Categories: Success StoryWomen

This woman is breaking barriers as the first female heavy equipment operator in her company

Data from the National Association of Women in Construction shows women make up less than 10% of the construction industry in the U.S. Despite the low representation of women in the construction industry, there are women in the field in southeast Michigan who are willing to bring in more women.

One of them is Lauren Davis, a heavy equipment operator based in Detroit. She considers her occupation a dream come true and aims to bring in more women to shatter stereotypes and break barriers in her field. 

“You might come across a few men who might say, ‘Hey, you should be at home with the kids cooking and cleaning,’ but hey, I want to make money too; I have to pay bills and take care of my kids,” she told Click On Detroit.

Davis grew up watching her father work in the same business. And according to her, the profession has been embedded in her since she was a little girl. 

“It was just something embedded in me as a little girl, and I just said I’m going to be in that machine one day,” Davis said.

Today, she not only operates an excavator, but she is also the first woman to do it for her company. She works for Gayanga Co., a company that was contracted alongside others for demolitions in the city of Detroit.

“We have about 40 employees, and I would say we have about 10 women, half in the office and half in the field,” said Gayanga Co. Vice President LaCresha Turner.

Interestingly, one of the people coordinating the demolitions is also a woman.

“I think it’s important for women to be able to work anywhere they want to work and to thank companies that open opportunities for women to do that work,” Linda Montgomery, field operations manager with the Detroit Construction and Demolition Department, said. “I thank the city of Detroit for being open to that; our director is a woman.”

Collectively, these women aim to encourage more women to enter a largely male-dominated field. 

“When I was in school, I went to DPS,” said Turner. “I was inspired by a young black engineer who kind of led me down my path, so I’d love to do that for others. I’m a proponent of skilled trades, and so if you don’t want to go to college, there’s another path that provides a great living wage and phenomenal benefits.”

Abu Mubarik

Abu Mubarik is a journalist with years of experience in digital media. He loves football and tennis.

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