How and when did you get involved with Covergalls on working on this project (the women's surveyor's vest)?
Ever since I started in the construction industry I have been on the search for construction gear designed specifically for women. Whether it is steel toe boots, work pants or high visibility gear I make a point to check regularly to see what’s available, which is usually slim pickings. Every once in a while, I google “women’s high visibility” and about three years ago Covergals appeared in the search results. I became a fan of Alicia and everything she was doing to spread awareness in the mining industry, and when I joined Ledcor’s Inclusion and Diversity Council, I saw a potential for us to work together to continue spreading that message. At that time, there were little options available for high visibility vests, let alone the surveyor’s option that so many construction folks know and love.
Why do you think there is a need for this kind of product? And any specific feature you love?
This piece of clothing is actually a staple for so many people working in construction. I would say every construction management group has hundreds of these vests, and many trade groups do as well. This is a very clear identifier in commercial construction and is part of our “uniform” that we wear day in and day out, so it becomes a key piece of your identity.
I heard you initiated a women’s ppe program not only at Ledcor but across the industry! Can you please tell me more about this? Such as: How did you start that?
I don’t think that I initiated this within the industry, but maybe because I’m loud I have been heard more than others. Honestly I didn’t think much of it initially, every time I would get a new vest or jacket I had it altered. During Covid, I couldn’t go in person to a seamstress to get my new high vis jacket altered, so I altered it myself (what a mess) and posted a video to LinkedIn with the song ‘Girls! We run the World’ by Beyonce. It went a bit viral and got a lot of attention from like minded people looking for better options. Leaders at Ledcor encouraged me to start this initiative through our inclusion and diversity council and it became a passion project.
How has that journey been? It’s been both challenging and rewarding.
As a passion project, I wasn’t always able to give it the attention it needed, but now that it has come to fruition I’m so excited I’ve had the opportunity to be a small part of it.
What have you found challenging and rewarding about initiating it?
I think most folks take properly fitting clothing for granted, but as someone who doesn’t fit gender norms, and in an industry that’s mostly male, it’s something that affects how you feel. The most rewarding part is that down the road diverse folks getting into the construction industry will be able to find more clothing options that are a fit for who they are.
Where do you see the industry going, in terms of improvements to women’s ppe, in the next 10 years? What do you think, if anything, is necessary from industry partners to make this change happen?
I think it’s crucial for owners of construction projects, influential construction enterprises and the government to set standards that trickle down to the individual worker. What’s happening right now are grass roots efforts being supported by companies like Ledcor, and I think if you saw more coordination with everyone in the industry you would start to see systemic change at all levels.
Any other questions or information I didn’t ask that you think is important to share with our audience? This can be about Ledcor, your program, or the new vests.
For me, it’s just about seeing different types of people in construction, as that’s the true key to innovation and excellence.
As a staple piece of workwear, The Surveyor Vest blends together safety, comfort, and inclusivity. To purchase your own safety vest visit https://covergalls.com/