Women in Construction Week: Pursuing a Passion

Women in Construction Week is about raising awareness of the many career possibilities available to women in the construction industry.

Women are embracing the trades, pursuing a passion for building and establishing themselves in a traditionally male-dominated field. Some achieve this through careful planning, others through serendipitous interactions with people who have helped them realize their potential to succeed.

The theme of this year’s Women in Construction Week is “Paving New Roads to Construction.” During this week and every week, we are proud of the PCL women who are paving the road to construction for the next generation of female leaders. We caught up with Carly Watson, project manager, Buildings, and asked her how she got her start in construction, why she chose the careers she did, and what brings her the greatest satisfaction on the job. Read her story:

Where did you start your construction career?
My construction career started with two summer jobs while I was enrolled at the British Columbia Institute of Technology (BCIT). I spent the first summer with Flynn Canada and the second at PCL. 

Why did you choose construction?
I went to school to become an architect. I started my studies at BCIT in the architectural building engineering technology program. During my time in the program we toured a few different construction sites. From these tours and two summers working for construction companies I figured out that I love being a part of the build and seeing everything come together more than I do being involved in the design.

How did you land at PCL?
Just after graduating and before completing my three-month summer work term with PCL’s Special Projects Division, I knew this was the place I wanted to be. Everyone has a drive to get the project completed successfully, and the project teams work so well together. A field engineer position became available on a building renovation project at the Vancouver International Airport. I immediately approached my managers to see if I could fill the position. They offered me the job and I started in my new role. Since then I’ve worked on many projects, including other airport work, a prison, a grain terminal and most recently the Abbotsford Law Courts project. 

What keeps you interested in construction?
I come to work every day knowing there will always be something new to learn. PCL is great for allowing me to expand my career by working on a variety of projects.

What’s your dream project?
I wouldn’t say that I have one. I’ve worked on a lot of unique projects over the years and loved aspects of each one. I haven’t worked on a hospital project yet, and that’s something I look forward to.

What’s your favorite project celebration?
I’ve always loved the milestone celebrations that we have on-site. It’s a great opportunity to celebrate the accomplishments of our own team and our trade partners. 

If you could give advice to your younger self, what would it be?
Don’t be afraid to make mistakes. Learn from those mistakes and they’ll prevent you from making the same one twice.

As a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up?
A veterinarian.


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