Women challenging assumptions in construction sector

Winners of the inaugural Hays NAWIC Excellence Awards have been hailed as “courageous leaders who are passionate about changing the construction sector” during last night’s awards ceremony at the Rydges Latimer in Christchurch.

The awards celebrate the outstanding achievements women are making in New Zealand’s construction industry. With 10 percent yearly growth rates predicted through to 2019 it makes sense to encourage more women to work in construction and to highlight career paths available in this exciting sector.

Outstanding leadership and a commitment to helping people reach their dreams saw architect Deborah Cranko win the Professional Woman of the Year Award.

After founding her own Wellington-based architectural practice 28 years ago, Deborah has made an ongoing contribution to sustainable design while also mentoring staff and giving back to the community as a youth line volunteer. Her future goals include creating a means to effectively communicate with the general public about seismic issues.

Mary Bartlett took out Tradeswoman of the Year for embodying the spirit of NAWIC by providing a strong voice for women in building and construction while inspiring them to join the trades in a positive and inclusive manner.

Mary has been running her own painting business called Tickled Pink for over two decades and during that time she has grown her business to 20 staff. Judges praised Mary’s ability to buck the norms and provide a platform for creativity and high quality customer service.

Lianne Cox of Studio Pacific Design and Sarah Neill of Beca were named joint winners of the Outstanding Achievement in Design Award.

Lianne leads Studio Pacific Design’s architectural heritage team and contributes widely to New Zealand’s growing heritage architecture community. Her outstanding contribution to the National War Memorial strengthening project has provided a design solution that is long lasting and robust with minimal visual impact on the structure of the building.

Sarah’s ability to navigate and direct the Wiri Correctional Facility project as lead structural engineer impressed judges who described her as a “superstar graduate”. As a new graduate, Sarah completed 75 percent of the structural design for the building complex. The award reflects her outstanding achievement in design and remarkable progress from graduate to leader in such a short space of time.

A Stronger Christchurch Infrastructure Rebuild Team (SCIRT) initiative to raise awareness of the construction roles open to women won the Helen Tippett Award for actively promoting the participation of women in construction. SCIRT created a subgroup called SCIRT Women in Construction (SWIC) initiative. Initially intended to recruit more women to fill SCIRT roles, SWIC ended up being much broader. It provided visible imagery of women in construction roles and created a Personal Protective Equipment range of gear that is tailored to fit women.

The Excellence in Construction Administration Award went to Kristina Wyschnowsky of Corbel Construction. A business excellence manager, Kristina has worked to improve the culture and performance of the company. Kristina’s work as a member of the Safety Group Steering Committee for the Canterbury Rebuild Safety Charter has been described as pivotal in keeping the momentum going.

Gail Royston won the Apprentice and Student Award for her dedication and commitment to the construction industry. Judges were impressed by her ability to balance full-time study and a full time role as a quantity surveyor for Beca. Gail is a voice for change within the construction industry which is demonstrated by her university research on the glass ceiling for women in the industry which she has shared with others in the sector.

3 comments (Add your own)

1. Elizabeth Coe wrote:
Congratulations Deb - well deserved after all the years of hard work!

We have a family connection in our office - a colleague's daughter is the current president of NAWIC Melbourne.

It is so good to see that in just over a generation, women in construction have become the norm, rather than a curiosity.

Mon, 11 May 2015 @ 9:52 AM

2. Stacey Mendonca wrote:
Many congratulations to all the Winners and Finalists in the awards. An incredible list of achievements, skills, dedication and wide ranging experiences, our Industry is richer for it.

Thanks NAWIC for launching these long overdue accolades.

Fri, 15 May 2015 @ 11:55 AM

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