a lot in a very short period of time. You meet a lot of people from different backgrounds.
That was my experience. In civil construction there is a lot of time outdoors, working long hours, but those are the years when you learn how everything is built. I remember working alongside Foremen that had been doing what they did longer than I had been alive. The wealth of knowledge that comes from those people is irreplaceable. If you can tough it out and absorb all the knowledge you can in those first few years, the rewards are exponentially higher, and they only increase the longer you’re in the industry.
What does Dufferin Construction have to offer in terms of career growth?
Dufferin Construction is competitive in the opportunities it provides its employees. They invest in their people and encourage employees to complete additional learning if it is in line with their career. The culture is very much to enable employees to grow organically within the company, so the necessary tools, training and exposure required is provided to ensure employees are ready to take on those roles. Dufferin’s model is to always promote from within, so those who have come up within the company are more likely to get a role than an external hire.
All of my direct Supervisors have been amazing – I try to emulate them in managing my own direct reports. At Dufferin Construction, you meet a lot of mentors; people who are great at what they do and are always willing to teach. On more than one occasion in my career, I sat down in my managers office and said, “I need a new challenge.” In both cases, they responded positively and worked with me to find a new challenge outside of the traditional construction roles. I also have taken two maternity leaves within my time at Dufferin, and my experience was excellent – I was very well supported and felt good coming back to the company.