From Work Boots To Business Suits

Fluor's Amanda McCarthy, construction manager

As one of the world’s largest publicly traded engineering, procurement, construction (EPC) and maintenance companies, Fluor designs, builds, and maintains capital-efficient facilities for clients on six continents and delivers comprehensive solutions across a broad spectrum of industries including energy and chemicals, government, advanced technologies and life sciences, infrastructure and power, mining and metals, and operations and maintenance.

Fluor established a Canadian presence over 70 years ago and is proud to be a national leader in the delivery of client-focused solutions. The company has been at the forefront of many of this country’s most prominent developments, and has now turned its eye toward embedding a commitment to diversity and inclusion at the forefront of that legacy.

In 2011, Fluor Canada introduced its employees to GROW — Growing Representation and Opportunity for Women. GROW is an internal and entirely employee-driven initiative that encourages both women and men to collaboratively work towards cultivating opportunities that attract, retain, and develop women into leadership roles across the business. Promoting a greater gender diversity, GROW provides a framework to leverage the complementary skill sets of women and men working together at all levels of business and drives innovation, engagement, and excellence in execution.

While diversity is a priority in GROW, there is an emphasis on inclusion in these efforts. GROW isn’t simply striving to achieve statistics, it is intended to ensure that every person feels comfortable, included, and confident in their position within the company.

Since its inception, GROW has been championed at Fluor Canada’s headquarters in Calgary. This year, however, one of Fluor Canada’s mega projects — the LNG Canada liquefied natural gas export facility in Kitimat, B.C. — will be the first to leverage GROW at the worksite, thanks to the efforts of two senior leaders. Ian Swanbeck, deputy construction director and vice president and Amanda McCarthy, construction manager, have been active in GROW for many years and saw an opportunity to support women on the project by expanding this initiative to include sub-contractor and self-performing craft talent.

Developing female talent and construction leaders in the field is a primary focus of taking this initiative to site, and through this process, a site subcommittee has been built and named ACT — Accelerating Craft Talent. ACT aims to engage craft talent seeking to advance within their trade or to further their career into a supervisory or management role. Both GROW and ACT will be available to all personnel at the LNG Canada project site.

“As a senior leader on the project and the proud father of three daughters, I am keenly aware of the talent that women bring to the workforce. My role, and the role of every leader on this project, is to ensure that we support diverse and inclusive project teams,” says Swanbeck.

Despite comprising 50 per cent of the working population, women in British Columbia currently represent just fewer than five per cent of a typical construction workforce — a statistic that made this project the perfect place to introduce Fluor Canada’s inaugural site-based GROW committee.

Some of the additional benefits that this new opportunity will afford workers at the LNG Canada project site include mental health support. Being away from loved ones is challenging at best, and these initiatives provide an outlet and a network of women and men who are undergoing the same experiences. The project’s director, Phil Clark, emphasized why these efforts are more important now than ever and how it is a positive step for the project.

“Although the number of women currently working at the site is twice the provincial average, we’ve only just begun and have many further opportunities ahead. I am delighted to support the GROW and ACT initiatives on our worksite and to expand our representation of women, particularly in the trades; especially because of the mental health benefits that programs like these will provide. In our ambition to be the Safest Project on Earth, dedicating time and assets to craft talent that demonstrate a commitment to our values will only bring us closer to our goal,” says Clark.

To deepen the impact of GROW and ACT, the project also partners with Women Building Futures (WBF) and LNG Canada to offer employees a dedicated program entitled Your Place. Your Place is a four-week program that assists women with transitioning onto the project while determining the goals and objectives of their career path. Upon completion of the four week program, they are hired directly onto the LNG Canada project and the program will then be offered to the next team of women. The underlying purpose of this program is to ensure that every woman is given the same opportunity to advance their career while being part of the LNG Canada project.

McCarthy, who will speak about the project and these programs at a conference for Groundbreaking Women in Construction in San Francisco this coming May, is deeply invested in ensuring that every woman at site has access to resources designed to ensure their success. McCarthy has an array of work experience, having started in the industry as an apprentice ironworker and then working her way up to a construction manager at Fluor on one of the company’s biggest projects. She will attest to her experience going from her work boots to her business suit in her presentation later this year.

“At a minimum, we want to ensure that all women, including graduates of Your Place, have the support and mentorship to continue their careers on the project. I am committed to paying it forward to our next generation of women in construction and will strive to provide them with the same level of support that I've been given throughout my career,” says McCarthy.

Throughout 2020, McCarthy and Swanbeck will roll out GROW and ACT in combination with Your Place at the worksite to not only increase the number of women on the project, but to expand Fluor’s inclusive culture beyond the office and into worksites.

Since 1949 Fluor Canada has been involved in the engineering, procurement and construction of a wide range of energy related projects that are spread across the Canadian landscape. Today, we provide a complete range of fully integrated solutions for all types of facilities including liquefied natural gas (LNG), refineries, oil sands and heavy oil upgraders, steam assisted gravity drainage (SAGD) recovery, petrochemicals, chemicals, gas processing, power, mining, as well as pipelines, utilities and offsites, infrastructure and revamps of existing facilities. Our experience as a full-service contractor with extensive process design capabilities is unmatched in Canada.

Throughout our 70-year history in Canada, Fluor has provided local, regional and international clients with our full-service capabilities, which include economic evaluations, conceptual engineering, feasibility studies, program management, detailed engineering, procurement, transportation and logistics, modularization, fabrication, direct-hire construction, construction management, commissioning, start-up, operations and maintenance.

Our employees across Canada have the experience, leading-edge tools, systems and procedures to deliver customized solutions that meet our clients’ needs. We are committed to delivering high-quality, safe and cost-effective project solutions.

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