[LMB] Construction

Bart Kemper bkemper at bigdogz.com
Sun, 23 Nov 2003 21:43:37 -0600

> I think McCaffrey/Ball are a bit behind the times...the trend in
> heavy equipment has been away from heavy control forces for quite
> some time.  Especially for heavy equipment that requires skilled
> operators.  What has been driving this is less gender equality,
> and more on-the-job injuries...it is expensive in a lot of ways
> when your star heavy equipment operator is out for a year with a
> torn rotator cuff.

Agreed.  When I was running a Combat Support Equipment unit the best 
grader operator I had was a female.  The second best dozer operator was 
a female (the male who was better had 15 years more experience...and was 
very happy to mentor the young engineer soldier who happened to be 
female because this soldier WANTED to learn).  Give it all another five, 
10 years and you'll see a lot more females in top positions in 
construction.  It's one of those fields where what you are is not near 
as important as how good you are, and very little these days is PURE 
bulk strenth.  If you're willing to work hard, work steady, work safe 
and bust your ass the same as those around you, you do well.  I don't 
see the next generation having any signficant issues with females in 
construction at this rate...due to the advances in machinery and 
workplace rules (OSHA took out a lot of the brute force), it has become 
a more popular alternative to being a secretary, etc. for females.

At least, that is the way it is down in Louisiana and Texas.  I can't 
vouch for areas that have more union rules or have a more 'macho' 
culture due to the backgrounds of the worker pool, and whether or not 
any of that is an issue, either.

Interestingly, in the area where there is little heavy lifting 
(physically), women are still lagging heavily in engineering, 
particularly outside of Civil and Computer.  This is, unfortunately, due 
to the (hopefully previous) tendency to push women away from math in 
high school.  It's an 8-10 year lag between what is going on in 
highschool and how many make it past the first few years of engineering 
practice (the internship, if licensure is an issue).  Hopefully that is 
changing.  Its certainly not an issue for those currently 
practicing...again, if you know your stuff (and can take the 
full-contact nature of engineering criticism and review), that is what 
is more important.