Article Women in Construction: How Culture Advances Women in the Construction Industry

In observance of International Women’s Day, we want to share the perspectives and experiences of two bright, talented, and ambitious women, who are advancing their careers at Wales McLelland: Heidi Morrell and Pavla Quinn.

Heidi Morrell, Project Coordinator, has been with Wales McLelland for two years. Heidi began her career working as a welder for a subcontractor on a Wales McLelland project, and recalls what attracted her to transitioning her career to work at Wales: “I really enjoyed working with the Wales team, and all the different kinds of projects they work on. But the team atmosphere really stood out to me, they’re all such good people to work with.”

Heidi Morrell, Project Coordinator, began her career in the construction industry as a welding professional prior to joining Wales McLelland.

Heidi is encouraged to see how much progress has been made for women in the construction industry since her first year at BCIT. “When I began my Welding Apprenticeship program at BCIT, there were two women in the program. Now it’s a lot more evenly distributed. The industry is changing; the stigma of construction being a ‘man’s world’ is disappearing.”  

“I encourage women to enter the construction industry. The field is fun and challenging, with endless opportunities. I’m proof that if you work hard and assert yourself, women can grow their career anywhere in construction.”

Heidi Morrell chose to advance her career in construction with Wales McLelland because of the supportive team environment and the exposure to challenging projects.

Wales McLelland has been a longtime supporter of women in the construction industry, offering women equal opportunities to grow and develop their careers in an inclusive and supportive environment. As a Project Coordinator, Heidi experiences this first-hand: “They assign a Project Manager to every Project Coordinator. They walk you through the projects, offering mentorship and guidance, and bring you along on construction sites to learn on the job. It’s phenomenal.”

As a Project Manager who began her career with Wales McLelland in the Project Coordinator position, Pavla Quinn agrees.

“When you start out at Wales McLelland as a Project Coordinator, you’re partnered up with a Project Manager. Once they recognize you’re able to take on more responsibility, they allow you to take the lead on smaller projects and gain more management-level experience, while still offering complete support throughout the learning curve process. That gave me the room to grow.”

Pavla Quinn, Project Manager, worked her way up from a Project Coordinator with Wales McLelland, and now helps mentor coordinators to advance their careers to management positions.

Now in her fourth year at Wales McLelland, this culture of promoting from within is what initially attracted Pavla to join the Wales team. “I was working in the construction industry for three years before joining Wales. Their culture of promoting people from within is well known in the industry. You could see that their coordinators were all on a path to being promoted. The fact that there’s room to grow from inside the company appealed to me.”

“And now I’m in a position to help Project Coordinators navigate through this same learning process I went through. It’s a sign that Wales respects my contribution to the team, and are allowing me to grow my leadership skills.”

Along with offering equal opportunities for growth, career development, and leadership training, Wales McLelland provides a modern and open corporate office for professionals to thrive in.

When asked what she enjoys most about working with Wales McLelland in the construction industry, Pavla echoed Heidi’s sentiment. “The team mentality really carries through, from the office to the jobsite. It’s such a mentoring environment, with lots of opportunities to learn from so many different people throughout the company.”

“And the variety of projects; every day is different.”

When asked about how Wales McLelland advocates for women to thrive in the construction industry, Pavla offered a different perspective. “I don’t feel like I’m treated any differently than any of my peers. It really is that much of a team environment. Everyone at Wales McLelland recognizes that no individual man or woman alone can build a building, it takes a team. If you work hard to support the team, you’re treated fairly and with equal respect in return.”

Pavla recognizes that her experiences at Wales McLelland might not be typical for most women who are looking to grow their career within the construction industry. To these women, she offers this advice: “The construction industry is changing. There will always be single-minded people who have issues with women advancing in any industry, but you can’t let that discourage you. You can’t accept that old-world view.”

“Women are definitely valued in construction. Don’t hold back and don’t be afraid to go for it.”

To learn more about how you can advance your career in the construction industry in an inclusive, supportive, and respectful work environment, visit our list of active job postings to join the Wales McLelland team.