Twist Of Fate Leads To Construction Industry Career
Women’s History Month commemorates the vital role women have played in American history every March. Blattner is highlighting the remarkable women who work here. They are building renewable energy for a brighter tomorrow across the country.
Mary Simmons’ story is a perfect example of perseverance. Simmons, a commissioning foreperson for Blattner Energy, took control of her life – and career – and found hope in a new direction.
An accident can happen to anyone at any time.
But for Simmons, the accident with her father’s old Buick LeSabre came at what felt like one of the toughest times in her life.
When the accident happened, she lost not only her car, but also her job at the time.
“My kids were still in school – I needed a job. I was fearful of what I would do next,” Simmons said.
Not long after the accident, Mary’s son got wind of a construction company – Blattner Energy – that was hiring on a nearby commercial solar project.
A Fresh Start & New Challenges
Simmons’ first day on the job at Blattner Energy was as a spotter for an excavator operator. It was a day she’ll never forget.
“That excavator was the most beautiful thing I’ve ever seen. People laugh at me when I’ve said that, but it’s the truth,” Simmons said. “I had never been around heavy machinery before. I was so in awe of what was around me.”
She eventually moved on to wire management and now has been a commissioning foreperson for the past two years. Her jobsites have been all over the country and the travel is something Simmons has enjoyed. Her goal is to eventually become a superintendent in commissioning. She’s even contemplated going back to school to learn more about the electrical side of renewable energy.
Before getting a job in construction, Simmons thought of it as a “man’s job.” However, she has noticed a steady increase in the number of women she works with on-site.
“I honestly didn’t think there were any women in construction before I started at Blattner,” Simmons said. “I just didn’t comprehend it. But we’re women. Once we get our foot in the door, we can do anything.”
Mary Simmons at her recent solar energy job site.
No Slowing Down
Simmons doesn’t see herself slowing down anytime soon. She views construction as her last full-time job.
“This is how I’m going to retire,” she said. “I never thought I would be a foreperson. But now I’ve been in this position for two years. My co-workers believe in me. They know if they give me a task that I’m going to get it accomplished.”
Besides her children, Mary’s work family means the most to her.
“We look after each other,” Simmons said. “We all wear the same uniform every day. We love each other through the hard times, and the good.”