Women in Industry: Part 2, Jen Mutas, Safety Officer
Interview & Writing by Jen Adams
We celebrate the women who have worked with Bigfoot and who have demonstrated a strong work ethic, great skills, and grit.
On the right in the photo above is Safety Officer, Jen Mutas (In Part 1, we interviewed the woman on the left, Sandra Allard, Crane Technician).
We sat down with Jen to hear about her experiences working in the construction industry and her vision for its future. Jen exemplifies Bigfoot’s values of passion, innovation, precision, and care.
Interview with Jen:
Q: What do you find the most motivating or exciting about working in the construction industry?
A: I’ve always loved construction and been fascinated with cranes. I love the challenge of this industry; there are always new things to think about and new problems to solve. Every day is different, it’s never a cookie-cutter desk job. I also love working with veterans of the industry, asking them what they’re doing and why they’re doing it that way. But mostly I love the pride of a finished job. Cranes are so necessary to construction, and it’s exciting to go by a job site and see one of our cranes up. The feeling of completion from a job that’s come full circle is awesome.
Q: What has been the greatest challenge for you as a woman?
A: Honestly, my greatest challenge has been internal more than external. I’ve always been uneasy with failure, so I work hard to avoid it. People always assume that it must be hard for me as a woman in construction, but I’m not the one paving the way. So many other amazing women have gone before me and done that. Sure, there have been experiences as a woman that I would like to forget, but the good has by far outweighed the bad. So, I’ve always worked hard to do my job right. I focus my energy to go above and beyond to prove that I can do this job.
Q: How has working at Bigfoot impacted your career?
A: Tower cranes and cranes have always piqued my interest. I started working in general contracting, and so it’s nice to have a more focused career in one specific area that I’m passionate about. It’s also been great to learn the more technical and mechanical side of the job and understand how things work. Being at Bigfoot has been great because I work with such amazing people. This is a high-pressure job. If a crane goes down for a day or two it can have huge consequences. So, working to solve these problems alongside people who have great attitudes makes it a lot easier, because we can work as a team to solve them.
Q: What would you say to women who are considering starting careers in construction today?
A: Just do it. Every job has challenges that you can’t get away from. In construction, people might assume you can’t do things because you’re a woman, but women have advantages in this industry too. Don’t be afraid to try it. Give it a shot. There is so much room to move around, and so much potential. You can do whatever you want. You might start as a flagger, but you don’t have to stay there if you don’t want to. Work hard, and you can do anything.
Q: What would be your vision for the next generation of women in construction?
A: For this to just not be an issue anymore. You should be valued for your worth on the job. We shouldn’t say, “Oh, she’s really good for a girl,” we should be saying, “she’s really good,” period. And we’re getting closer to that. But the wage gap is still a brutal issue at some places. I haven’t had any problems at Bigfoot, but I used to work with a guy who was less qualified than me, and he got paid $3,000 more a year. So, I guess I would say fair pay regardless of gender is what I’m after. Then we can stop talking about the issue and just work hard.