As a truck driver, horse enthusiast and digger operator, there is nothing that can get in Jo’s way from doing what she loves. She was the first female digger operator in the Wellington region and her aunty was the first Linehaul driver. Heavy machinery and elbow grease surely does run in her blood. Kindness too, and an enthusiasm for learning. She has seen her fair share of sexism in the industry, but that never slowed her down. She just rolls up her sleeves and gets on with it.
When Jo talked to M2woman, we could tell that she is an experienced, strong woman who continues to know what she works towards – success. She makes sure to not stop striving higher and ‘making it work’ in a male driven industry by creating her own legacy along the way.
What was the moment you knew you wanted to work within the civil engineering space?
Right place at the right time when the opportunity arises.
What hurdles have you had to face to get to where you are?
I have had sexism in the past, and thoroughly enjoyed proving them wrong.
What can be done to encourage more women to become truck drivers, digger operators etc?
Confidence and personality.
In what way does being a woman in the industry hold you back?
Some places we go, the hygiene is non-existent.
In what way does it benefit you?
Doing what I love. Never had an inside job. Driving is pretty much all I’ve done.
What does Legacy Contracting do to encourage more women into the industry?
Legacy is always open to anybody who is willing to give it a go. Very good and accepting.
What would you describe the work culture at Legacy Contracting?
Very good and accepting. Occasionally, some of the blokes can be shy and unsure of me.
What do you do to be able to juggle family and career?
I just make it work. Work comes first. Without work there’s no money.
What advice would you have to other women wanting to get into the industry?
Don’t be afraid to try new things. If you have any questions, just ask.
How would you describe how workmates and clients treat you as a woman in the industry?
I’m treated the same as everyone else. Occasionally, I’ll meet someone who thinks I need a bit of pampering. Don’t get me wrong, it’s always nice when someone offers a hand.
Can you talk about any instances of sexism that you’ve
An old story springs to mind. I was sitting on a digger, drilling. I had stopped and this guy walked past wearing a pair of headphones. He walked about 20 metres past me and then stopped. He looked at the ground, shook his head and looked back. He then approached and asked if ‘I could drive that?’. My answer was ‘no, I’m just sitting here looking pretty.”
What is next for you?
Just keep trucking.