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As part of the #BuildingEquality Campaign, Mary-Catherine Greene, Program Manager, Glenveagh Properties, shares her story as a woman in construction.
As far back as I can remember I’ve always loved engineering, figuring things out, making things – helped along by Lego no doubt! Thinking about it I probably had some heavy influencers toward construction and a practical work approach. I blame my parents! a Donegal farming background combined with life in Chicago, as we used to split our time between both. It let me see how diverse the world was and just how possible anything was. In Donegal (home) it was farming, building, being outside in the country; in Chicago it was highways and high-rises. I learned about plumbing from my grandpa, electrics from my uncle, building from my cousins, drainage from my dad. In Chicago I had my first job in construction – nothing glamorous – I got to sweep the floor! Important though! as I learned first-hand about construction and all the different ways of doing things – progress of work, timelines, snagging, completion and even client opinions. That job taught me the necessity of good housekeeping, how it aided a safe working environment and impresses the clients by making progress very visible.
For college I went to DIT Bolton street studying Civil Engineering – I loved it. I met my best friend there on my first day in college, we were two of five girls that started in engineering that year and we have been joined at the hip ever since! After my first year in college, I got a summer job with a Civil and Structural engineering firm in Dublin, I stayed for over seven years, starting out as a Junior Engineer and moving to the construction team as a Project Manager. I really enjoyed the work; there was a large variety of projects, great people and I was always encouraged to try new projects. It was in this job that I learned how important it is to get to know your trades crew and that very often there is sage advice available.
During the recession I moved to the M&E sector. This was interesting as I was learning all types of new engineering applications and developing my PM skills. I got to work on some fantastic, prominent buildings in London as well as projects throughout the UK and Europe. While here I realised how much I enjoyed planning, preparing, managing and seeing projects come to life, so I decided it was time to upskill and get some professional recognition of my PM abilities. I completed a BSc. in Construction Project Management at IT Sligo followed by an MSc in Construction and Project Management from Queen’s University in Belfast.
In 2018 I joined Glenveagh as their Program Manager, responsible for the construction portfolio and looking at ways we can continually improve what we do and how we do it – focusing on new technologies, improving our processes, becoming leaner and driving sustainability. It’s a really enjoyable role and being on the developer’s side brings a new set of challenges which are very different from those I had experienced in consultancy and sub-contracting.
I love construction. I would encourage anyone with the slightest interest in it, to go for it. It is the most fantastic career with unlimited opportunities. There are so many areas under the construction umbrella, so much room to do things and so much space to create. Personally, I’ve never felt like the industry or parts of it have been off-limits to me. My personal perspective is that knowledge, hard work, determination and being fluid in problem solving is the way to go and loving what I do! However, I think the industry needs to work on its optics to show just how diverse it is, how vast and varied it is, and to highlight that opportunities within it are for everyone.
To learn more about the #BuildingEquality campaign and to share your own story, please visit our dedicated page here