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Gretchen isn’t interested in special treatment on account of being a woman. She’s no stranger to manual labor, having grown up in the small town of Enumclaw, just ten minutes from the Rino offices. She was between going for her CNA or something in construction when an electrician friend nudged her to consider a job in the trades.
Since she likes working hard and being outside, the invitation appealed to her. She saw the job for Rino, interviewed for it, and got it on the spot.
Fast forward three years, and she’s working as a laborer and Traffic Control Supervisor for Rino. “I found my place,” she says. “Not everyone likes doing it–the traffic control. It’s a pain. You’re dealing with traffic, busy streets, the cones, the noise. But I’m good at it, and most days I like it.” Gretchen’s been dealing with the high volume of traffic on Rino’s Canyon Road job, where the crew has put in over 2 miles of sidewalk.
Where does she want to go? “I’m gonna be an operator,” Gretchen says without hesitation. I had a foreman who heard I wanted to operate, so one day at lunch he put me in one of the bigger excavators and said ‘climb out of that hole!’” Gretchen laughs, “I made it out of the hole without breaking anything or hurting anyone! And that was it for me– I was hooked.”
She doesn’t mind the outdoors, and she loves the construction industry. “Once you get used to being outside, the elements are no big deal.” Her attitude about the weather is like her take on working in a male-dominated world: “Ya gotta have thick skin. And be ready to work harder than the guys, to prove yourself. But don’t be intimidated. At the end of the day, we’re all on the same team.”Back to all stories