Feel Good Friday: Forging a New Path

Published: Nov. 11, 2022 at 9:31 PM EST
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TOLEDO, Ohio (WTVG) - A local woman is forging a new path, and hoping to encourage more young women to follow in her footsteps.

“I don’t think they gear career days toward women being in construction fields because it’s not traditional, it’s not typical,” said Tammie Nixon. “Maybe they think they’re not strong enough, maybe they don’t think that they’re smart enough.”

Nixon wants to dispel that myth, using her own life as a blueprint.

“Actually, I had no idea what I was going to do. I was about 26, and I was like, I need a career,” Nixon recalled. She grew up in a family of union members, but knew she didn’t want to be an iron worker or a boiler maker. “I looked around at the unions and I felt that HVAC, or sheet metal, would be suitable for me.”

Fifteen years later, she’s now one of just four women in her local union. Nixon works for Gem Inc., and was recently recognized by Malco Products, SBC as “HVAC Trade-Pro of the Year.” Her prize is a pack of tools, worth a thousand dollars.

“I told them I’d share with my union member friends. Probably the girls,” Nixon said with a smile.

She also intends to encourage as many girls and women to hammer out an unconventional path like she did. And she has some advice for when they do.

“Strong backbone. Thick skin. Be confident in yourself and your work and your knowledge and give it everything you got and show up,” said Nixon. “Never doubt yourself. You never know what your abilities are until you actually do them.”

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