Some twenty-six years in, Lilianne Dobbs’ career isn’t quite what she once thought it would be. As a matter of fact, it could hardly be more different.
Lilianne Dobbs (left) exposes a student to a career
in construction at the Skills Canada National
“The truth is I had decided to be a hairdresser at a very early age,” said Lilianne, a superintendent with PCL in Toronto. “A career as a construction professional ended up being the right choice, but it happened purely by chance.”
While this choice may have set an unlikely trajectory for Dobbs’ career, it now seems like one that she might’ve been destined for. Her family is chock-full of construction professionals.
Lilianne’s father is a veteran of the construction industry. One afternoon shortly after Lilianne’s high-school graduation, he took her brother with him to the local union hall. When Lilianne decided to tag along, it was to the surprise of many, herself included. More surprising was the effect that visit had on her career aspirations. Few could have predicted that she would leave the hall later that afternoon registered for a three-week training course.
“I had no idea of my potential,” said Dobbs. “All I had was a ton of ambition and drive.”
Dobbs has parlayed that drive into twenty-six years of construction experience, including over twenty with the PCL family of construction companies. After starting out as a laborer on construction projects, Lilianne pursued a carpentry apprenticeship. Now, she’s superintendent on some of PCL’s largest and most significant projects in Toronto.
PAYING IT FORWARD
Enjoying a long and successful career, Dobbs continues to have a healthy enthusiasm for what she does, and it’s an enthusiasm she’s happy to share with those looking to learn.
Recently, she supported PCL’s “Try-a-Trade” presence at the Skills Canada National Competition in Toronto. The competition introduces youth from across Canada to trade skills and construction technology used on some of PCL’s many projects.
There’s no telling if this exposure led students to transformative career experiences that mirrored her visit to the union hall, but Dobbs was happy to support the event on the chance that it might.
“Twenty-six years ago, I had no idea of the amazing and rewarding career I would have with PCL,” said Dobbs. “I have to say, my career is one of the most interesting things I have ever done!”
By sharing her experience, Dobbs hopes to encourage youth to follow in her footsteps, even if the path leads them somewhere they don’t expect.