WIC Week 2023: Brittney Bray

Brittney Bray

operators local 49, Ames Construction

Brittney (right) with her mother Kim Bray (left).

ABOUT brittney:

I found a fulfilling career in an unexpected field as an Operating Engineer. I never considered working in the trades, as no one in my immediate family worked in construction or any related field. It wasn't until my mother, Kim, changed careers later in life and became a heavy equipment operator that I learned about the opportunity to join Ames Construction and the apprenticeship program with the Operating Engineers Local 49. Despite having no prior knowledge or experience in construction, I decided to join.

Prior to this, I had just finished my bachelor's degree and was working an office job in health insurance. I especially disliked this job on days where the weather was nice and I was stuck at a desk. Now, I have been in the construction industry for over 8 years. What I love about my job is the ability to work outside, work with a team, and see tangible results as projects progress. The flexibility of overtime during the construction season and time off in winter has allowed me to travel and explore the world. However, my biggest adventure came last year when I had my first child. I worked up until a week before my due date and then took time off to prepare for my son’s arrival, then to spend time with him. Becoming a mother has been challenging and rewarding, and I appreciate the support of my family, colleagues, and union.

Looking back, I never thought that becoming an Operating Engineer would be my career, but I am proud to be part of a field that offers camaraderie, skill-building, and opportunities for personal and professional growth.  I hope my story can inspire others to take chances, step outside of their comfort zones, and pursue unexpected opportunities. You never know where life might take you.

View all the 2023 WIC Week Profiles