Climber Chronicles: “Women in Towers”

Dossier: Jennifer Kreischer

Working in the tower industry: 4 years

How she got started: “Some friends approached me one day and asked if I would consider helping with a project for a few weeks and it involved climbing so naturally I was like “Yeah, cool…that’s totally different than what I’m doing now and sounds awesome!” So, I began working with that company which is out of Atlanta and stayed there for three years. While with that company we did tower inspections, mappings and later started doing tower modifications.

How she got accepted: I worked with a few different crews all made up of males. In the beginning a lot of people looked at me like “You climb?” or “What do you know about mods?” I’ve even had people say things like “You can’t do mods…you can’t even hold the mag drill.” I have had to prove myself repeatedly and that was tough at times but I managed and eventually got to the point where the guys were like big brothers and ended up having a few good friends out of it and finally was accepted as a towerhand.

Would she recommend it for other women?:  As far as recommending other females to work in the tower industry…I think it depends on the female. Tower life isn’t for everyone…the job itself isn’t for everyone but as a female you have to have some tough skin and be able to handle yourself and to hold your own. 

Coolest/Most Unusual/Scariest or Profound Experience:  I would say one of the coolest things about my experiences so far is having been the 1st female working on the Willis Tower in Chicago, IL. There aren’t many people that have climbed that tower so I’m one of a handful and the first female which feels pretty awesome. I’ve been fortunate to have gotten to travel to many places I probably wouldn’t get to without doing this kind of work. All together my experience has been good and every obstacle I’ve encountered and had to overcome has been worth it. It’s empowering to be a female in a mostly male dominated industry and be able to be viewed as an equal and be respected. I’ve met a few other females along the way which is also nice to know that there are other ladies that face similar obstacles doing tower work and we stick together as a little group, even if we live states away.

What she’s working on now: I am currently working for a company called Metal Inspection Technology out of North Carolina and am now a welding inspector. I have been working as a welding inspector for a year now and I love it! I still get to enjoy climbing and traveling but am also able to challenge myself by trying something new and a lot more difficult in many ways. I have an amazing teacher (Mr. Michael Finley owner/president of MIT) and of course that helps. I’m beyond grateful for the opportunity he has given me and the willingness to share his knowledge! I’ve had the pleasure of working with a lot of new people and don’t get the negative responses in this field of tower work like I did while doing modifications which is nice ☺.

February 17, 2017

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