Breaking Barriers: TNBA Recognizes Women in Construction Week

Posted: March 2, 2023

Panel of speakers at a Fiber Broadband association conference and construction workers working on a road

The construction industry has never been as popular a career path for women as it is for men, but that hasn’t stopped two employees of the Mears Group. Heather Gold and Sada McGee have helped break down barriers in their field.

A TNBA Platinum Member organization, Mears Group offers engineering, construction and maintenance services in the oil, natural gas, electric and telecommunications industries.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, women make up nearly 11% of the construction workforce, and McGee and Gold are both ready to celebrate Women in Construction Week, March 5 through 11.

“I was the first female to work in the water distribution department in the city of Bloomington, Illinois,” McGee says, referring to her position before she joined Mears. “I drove a dump truck to fix water main breaks and replace fire hydrants. I got a lot of strange looks, so I always felt an extra drive to try harder to get people to take me seriously.”

As the current subsurface and damage prevention safety manager at Mears Group, McGee tries to overturn preconceived notions some may have about women in the construction industry.

“Once people took me seriously I didn’t feel different anymore,” says McGee. “It makes me feel proud that I was able to win people over, but it didn’t come easily.”

Like McGee, Gold is one of several women in key roles at Mears Group. She spends her time working to advance the image and visibility of Mears Group as the vice president of external affairs for the company’s broadband division.

“A lot of my work is speaking engagements at meetings and conferences, and making sure our other executives have exposure to discuss broadband development,” Gold says. “There’s also a lot of time spent to identify opportunities from regulatory change.”

Whether they’re out in the field or in the office, women play vital roles in the construction industry — opportunities which Gold and McGee hope to help expand.

“It’s not like as a young girl I was dreaming of fixing water main breaks, but I actually really enjoyed it,” McGee says. “Now, as I help with directional drilling in the field as part of the broadband safety team, it’s been fantastic. I always encourage people to never set any limitations on yourself. Anything is possible.”