Jenny Crozier has blazed her own trail in the construction industry, working hard to inspire young women to explore the trades as a career path. As the owner of Crozier Construction Services LLC, and a children's book author, Jenny's journey in construction is not just about building structures, but also about constructing a path for future generations of women in a male-populated field. CONEXPO-CON/AGG 365 spoke with Jenny about her inspiring journey, where she offered insights and advice for women navigating the construction industry.
The Spark of a Construction Career
Jenny's journey into construction began with a lifelong passion for hands-on work. "I have always been around blue collar. I have enjoyed getting dirty and working with my hands for as long as I can remember," she explains. Now, she oversees a range of projects in Crozier Construction Services LLC, from residential builds to remodels, bringing creativity and diversity to each task. "The diversity in opportunity and being able to create and build," Jenny says, is what she loves most about her job.
Inspiring Future Generations through Literature
Beyond the construction site, Jenny writes children's books about the trades. Her goal? To show kids, especially girls, that careers in trades are a viable option. "I have seen first-hand the excitement in young kids, especially girls, when they realize that this is an actual option for them in their future," she shares.
Education and Empowerment: Heavy Equipment Certification
Jenny's commitment to education is evident in her involvement with the heavy equipment certification program at Snow College. As the first female and student to complete the program, she's now focused on encouraging more females to join. Her approach combines practical simulator training with academic learning, aiming to spark interest in younger generations, especially women, in the trades.
The Role of Social Media in Empowering Women
Jenny understands the importance of positive role models and uses social media as a platform to engage and encourage women. "To show the positive outweighs the negative is at the forefront of my posts," she says, addressing the need to counteract any negativity in the industry.
Continuous Learning Over Formal Education
Jenny's educational journey didn't include a college degree, but she places high value on continuous learning through certifications and continuing education. Her advice to the next generation is to embrace whatever educational or training opportunities are available and to have a willingness to do the work. "I do not have a degree. I have certifications in things, and I do continuing education," she explains, advocating for a personalized approach to education and training.
Work-Life Balance: A Realistic Approach
Jenny acknowledges the challenges of balancing work and life, especially in a demanding industry like construction. She advises finding a balance that ebbs and flows with work seasons and emphasizes the importance of spending quality time with family, even integrating them into work when possible. "Work is always going to be there…it’s very important to try and find that balance with your home life and work life," she advises, underscoring the need to find a personal equilibrium.
Motherhood and Career: A Dual Strength
As a mother, Jenny speaks candidly about the dual role of being a parent and a professional. "There is nothing easy about the job called ‘Mom’ – part of helping them succeed is allowing ourselves success also," she reflects, emphasizing the importance of setting an example for her children. As a mother, Jenny knows the challenges and power of motherhood in the construction industry. She believes in showing her children the strength of a female role model and the importance of pursuing one's own dreams while supporting their aspirations.
Mentorship and Giving Back
Throughout her career, Jenny has been supported by mentors and, in turn, has become a mentor to others. She highlights her involvement with various organizations like NAWIC and Empowering Women In Industry, focusing on community outreach and supporting women in the industry. "I try to reach out and mentor and help anyone who’s needing that support," Jenny states, highlighting her commitment to lifting others up.
Observations and Challenges in a Male-Populated Industry
Jenny has witnessed a significant increase in women's interest in trades and improvements in workwear and PPE for women. While she prefers the term 'male populated' over 'male dominated', she acknowledges the physical challenges and emphasizes the need for creative problem-solving. On overcoming industry challenges, Jenny remarks, "I think, for the most part, if you work hard and use your skills these barriers become nonissues."
Advice for Aspiring Women in Construction
For women entering the field, her advice is straightforward: "Be willing to learn, to ask for help, and allow yourself to own your own power." She emphasizes the importance of joining supportive groups like NAWIC.
The Future of Women in Construction
Jenny envisions a future where the most significant change in the construction industry for women is acceptance and support. She believes that the industry is opening up to women, but mutual respect is key to making it more inclusive. "Blue collar is like family...there is so much opportunity for everyone…there is a job for everyone with every ability level available."
Connect with Jenny on Instagram: @thecommittedbuilder.
Learn more about Jenny’s construction books for children here.
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Photo credit: Jenny Crozier