There are plenty of educational programs out there to get school girls more interested in math, science and engineering — and it’s now far more common to see women working in a company’s CAD department. Though that challenge is far from over.
The construction industry, however, remains a man’s world.
Wyoming native Susan Miller has worked the past 27 years as pipefitter in industrial construction. She’s a rare sight, but gets great career satisfaction out of her chosen profession. Susan has previously worked as a nurse’s aide, a florist and cocktail waitress, but pipefitting gives her more of a sense of daily accomplishment.
She shares her life story and encounters with workplace discrimination in a new memoir, “History of Pipe Dream.” Winning With DraftSight recently caught up with her for a candid Q & A exchange…
DRAFTSIGHT: Why is it so unusual for a woman to be a pipefitter? When you were a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
SUSAN: There are very few women in the field of industrial construction probably because they have been told it is hard work and not a good place for women. I am a woman who always felt I could do anything I wanted to if I applied myself. Pipefitting is a demanding job, but the gratification I get from looking at a pipe system that I put in that will be there long after I am gone does not compare to anything else I have ever done.
I grew up on a farm and worked hard as a young child. I really did not know what I wanted to be. I knew in junior high that I did not want a career that kept me indoors in an office nor did I want to work with the same people for the rest of my life. I remember when I was in my home education class that I really wanted to be in the welding class with my brother, but women were not allowed to take that course. When I found construction, it just seemed to be a perfect fit.
DRAFTSIGHT: When and where was your first pipefitting job? Did you experience any discrimination, prejudice, name-calling or resistance at that job or over the years? Read More