Today on the Rebuild SoCal Podcast, we are joined by Teresa Stevenson, an Operating Engineer for Local 12 in San Diego.
Teresa’s journey to the construction field is unique: she spent many years as a licensed vocational nurse in Missouri, which she left after ending a relationship and moving back to her home state. Though she originally planned to pursue her nursing career in Southern California, her son –– also an Operating Engineer –– encouraged her to explore operations engineering and construction. Though she was skeptical, following a negative experience working in a male-dominated field in the Midwest, she decided to take her son up on his recommendation. Fast forward to today? Teresa will tell you it’s the best thing she’s ever done.
Throughout the apprenticeship training program, Teresa was encouraged by the organization’s focus on work ethic and output. Instead of spending time reading and listening in a classroom, she was thrilled to learn things through trial and error with the mentorship of skilled veteran colleagues. She knew that with hard work and consistent effort, she would always have a valuable asset widely applicable to any workforce.
Teresa is a vocal advocate for women in her field since her experiences have been so positive. She describes her experiences as a public works inspector as cooperative and solutions-oriented. However, she has noticed that few field workers are women, and most she knows of work in administrative roles. For this reason, she’s spent a significant amount of time advocating that unions expand the number of women in the field.
Teresa wants to share the opportunities within the industry with others. She often gives her Union’s information to people she meets, wanting others to know that college is not a requirement to make a good living in Southern California. Man or woman, no matter age or experience, can find a fulfilling and freeing career as a construction worker. As Teresa shares in the episode, “I’ve done a lot of things in my life, and nothing has given me as much satisfaction as this.”
To hear more from Teresa, tune in for this week’s episode >>HERE<<.