Alex Fraser Chooses to Challenge | International Women’s Day
March 23, 2021
This International Women’s Day we ‘choose to challenge’ the stereotypes, the gender bias, and the status quo; and strive to increase gender diversity in our business and our industry.
We proudly applaud the talented and tenacious women who work in our business as engineers, drivers, project managers, customer service officers, machine operators, IT leaders, health and safety advisors, administrators and finance officers.
These are some of their stories:
Meet Marcella Turner.
Marcella was keen to break into the industry, and the 2018 Women Drivers program was just the ticket.
“I’ve always had an interest in trucks and truck driving, so when I discovered this opportunity I took it on with arms wide open.”
“It’s proven to be a great move for me. The job is exciting, and I really love the great bunch of people I get to work with every day.”
Most of her work recently has been based out of Clarinda, working on the level crossing removal projects, delivering Class 4 wet mix. She says that every day brings something different, but her proud moments are when her family drives past a project she’s been involved in.
“I always get a bit of a buzz and a sense of achievement when I drive past a completed project with my family. It’s nice to know that I was involved in making that project happen.”
Marcella says that the team was very supportive when she first started.
“Everyone welcomed us; they were all very helpful and friendly; it’s a great working environment.”
Meet Claire Cuttler.
Claire joined Alex Fraser this month as part of Hanson Australia’s Management Development Program.
An Environmental Science (Sustainability and Management) graduate, Claire is excited to be spending the next three months at Alex Fraser, based at the Laverton Workshop. Prior to joining Hanson, Claire worked with Nike to encourage more women to participate in sport.
“My role at Nike was to increase female participation in sport. I would work with international trainers to empower women and help them feel better about themselves.”
Claire says that she hopes to make some sustainable inroads in her career with Hanson.
“I’d like to future-proof the city in a resourceful and sustainable way, and widen the sustainability culture, making it the norm rather than an afterthought.”
Meet Kylie Ramage.
In a previous life, Kylie delivered groceries for one of the major supermarkets, then in 2018 she joined Hanson Australia and Alex Fraser’s Women Drivers program. Kylie learnt to drive in the twin steer agitators in Melbourne and then moved to the Geelong plant and discovered classic ACCOs there.
Kylie says that driving in Geelong was a learning curve.
“Driving the old school ACCOs in Geelong was definitely an interesting experience, especially with the Pendants. I don’t think I’d wish them upon anyone – you either love or hate them, there’s no in-between!”
More recently she has been working in batching, based out of Geelong, but she can’t beat her desire to get behind the wheel.
“I’ve spent 99% of the time in the office lately, but I totally still want to drive.”
She feels fortunate for her recent experiences in a truck and dog.
Kylie looks back on her time so far fondly. “I absolutely love the driving experience, all round, I’ll be jumping into the trucks any chance I get.”
Meet Tegan Bowdery.
An Alex Fraser stalwart, Tegan has shone in several administrative roles over the years. This year she takes on a new challenge, having been promoted to Workshop Supervisor.
Tegan will be drawing on her strong communication skills and organisational expertise to make improvements throughout the Workshop.
“This position is a lot more hands on that my previous roles, I’m here to make sure everyone knows what they’re meant to be working on.
“My immediate main focus is Clean Site, Safe Site. It was a bit of a struggle trying to champion that remotely in 2020. It’ll be a lot easier now I’m back onsite and can work more closely with the team.”
Tegan isn’t intimidated by gender stereotypes.
“Every now and then someone from outside our company might have something to say about a woman in this role, but the guys I work with every day know that I know my stuff, and that’s what I value most.”
“I did take on this role with a bit of trepidation. I’m not a mechanic, so I have to prove my worth in other ways. I have different skills and perspectives which I bring to the team and can help inspire them to make positive changes.”
Meet Kate Lynch.
Kate first began working with Alex Fraser in 2017 and 2018 as a Swire Management Trainee, where she was assigned as project manager on the build of the new glass recycling plant at Laverton, and as a Safety Advisor for Alex Fraser Recycling.
She rejoined Alex Fraser in late 2020 as a project manager for Asphalt and Recycling, settling in quickly. An regular day for Kate includes quoting for jobs, working with contractors and managing safety on site.
She is currently overseeing the demolition of the former asphalt plant, and firming up the budget for some exciting upcoming projects.
Kate says she’d been warned about the stereotyping and gender bias that women can experience in the industry, but she has only experienced the opposite at Alex Fraser.
“It’s definitely very inclusive and supportive at Alex Fraser. I don’t feel like I’m treated differently just because I’m a woman working in construction.”
“I’m doing important work and I know I’m employed for my skills and ability, not just to fulfil a gender quota.”
“It’s fantastic to see we have women in leadership positions, but it would be better to see more!”
Meet Kimberley Nash.
Kim is a graduate of the inaugural Women Drivers Program (2018), and the first female driver at Alex Fraser to obtain her Heavy Combination license.
“As soon as I graduated, I set myself a goal to obtain my HC license. It’s been about a year now; driving a truck and dog has given me the opportunity to take on new challenges and build my confidence out at job sites.”
Kim says it’s her colleagues that make her job so enjoyable.
“I can’t believe that two years have gone by so quickly! Every day is different; challenging and mentally exhausting at times and sometimes I feel that I have to prove my worth in a traditionally male dominated industry. I think working at Alex Fraser alongside a great team of drivers is what has kept me at it.”
Kimberley says that customers always are welcoming, and often a little curious to see a woman behind the wheel.
“Many customers are still surprised when they see me drive up, and they ask me about how and why I got into trucking. They’re all really supportive; and happy to see more women in the industry.”
This year Kimberley chose to challenge herself with a new role, as Health and Safety representative for Epping Recycling’s Transport team.
Meet Natalia Leite.
Natalia chose to challenge and joined Alex Fraser as our first female civil engineer.
Working closely with the asphalt crews, Natalia engages with clients, performs site inspections to ensure safety and delivers quality projects on-time and on-budget.
Natalia says no two days are the same, as she works on managing the supply, delivery and paving one of Melbourne’s greenest roads.
“I’ve been working on the Mordialloc Freeway, a critical major project and part of Victoria’s Big Build. This is a huge project, in a major growth corridor; it stretches almost 10 kilometres.”
“In 2020 we paved 30,845 tonnes of Green Roads Asphalt on ‘the Mordi’ and this year we’re hoping to pave another 110,000 tonnes.”
Natalia says customers are becoming increasingly aware of the sustainability benefits of products.
“We affectionately call our asphalt ‘black gold’, but our customers are actually far more interested in its ‘green’ edge. The asphalt and roadbase we’re laying on the Mordialloc Freeway provide excellent sustainability outcomes. So far, this project has diverted 106,000 tonnes from landfill, recycled the equivalent of 51 million glass bottles and achieved massive carbon savings!”
Natalia chooses to challenge stereotypes in the construction industry.
“Many people are surprised to see a woman like me working in this industry. I think you can work in this industry and still embrace your femininity.”
“I’m doing this for myself, and to pave the way for the next generation of women – they need someone to aspire to.”