March is National Women's History Month and to celebrate, each week we are going to be highlighting women in the trade.
She’s a proud OE3 member of over 3 years and works on a paving crew. Gina likes being able to reminisce about projects that she had a hand in building.
What’s your name?
What union are you affiliated with and how long have you been a member?
Operating Engineers Local 3 – for 3 years and 10 months. I’ll journey out this year. ?
Who do you work for?
I work for Teichert on a Paving Crew.
What made you want to join a union or what made you want to work for your company?
I didn’t know that I wanted work for a union at first. I found my apprenticeship a little later in life than most apprentices. I had just returned to California in 2009 after living in Australia for 5 years. In the middle of the recession I had no transferable job skills or references. Employers in California weren’t going to take the time to call up past employers in Australia to verify skills. I ended up in a job as an administrative assistant sitting at a desk with no benefits, no pension, and no options to promote. Scraping by paycheck to paycheck, I knew I needed to find something better. In Australia, apprenticeships are hugely popular and there are tons of programs to help you get started. I began to research apprenticeships in California looking for something I felt like I could do. One link led to another and I found OE3. It was as easy as filling out an application and taking an assessment.
What is your favorite part of your job?
The constantly changing projects and the camaraderie. I love how close knit our crew is, it really makes the job enjoyable. I’m happy to wake up and go to work in the mornings. The constantly changing work environment keeps things interesting. And of course, there is the operating machinery that every little kid daydreams about.
What are you most proud of at your job? What is your most significant achievement/favorite project?
I like being able to go back to a project and say “I helped build that”. It’s pretty incredible to look at something like a hospital or a school and know that you had a part in creating it.
To date my favorite project has been the I -5 job in Willows. Our whole team was awarded silver belt buckles when we finished for doing such a good job. That was kind of a big deal for me.
What do you want other women to know if they join the trades?
College isn’t the only path to a rewarding career. Identifying my capability has been both rewarding and fulfilling. Learning a trade opened up doors I’d not considered before, so don’t be afraid to explore here. It’s been the best decision for my career.
What do you like to do outside of work?
Outside of work, I enjoy participating in Endurance Riding with my horse, hiking, paddleboarding, and traveling.