‘A force of nature in steel-toed boots’

Sooke plumber a champion for women in trades

It’s been a long and sometimes difficult road for Sooke’s Mary-Anne Bowcott, the owner of Westcom Plumbing and Gas.

Today, she is a business owner, a journeyman plumber, a class B gasfitter, and a certified steep slope roofer – and this week she was named the Canadian Construction Association person of the year.

But 15 years ago, when she was trying to break into the construction business, she had a hard time getting anyone to take her seriously.

Of course, she was 18 years old at the time, with no experience in the construction field. She was also female and, at less than 100 lbs., she did not fit the stereotypical image expected of a construction worker.

“This was something I wanted to do and when I say I’m going to do something I guess I have a bit of a stubborn streak. I don’t like being told that I can’t. It makes me want to do it even more,” said Bowcott when asked about her start in the construction trades.

It was that combination of drive, energy, determination and intelligence and, yes, maybe a bit of stubbornness, that have allowed Bowcott to put her mark on Greater Victoria’s construction scene.

“She certainly deserves the award,” said Lisa Stevens, the chief operating officer of the BC. Construction Association.

“She was one of the founding members of the B.C. Tradeswomen Association, she’s on the governance committee for the Builders Code that was launched on International Women’s Day to work toward the promotion of women in the construction trades, and she has advocated for women in construction both in word and action.”

As the owner of Westcom Plumbing, Bowcott she has taken on several women who now work for her firm, although she stops short of saying that the choice of hiring women was a planned effort.

“I’m always looking for plumbers and it just so happened that a lot of the resumés I get are from women,” said Bowcott. “I know that some men don’t want to work for a woman, especially a young business owner.”

The latest award is not the first time Bowcott has been honoured.

RELATED: BUSINESS OWNER HONOURED

In 2017 and 2018 she received the Sooke Chamber of Commerce’s Trade and Skilled Labour Excellence Award and in April 2018 she was awarded the B.C. Construction Association’s Provincial Construction Leadership Award, which recognized her for her company’s work in employing and supporting female construction workers.

Her work also extends to a variety of speaking engagements where she does her best to inspire other women to explore their possibilities.

“Someone gave me a chance years ago, and it changed my life. If I manage to change one person’s life in return, it’s my way of giving back,” said Bowcott.

That giving back includes supporting the Fill a Dream Foundation and occasionally attending Girl Guides’ functions to inspire girls to consider unconventional possibilities in their own lives.

“Mary-Anne is certainly deserving of all the recognition she gets,” said Stevens.

“She is a force of nature in steel-toed boots.”



mailto:tim.collins@sookenewsmirror.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

 

Mary-Anne Walcott has been described as “a force of nature in steel-toed boots.” (Contributed)

Just Posted

Crooner classics past and present in spotlight, courtesy of Ken Lavigne

Vancouver Island tenor prepares for upcoming concert tour of Let Me Be Frank!

It’s here: tackling opioid addiction in Ladysmith

Nine overdose deaths in two years “pretty alarming considering this is a small town”

Vancouver Island man celebrates 50th year by running 50 km race — monthly

Ultrarunner hopes Deep 50 Challenge will raise $5,000 for Help Fill A Dream

Alternative paths to health: How one Vancouver Island woman is taking control of her cancer treatments

Many Canadians try at least one form of complementary treatment during their cancer journey

Editorial: Plenty of alternatives to plastic straws

Plastics have their place in our society, but right now there are far too many of them

Dashcam captures close call between minivan, taxi at busy Vancouver intersection

To make the footage more nerve-wracking, a pedestrian can be seen standing at the corner

VIDEO: Vancouver Island fish farmers launch $30-million vessel to treat farmed salmon for sea lice

Freshwater treatment an improvement but fish farms should be removed from sea, says conservationist

Waste not: Kootenay brewery leftovers feed the local food chain

Spent grains from the Trail Beer Refinery are donated to local farmers and growers, none go to waste

Deck collapses in Langley during celebration, 35 people injured

Emergency responders rushed to the Langley home

B.C. mom wages battle to get back four kids taken from her in Egypt

Sara Lessing of Mission has help from Abbotsford law firm

VIDEO: Fire guts Peachland home

Crews are still on scene pumping water onto the blaze in the Okanagan neighbourhood

$6K raised in one day’s time for family of woman gunned down in Penticton

GoFundMe launched for family of Darlene Knippelberg, to pay for funeral costs and other expenses

B.C. mountain biker sent home from hospital twice, despite broken vertebrae

Released in Maple Ridge to go home with three fractured vertebrae

Seven tips to travel safely this Easter long weekend

An average of three people are killed, and hundreds more injured, each Easter long weekend in B.C.

Most Read