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Annette Denny never intended to join the construction industry. Now, she couldn’t imagine a career in any other field.

Construction has primarily been a male-dominated industry, but, in recent years, we have seen a rise in the number of women in construction as the industry is finally breaking down gender barriers and understanding the importance of a diverse workplace. The next employee we would like to highlight is Business Manager, Annette Denny.

Annette first joined Total-Western in 2005 as a staff accountant and has since held various roles within the company, working her way up from Project Controls Lead Administrator to Business Manager. In her current role, Annette oversees project reviews along with forecasting, AR, AP, billing, and managing office managers and supervisors across all Total-Western offices.

Q: Why did you choose construction? What led you to the industry?

I began in the industry by luck. After I graduated with my bachelor’s degree, I was looking for work and one of my parent’s friends was working for Total-Western and encouraged me to apply. I was hired as an admin for the company. Once I was given the opportunity to work in the industry, I ran with it.

Q: What’s been the best part of your job so far?

The best part has been the people I work with; they have pushed and encouraged me to continue learning and growing within the company.

Q: What makes you proud of working in the construction industry?

I would say all the projects we get to work on. I am always proud to let people know that we work in electrical, refinery, energy outages, boilers, civil, mechanical…the list goes on.

Q: What has been the most memorable project of your career?

I really like teaching and training, so my favorite project that we’ve created here at Total-Western is a program called Project Review. We work closely with all the managers and help them understand how to report out on their jobs and forecasting, which gives us more visibility into the business that we didn’t have before.

Q: What has been the most surprising part of being a woman working in this industry?

The most surprising part has been learning about all the roles and projects in the industry and how much I have enjoyed being a part of them. While I’ve mostly been on the administrative side of the business, I’ve been able to learn about power plants, refineries, boilers, etc. Being able to learn all the components of the business and the work that goes into a project is interesting to me.

Q: What do you think is the most important change happening in the construction industry?  

I would have to say providing more communication and transparency to employees regarding union rights and safety guidelines. The leadership team at Total-Western has done a great job adapting and implementing new rules, regulations, and procedures to keep our employees safe.

Q: What are the advantages of being a woman in construction?

There are lots of opportunities for career growth, whether it be in administration, operations, trade work, engineering, accounting, estimating, or sales. There’s so much room to learn and grow, which I really value and appreciate.

Q: How do you think construction companies can attract more females to the industry?

I would say highlight the different roles and programs available to them. Here at Total-Western, we are working on developing several programs in civic engineering as well as creating an internship opportunity.

Q: What advice would you give to someone starting out and/or looking to start in the construction industry?

Do your research. There are many resources out there, as well as individuals working in the industry that are willing to help. Personally, when someone tells me that they want to work in this field, I like to take the time to look at their resume and highlight the skills they might already have that can help them be successful.