Our very own Julie Parker was nominated for the inaugural Missouri Women In Trades (MOWIT) Tradeswoman of the Year Award at the Blue Collar/Black Tie Gala. This inaugural event celebrated tradeswomen’s achievements as well as the great strides made by local contractors and unions to support women in the trades.
You can read the full nomination submission celebrating Julie's achievements below.
Does / did the tradeswoman experience extra hardship or barriers to entering or remaining in the trades? Examples might include physical or health barriers, situational hardships, etc.? If yes, please provide details.
As a single mother of 2 young children, in February 2007 Julie enrolled in IBEW local 1’s apprenticeship program. The course-work was challenging, especially making time for it around raising two girls while working her way up to serving as a full time apprentice. She’ll tell you it was well worth the effort and the time; and while it didn’t hurt that she was essentially joining the craft served by three generations of her family, she found that she knew what questions to ask as well as what was going to be expected of her.
Please describe how the nominee demonstrates excellence in the area of professional development and provide specific examples.
The aim of the craftsperson is always to find ways to improve the execution of a given task while assuring high quality while getting it done safely and quickly. Often this means seeking to learn new skills, new tools and sometimes new technologies. For Julie, this has meant seeking experience in challenging areas of the trade by taking on as many different types of tasks associated with electrical construction as she could. As a woman and as a third generation electrician, Ms. Parker was keen for advancement, and so she volunteered for jobs in different environments to gain valuable experience. This in turn led to her working on complex temperature control systems, and eventually moving on to heavy industrial work. It was this ambition and adaptability that led to her being selected to join the prefabrication shop at Guarantee shortly after the end of her apprenticeship in August 2011.
Please describe how the nominee demonstrates excellence in the area of advocacy for women in the building trades and provide specific examples.
For Julie, Guarantee’s 30,000 SF prefab shop has turned out to be a great place for a detail minded problem solver with a gift for communicating and teaching. First and foremost, under her leadership the Prefab shop has become a principal area of excellence in Guarantee’s approach to electrical construction. Indeed, it’s become a touchstone for nearly every project to seek the efficiencies added through prefab to the company’s constant effort to optimize production and wherever possible to reduce costs of construction. Prefabrication, as the word indicates, is focused on pre-building and optimizing all the many sub-assemblies in combinations whose staging and execution is so important to sustaining efficiency in an increasingly complex electrical construction environment. Over the most recent decade Guarantee’s Prefab operation has come to provide near daily support to nearly every one of the 450 union electricians employed by Guarantee.
Please describe the nominee's participation and efforts in their union or in volunteer activities and provide specific examples or events.
As Julie advanced with her apprenticeship studies, she happily embraced serving as an officer in Local 1’s Apprentice Club. Within that group Julie took the opportunity to join her fellow apprentices in a variety of pursuits on behalf of organized labor, including fundraising to support candidates sympathetic to working men and women. There were a number of projects as well where their electrical skills were applied, including Rebuild St. Louis and a project installing lighting to support the St. Louis Zoo’s annual Zooadoo fundraiser. In every one of these volunteer projects, Julie took advantage of the chance to do more than simply acquire a skill and move on to the next challenge. These civic opportunities gave her chance to learn about the impact of her trade on the lives of ordinary people and how it can improve the quality of life in our City.
Is there any additional information you would like to share about your nominee?
Now that Julie has had a chance put her own mark on the Prefab department, she’s especially gratified to have a regular number of apprentices come through the shop. As she puts it, teaching the values and skills of Prefab gives her a chance to teach every one of them something they take with them on their journey. Because in Prefab, just about every task is deconstructed and simplified for preassembly, whether it’s building temporary services, assembling light poles, prebuilding and wiring headwalls for patient hospital beds; bending conduit of just about every diameter, wire bundling, pre-wiring fixtures. On Julie’s watch, the Prefab shop is always trying to come up with new ideas to help the people out in the field. And because in Prefab innovation is highly valued, it’s a chance to take pride in every reconfigured task. More importantly, the net value gained through this relentless attention to process simplification has led to real efficiencies that enable Guarantee to readily compete with non-union competitors which has led to the fact that today Guarantee is enjoying its largest backlog of their 117-year history.