During Women in Construction Week, we will be spotlighting the women of CCG who are paving the way and advancing our industry! Next up is Chelsea Vetick, Safety Manager at Chesapeake Contracting Group. Chelsea started her career in safety with a focus on general industry, but then transitioned over to residential construction through an association. Chelsea’s most memorable moment in construction was when she was conducting a stand-down on fall prevention and asked all the attendees to pull up a picture of someone who was important in their lives. Most pulled up pictures of husbands, wives, children, parents or even pets. Chelsea explained, “Those reasons…right there, are why you strive to work safely every day. If not for yourself, do it for them.” This moment, and the gratitude of the attendees afterward, stays with her to this day. She believes there are three traits that a person needs in order to be successful in this industry: dependability, adaptability and personability.
1. What led you to choose construction as your career path?
I started my career in safety with a focus in general industry. I was presented the opportunity to shift my focus and support the residential construction community in safety through an association. I thought it would be an excellent opportunity to expand my safety knowledge and support an industry that is continually changing.
2. Who inspires you and why?
My mom! I think for the majority of my career, I’ve really looked to her for advice on how to navigate the day-to-day challenges and accomplishments of working in such a fast paced and sometimes complex industry. Her path was somewhat similar to mine in regard to working in a male dominated industry and she has not only helped me to bring a creative perspective to the table but also instill confidence.
3. What do you like most about being a Safety Manager?
The most satisfying aspect about being a Safety Manager is the ability to educate and inspire others on a subject that typically is seen sometimes as a restrictive part of the job. Relaying innovative ways that can make work not only easier but safer so workers can go home to their families every evening is very rewarding.
4. What advice would you give a young woman who's considering entering into construction? I would say, now is a great time to become involved in the construction industry. It’s a chance for you to standout, bring a fresh perspective, pave the way for others who follow in your footsteps. Find a mentor who is familiar with your work in the industry that can help you along the way. Don’t be discouraged if you face challenges, they will only make you stronger!
5. What is your most memorable moment working in construction?
My most memorable moment in construction was when I was conducting a stand-down on fall prevention for a former employer. I had asked all of the attendees to pull out their phones and pull up a picture of someone who was important in their lives. Most pulled up pictures of husbands, wives, children, parents or even pets. I said, “Those reasons…right there, are why you strive to work safely everyday. If not for yourself, do it for them”. I had at least 3 workers come up to me following the standdown and empathize their appreciation for that reminder and gratitude for the information I was passing along to educate them on working safely. That genuine gratitude stays with me to this day, that what I do every day has a significant purpose.
6. What is your favorite or most challenging project you have worked on or been a part of?
One of my favorite projects that I was involved with focused on public/visitor safety around an animal exhibit. Our team was tasked with ensuring the exhibit was properly barricaded while maintaining the aesthetics and not inhibiting the visitor experience. It was the combined efforts from all parties of the project team that made the final product successful. A very unique and challenging experience - it was my first real project involvement as a safety professional.
7. What traits does a person need to be successful in the construction industry?
If I had to choose three, they would consist of:
1. Dependability – “You are only as good as your team” – Dominique Wilkins. For projects to run smoothly, it takes a team and its important to show you can provide the support necessary to aid in its success.
2. Adaptability – Things are constantly changing onsite. Whether it’s the drawings, the timeline of material arriving, or the weather causing a delay – being able to adapt quickly to change is crucial.
3. Personability– The ability to form lasting relationships with other employees of the company, subcontractors and clients is so important. Building that trust and familiarity only sustains your success for the future.