Constructive Conversations #1 – Tanya Worms of Manitoba’s MD Steele
Our first episode of Constructive Conversations interviews Tanya Worms, a woman making a difference in Manitoba construction.
Tanya Worms never expected to spend her life creating bridges, but today she is a very accomplished senior project manager and engineer at MD Steele, a proud member of the Merit Contractors Association of Manitoba.
She regularly helps build bridges and supervises dozens of other infrastructure projects across Manitoba and loves the chance to get out on the job site and really watch the designs she works on come to life. For her, working at a company that is locally owned by Manitoba construction crews creates a dynamic work atmosphere.
Tanya describes the company as “family-owned – not family-owned, like a small community-style of a construction company.” In her own words, the company is in its “third generation of ownership” and with a younger leader, MD Steele is reinventing itself and growing which makes it a fun place to be at the moment.
That spirit of change is an inspiring thing for Tanya, who has spent a great deal of her life working towards the project manager role while helping other young women rise along with her. While her background is as a transportation engineer, working at MD Steele has allowed her to grow working in many diverse industries including bridge works, woad works, mining, and concrete works.
Tanya welcomes a good challenge and enjoys major logistical challenges like working with utilities and overseeing complex projects that involve maintaining traffic and pedestrian walkways at the same time.
At the same time, she notes that one of the obstacles facing her industry and MD Steele is challenging young people to view construction as a lifetime career. She actively gives back to the community working for several mentoring organizations to try to get the word out that “we are never going to run out of a deficit of infrastructure” which means “there’s always going to be a revenue stream.”
Another goal of hers is to attract more women engineers to the construction field noting that as a woman engineer in construction. She says, “you sometimes feel that you’re on the outside looking in.” Despite this, she considers herself lucky that she has always had great mentors even though all of them were males. However, the industry is great for those with a mathematical mind and a thirst for problem-solving, which is why she teaches a project management class several times a year to encourage young women to move into the engineering field.
Tanya clearly loves her field noting that when she teaches she is a tactile teacher and that she loves “getting people excited about what you get excited about gets people excited about doing it.”
The stability of construction engineering and the fact “there is always going to be work” should attract those who want a solid career in these challenging times, and she has no plan to leave MD Steele anytime soon. In fact, her dream is to one day build a massive bridge over a giant canyon.
With her hard work ethic and experience, it’s probably only a matter of time before her dream becomes reality.