Too many times, those who work in the trades overlook a very important demographic in their career paths, and that is women in the workforce. Often times women do not consider a career in the trades, because traditionally the work has been done by men. However, times have changed drastically over the years, and contractors are increasingly realizing the quality of work being performed by women.
A Family Tradition
Dani Edwards has been involved in the plumbing industry for as long as she can remember. Growing up her parents owned a plumbing company, and she began doing plumbing work by age 12. “It started out as bonding time.” Edwards said. “I was with my dad doing small jobs. He liked to help people out that couldn’t afford to do larger jobs. So, he would set them up through his company as side jobs. Then I would work with him helping them out.”
When Edwards grew older she spent time in the Army in the military police. She assumed after her service she would go into some type of law enforcement role, but came to realize that all the background and training she had received in the plumbing industry could prove to be a great career. “Once it came time to make that decision and get out into the real world away from the military, I realized I didn’t want to let go of plumbing.”
Edwards has been working in the plumbing industry ever since. She says she receives plenty of surprised reactions when she reveals her occupation.“People are always surprised to see a very small female show up at the door, but the majority of the responses are very positive.”
Not Your Average Plumber
Despite not looking like your average plumber, Edwards says people genuinely enjoy having a female presence in their home while their plumbing issues are being resolved. “Everyone has a little bit of stress when it comes to inviting a stranger into their home and dealing with money, repairs, and not really understand what’s going on, so I think sometimes it puts their mind at ease, especially women” She continued, “There is a level of trust that is there from the beginning, which allows me to get to know them a little bit better, and they get to know me as well. That helps to build the relationship with the customer right away.”
While building trust with customers has never been an issue for Edwards, early in her career there were some issues gaining the trust of her male co-workers.“When I was younger there were some bumps in the road where the men would laugh and assume that I was only there because my father owned the business, but it just taught me to work harder,” she said. “I had to work faster and harder to make sure I could prove that I deserved to be there.”
The Importance Of Hard Work
Edwards held on to her work ethic as she moved on to other companies throughout her career. “I never wanted anyone to doubt what I was capable of. My father always taught me to be honest, work hard, and treat everyone’s home as if it’s your own. That was a push to do my best.”
The work ethic Edwards brings to the plumbing industry caught the attention of Budget Heating, Cooling & Plumbing in April of 2017. “We always strive for diversity in our company, and Dani seemed like an incredible fit,” Budget’s Marketing Director, Tyler Kroeker, said.
“In the past we haven’t had any female plumbers, because we’ve never had any apply. It’s almost unheard of. So, when Dani came to us we were shocked and excited for the prospect! We’ve seen many articles published about having a female plumber on board and the positive effect they have dealing with other female customers.” Kroeker continued, “She is an incredibly talented plumber, who constantly gets fantastic reviews from our customers.”
The Future Of Women In Plumbing
Edwards believes that hard work and honesty are what define a plumber, not the gender of the technician. She continues to encourage women to consider a career in a male dominated field. “Go for it! I think it is a great decision even if you are viewing it just from the career side of things. There is great job security. People in the trades are always going to be needed, and the work is very rewarding.”
For now, Edwards will continue to change the mold of what a plumber looks like and, prove that women belong right alongside men in the trades.