Behind every successful woman is her inspiring story and that’s what happened here. Just like most entrepreneurs, it was never an easy journey for Jane Gowing to start her own construction company back in 1998. It was still a time when the construction business was mainly dominated by men, and had many social stigmas attached to it. However, with her zeal and motivation, she persevered and with the help of her super supportive stepfather, Jane founded Gowing Contractors.
Life before Gowing Contractors
Jane Gowing, President of Gowing Contractors has always had an entrepreneurial spirit. At the age of six, she started her candle making business and sold them by going door to door. After joining high school, she started working for her stepfather, who had a construction company and which led her to choose engineering later on. After graduation, Jane applied to a number of engineering firms with the hope of seeing both sides of construction. Due to the market at the time, she ended up staying in construction.
With days passing by, she found satisfaction and motivation in taking a hole in the ground to a completed facility. Working in the construction industry was a challenge as it was male dominated and one really needs to have a certain mindset as a woman, to enter the industry. After a successful 18 year career working for her stepfather, Jane decided to start her own business. With his support, Gowing Contractors started its journey in Jane’s basement. It was a challenge to run the office as one person, and Jane focused on hiring key support personnel. Initially, Jane’s thought was to run a small business, but her company grew at rapidly over the first 3 years, and as it grew, the focus changed.
The company is currently expanding its role in the municipal market and is in a growth phase.
The Motivational Factors and Challenges
Jane lives on a very simple philosophy. According to her, ‘Everyone has their own challenges in life. One can either use those challenges as an excuse for failure or one can use them as a reason to be successful.’
As per the President, Jane Gowing, hiring is one of the biggest challenges to the construction industry. There’s a shortage of talent entering the industry, and while there are many talented people they are already committed to their employers. There is a big gap between people who are looking to retire and young people coming to the industry. Gowing is committed to putting its valuable time and money to train and hire young talents, but there is still a gap, due toalack of skilled workers.
Financing is another problem that the construction business houses are facing these days. Lack of financing is hurting the industry to its core.
Services that Helps the Community
Gowing Contractors has specialized in municipal water and wastewater construction since 1998, utilizing high levels of workmanship, effective and efficient problem solving to maintain consistency. With its growing reputation, the company has also worked on some big projects in Toronto. Jane also confirmed that the company fabricates stainless steel and carbon steel piping systems for both its internal requirements and for a variety of other clients.
Learning is the Key
According to Jane, she and her colleagues at Gowing Contractors are very proactive when it comes to researching sources of continuing education for the staff. She also encourages them to independently look for courses that will benefit both them and the company. A quality assurance program has also been implemented throughout all the aspects of the company and recognizes those employees who go over and above in order to encourage participation.
Currently, the construction company is growing at a phenomenal pace. The Canadian government has committed to investing aconsiderable amount of money into infrastructure projects. Jane’s goal is to utilize this opportunity to continue the growth of the company over the next five years. She also added that, in order to create the necessary growth, Gowing is looking to develop strategic partnerships to assist in expanding the scope of the company.
Women’s Growth in Construction Industry
Jane has been in the industry for quite some time, and she says that women have become much more active in the consulting engineering and owner project management roles. There is a noticeable difference in the total number of women one can see involved in these projects. Sadly though, the growth of women on the construction side has not kept pace. It can be a very rewarding career opportunity but due to some remaining social stigmas, women still seem reluctant to go into construction.
Defining Success and Goals
Success for Jane is to be able to create a team of people who enjoy coming to work, who support and respect each other & believe they are an important part of the success of the company. She also adds that success is building a business that is respected for its quality, integrity, and honesty.
Her goal over the next five years is to continue the growth of the company, with a combination of experienced and young people, who are excited about the future potential. She also aspires to develop a succession plan that will eventually allow employees to bring out the entrepreneurial spirit within themselves.
Working on Managing Work-Life Balance
When it comes to managing work-life balance, Jane is still working hard to achieve that. According to her, when everything falls on the line, one tends to focus more on work, rather than personal life. Having a supportive spouse makes all the difference. Making that personal time for yourself is important, even when it is not balanced perfectly.
Suggestions for Aspiring Working Women
Always believe in yourself. You can do anything you want if you are willing to put the effort in. Do not let anyone tell you otherwise.