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International Women’s Day – Employee Spotlight

Celebrating International Women’s Day March 8, 2023

As the world celebrates International Women’s Day on March 8, we would like to recognize the contributions of all the women who are essential members of the Caltech team.  The following Q&A aims to offer some insights into what it is like for females to work in what has traditionally been a male-dominated field.

Elaine Saunderson, Production Lead, Alberta

How long have you been in the geomatics industry? 

I started digitizing NTS maps for a small company in Regina (GeoData) in 1988, so close to 35 years.

What does it mean for you to be a woman in your role in a male dominant industry? 

When I started, the industry was male-dominant, but I had a good group of co-workers, so I never felt out of place.  If a person does their job well, that stigma of being a woman in a male role gets diminished until they finally see the good job you are doing. Now, of course, there are women everywhere within my industry.

What is your passion, and how did you enter the industry? 

Passion?  Of course, family. ?

A big joke within my family is that I am the ‘tree hugger.’  My training is in Environmental Water Resources, which seeps into my everyday life.  I’m big on recycling, gardening without pesticides, and wetland stuff.  I grew up on an irrigation farm near Diefenbaker Lake, so water is important.  When I graduated, there weren’t a lot of environmental jobs available, so I got my first job as a drafter because part of my Environmental Water course was four weeks of drafting.  And I just never left.

Are you witnessing any positive changes for women in the industry?  

The biggest change I have seen is the number of professional land surveyors who are women now.  The number of women has grown from only seeing girls in the support jobs like job setup and junior drafting to becoming project managers and professional land surveyors.

What has your experience been with the work environment at Caltech?  

I couldn’t have a better team if I had hand-picked them.  We all work together to get the best product out there, regardless of our job titles.  That’s the first thing I noticed here; the product comes first.

Camara Froese, Survey Party Chief, Saskatchewan

How long have you been in the geomatics industry?

I have been in the industry for between eight and nine years.

What does it mean for you to be a woman in your role in an industry that is predominantly male?

I know not every woman can make it in the field. Often those who can are people who don’t want to give up, like to learn, and have something to teach. I think it’s great to know I can keep up with the guys, but for the most part, it’s just great working with them!

What is your passion, and how did you enter the industry?

In grade 11, I attended a career fair and was told about becoming a surveyor. I looked into school, and immediately after high school graduation, I went into Geomatics in Moose Jaw. Surveying has always been the perfect fit for me. I grew up riding our quad in the pasture and going for walks. My favorite class was always history, and even now, I love finding old evidence and seeing how things were done in the old days. The best part of my job is having a new office daily, seeing new sites, and breathing fresh air!

Are you witnessing any positive changes for women in the industry?

You see more female representation in the safety orientations, classes, and sometimes in the field. Anyone can survey; it’s just not widely advertised to women.

What has your experience been with the work environment at Caltech?

I enjoy working for Caltech. Everyone is easy to work with, and they are always available when you have a question or a problem. It’s a large company, but Caltech does a good job of keeping you included.

 

Inspired by what women can accomplish in geomatics? Check out our job opportunities and see if there’s a good fit for you.