My name is Emma Bowie. I am a Superintendent and have spent the last 5 years building with Graham’s workforce partners. I started my career as a Project Coordinator during a summer term while I was completing NAIT’s Construction Engineering Technology program. I always knew that I wanted to work outside in a team environment and be able to see my team’s work take shape with every shift. During that summer term and my subsequent years after graduating, I spent every minute I could in the field acting as a sponge for the years of field and trade experience around me. Coworkers and crew members started recognizing my initiative and interest and started giving me more responsibility in the field – which eventually turned into an offer for a Superintendent position in 2021.
I grew up spending time on a farm and learning about the equipment, finding ways to fix things, and finding solutions to problems. It led me to strong logistics, planning and teamwork skills as well as an interest in equipment and working with my hands. I was weary about pursuing a trade out of high school as I had never met a female tradesperson (looking back now I still wish I would have had the courage). I instead chose the management side of construction and was able to blend my planning and logistics skills with my passion for building and teamwork.
As far as people on the outside looking in, there have always been and will always be skeptics of women working in construction. I’ve had a good handful of people tell me that I should stay in my lane. The doubt I’ve experienced has only motivated me more to succeed in my position. When I tell people what my job is I don’t tell them I’m a female superintendent, I just tell them I’m a superintendent.
I’ve been a part of some technically challenging and interesting builds, but the thing I’m most proud of is how I’ve learned to lead a crew. At the end of the day, it doesn’t really matter how new/fast/advanced your equipment or tools are, it’s the culture in the field that makes or breaks a job for you. Having a crew of people rally behind you to work towards a common goal is by far the most rewarding part of field supervision for me.