Mary-Anne Bowcott, the owner of Westcom Plumbing and Gas, is on the governance committee for the B.C. Construction Association. (File)

‘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

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

 

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

Just Posted

Crews respond to house fire in Langford Monday night

Fire near Glen Lake Road and Haslam Avenue

Battling bullying covers a lot of ground, says Safe Schools manager for Sooke School District

Jamie Adair’s background is tailor-made for the work he does with the… Continue reading

‘Not the monster everyone thinks’: Sister of human-trafficking suspect speaks out

Trish Kelly’s brother was one of four Vancouver Island residents arrested last month in Saskatchewan

UPDATED: Indigenous youth occupy B.C. Legislature steps amidst court injunction

Police negotiating with people gathered in support of some of the Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs

Upgrades for Colwood’s Brook Creek Dam pouring in

Improvements to mitigate risks for residents

VIDEO: B.C.’s seventh coronavirus patient at home in Fraser Health region

Canada in ‘containment’ as COVID-19 spreads in other countries

B.C. takes over another Retirement Concepts senior care home

Summerland facility latest to have administrator appointed

RCMP pull office from Wet’suwet’en territory, but hereditary chiefs still want patrols to end

Chief says temporary closure of field office not enough as Coastal GasLink pipeline dispute drags on

Prescription opioids getting B.C. addicts off ‘poisoned’ street drugs

Minister Judy Darcy says Abbotsford pilot project working

Teck CEO says Frontier withdrawal a result of tensions over climate, reconciliation

Don Lindsay speaks at mining conference, a day after announcing suspension of oilsands project

Okanagan man swims across Columbia River to evade Trail police

RCMP Cpl. Devon Reid says the incident began the evening of Thursday, Feb. 20

‘Hilariously bad’: RCMP looking for couple with forged, paper Alberta licence plate

Mounties said the car crashed when it lost a wheel but the duo ran away as police arrived

Most Read