Sandra Deis, Project Controls Coordinator with PCL Construction’s Melloy Industrial Services, Shares her Career Journey
“When I got into welding, it was all about the money,” confesses Sandra Deis, a project controls coordinator with PCL Construction’s Melloy Industrial Services. She says that although the money is good, there are many more reasons to build a career in the trades. Her best advice? “Just try it.”
Welding is one of many career paths you can take in the trades. Here is Sandra’s journey.
How it all began
Why did you choose the trades?
At first, money. Welding is hard work, but you’re well compensated. I went into welding knowing that the schooling was manageable (eight weeks every year for three years). When I was in school, I was eligible for employment insurance, so I got paid to go to school. Once I had the certification, I knew I had it for life.
What interested you about a career in welding?
I honestly didn’t know much about welding when I decided to try it. I knew welders put metal together, and that sounded like something I could do.
Where did you go to school and what tickets or training do you have?
I completed the Pre-employment Welding certificate at the Southern Alberta Institute of Technology (SAIT) in Calgary which prepared me to pursue a welding apprenticeship. I also went to Red Deer College to get my Journeyperson Welder Certificate. I also have my B Pressure Certification and multiple Alloy tickets. I wanted to be as marketable as possible.
Why I Love it
What do you love about welding now?
It’s a physical task and I like the hands-on aspect of it. I’m also competitive and challenge myself to make each weld better than the last.
What aspect of the welding craft do you most enjoy?
I’ve always enjoyed welding the different alloy metals. They’re trickier to work with and require more thought and attention to detail while welding them.
The Opportunities are Endless
What advice do you have for young people interested in welding or other trades?
If you’re curious, just try it. I didn’t know much at all about welding, but now it’s a career I love. I always encourage everyone to consider the trades. This industry is more diverse and inclusive now, and there are plenty of opportunities for everyone to build a career in the trades.
What are the possibilities for a welding career?
Having a trade ticket opens various doors. Many companies view them as the equivalent to a degree and value the field experience and knowledge that it brings. Some people move from a welding position into a supervisory role, such as a superintendent or quality control inspector.
I started at PCL as a welder and then moved into planning and coordinating maintenance work for our projects. Now I’m in project controls, responsible for planning, scheduling, budgeting, and tracking project progress.
What are some of your career highlights?
Working on massive industrial projects at PCL and working in nontraditional gender roles and moving from being from hands on to a more technical role. I’m proud to look back at projects I’ve worked on and say, “I helped build that.”
Visit the PCL Construction Careers page to learn more about exciting trade and technology careers in the construction industry.