LAING is all about people. We have completed thousands of projects over the years, both big and small, but it’s our people and corporate culture that makes this company great. LAING Stories seeks to highlight the brilliant men and women on our team. This week, our LAING Story is about Adam Gajowiak
What do you do at LAING?
AG: I’m the Sheet Metal Superintendent
What does working for LAING mean to you?
AG: After fifteen years of working here, there isn’t a day that goes by where I’m not proud of this company and the people that work here. Working at LAING provides me with a sense of accomplishment knowing that what I have been taught, through previous employees, and what I can teach to the younger generation, will help this company succeed for years to come.
What is your happiest memory?
AG: The happiest memory that I have at LAING was completing the Painted Rock Winery in Penticton. With that job being one of the first times we had installed ACM Panels, it won the prestigious award of Best Commercial Buildings in North America in 2014. I knew then that LAING was going in the right direction for future projects to come.
Who has had the most impact on your life?
AG: I think that my wife Stacie has had the most impact on my life. Growing up in my hometown, I felt there was no going anywhere. Work was alright but not fun. Stacie had said she was going to university in Kelowna, so I decided to follow her. Of course, we were together, but I needed something more, career-wise. After doing odd jobs, here and there, I took the plunge to join LAING. It wasn’t easy at the start. Physically demanding and long hours summed up my first couple of months at LAING. Stacie had always pushed me to do better and work harder. I wouldn’t be where I am if it wasn’t for her.
What do you want your legacy to be?
AG: I think I want my legacy to prove itself in the quality and workmanship at LAING. Starting from the bottom at LAING to where I am now, there have been many individuals that have taught me ways of installing and fabricating sheet metal that you can’t read in books. I would love to bestow that knowledge to future sheet metal workers. Showing them that having pride in your work is what LAING is all about.
What’s the biggest challenge you’ve overcome?
AG: I think the biggest challenge that I have overcome is the transition from field worker to Sheet Metal Superintendent. I am a hands-on guy. I love installing, fabricating, and making things “fit”. Becoming Sheet Metal Superintendent at LAING has had its challenges. Knowing how to speak to people and dealing with contractors, architects, and other trades really has strengthened my communication and interactions with people. Knowing how to speak to someone and being able to empathize with them is key in the construction industry as everyone wants LAING as their trade on site.
What’s the best advice you could give to someone?
AG: The best advice I would give someone is to stick with it. No matter how hard it may be, the hard work pays off in the long run. Each day may be tough, but in the end, it will pay off.
Today we are excited to announce that we are formally nominating Laing's own Angela Phillips to Beacon Building Products, Female Roofing Professional of the Year Award. While there are so many incredible candidates that will be nominated for this award, we wanted to recognize Angela for all she has accomplished and contributed to the Roofing industry in Canada. Thank you Angela! Win or lose, we are proud to have you on our team!
More about Angela...
When we think about what it means to be a woman in the trades, there are few stories that truly inspire the way that Angela Phillips does. Angela is a trailblazer for not only women—but women of color who seek to break barriers in their own careers.
In 2007 Angela immigrated to Canada from a small town in Mexico (San Gabriel) to work on a farm in Southern Alberta. Like most immigrants to Canada searching for a better life – Angela experienced a major culture shock. With little English-speaking ability and limited training and skills, you would expect that most people in that situation would fight to just keep the status quo. But by nature, Angela could not accept being content with just surviving. She worked hard and managed to get an entry level job working with a roofing company. Having learned construction from her father at a young age, she knew the basics enough to keep up. During that time Angela was relentless in learning everything she could and working as hard as she could to move up.
Facing gender discrimination on worksites and being constantly undermined and second-guessed, Angela kept telling herself “I can. I got this. I am enough.”. More than anything though, Angela was constantly battling her own uncertainty – for years she was ashamed of her career because in Mexico was so unheard of to be a woman in the trades. She thought her family wouldn’t support what she was doing—especially considering the fact that she was a veterinarian in Mexico before coming to Canada. Despite these daily adversities and pressures, Angela did not give up and is clearing a path for many to follow.
Fast-forward to now and Angela is a certified Red-Seal Journeyman Roofer and a foremost expert on single-ply roofing installation. She is currently pursuing her Blue-Seal certification in Roofing and hopes to attain her Gold-Seal after that. Her goal is to promote green roofing solutions and help push the industry towards that. To add to her impressive resume, Angela has managed to also be a loving mom of two young children while also serving as a Senior Roofing Production Foreman for Laing Roofing in Kelowna, BC, Canada.
When asked about what advice she would offer to young women hoping to make a career in the trades, she said “Don’t stop learning. Don't wait to initiate the apprenticeship; time moves fast when you are working towards something. A Red seal is only one step and the compensation you earn as a journeyman will open new doors for you.”