Women in Towers: Meet Angie Shyrigh

Name: Angie Shyrigh

Company currently working for: Proventus Structural Services

Job name/Title: Partner/Owner/Tower Inspector

How did you get started in the tower industry? In ’96 my brother answered an ambiguous help wanted ad in the newspaper. After a few months of hearing about his adventures I wanted to give it a shot, applied at the same company and was hired.

How long have you been climbing? 20 years

Biggest like/dislike about it?

My biggest like is the challenge and reward from traveling, performing physical labor and solving problems.

My biggest dislike is how much the burden of safety rolls down to the individual climber. For all the lip service given to climber safety in the tower industry, there is little obligation for tower owners to maintain safe structures, or for structural engineers to take climbing facilities into account when designing modifications, etc. I’m in a position now in which I can refuse to climb a tower, give supporting evidence, and my judgment is trusted, but I’m in the minority.

Do you feel accepted by largely male crews or has it been a struggle?

Largely accepted, definitely. Tower climbers are a mixed lot, and on the whole have welcomed me into their mix. There aren’t a lot of women climbing towers, but I can’t recall a crew I’ve been on where I was the strangest or most dysfunctional, and I say that with all affection.

Would you recommend this industry to other women and if so what would you warn them about?

Yes, I would and I have. I warn them about the same things I warn men about. Travel is hard on family life, working outside is a whole world of unpredictabilities, and tower climbing is physical labor.

Have you had any unusual experiences while climbing or at tower site?

I was mapping a 500′ guyed tower in Philadelphia on August 23, 2011, when the east coast earthquake that damaged the Washington Monument occurred. I felt a rumble, looked down to see what I can only describe as a noodle wave approaching, held on tight as it passed and looked up to watch as it traveled the rest of the tower’s height. I called down to my tower partner Ben and told him “Something just happened, but I don’t know what.” He told me that he thought he felt a fat man sit down on the tailgate of the truck, hard. For about a minute I hung there, confused and looking around, then started measuring again. A few minutes later Ben called up to tell me that it was an earthquake according to radio reports. An earthquake in Philadelphia. You just really never know what the world is going to pitch.

August 1, 2017

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