G.I.R.L. Event Encourages Girls to Consider Construction Careers

Carter Machinery helped participants build confidence using a mini excavator to play “excavator tennis”

ROANOKE, VA – October 29, 2022. The Branch Group, a Roanoke, Virginia-based construction company, recently hosted their inaugural Girls in Real Life (G.I.R.L.) Construction Experience at the company’s headquarters. The event focused on introducing girls to opportunities in the construction industry and showing them they can have a place and purpose in it. As one of the event sponsors, Carter Machinery team members were on site, helping the girls operate a Cat® mini excavator in a game of excavator tennis.

Branch partnered with the Girl Scouts of Virginia Skyline Council to give 100 area girls ages five to 18 the opportunity to learn and experience real-life construction concepts in a fun, safe, and judgment-free zone. The event also helped spread the message that construction careers are closely tied to the Science, Technology, Education, and Math (STEM) curriculum and that the occupation can be fun, safe, and rewarding.

“The event was very hands-on and targeted to young girls with a focus on confidence building and success,” explains Elizabeth Petrey, Carter Machinery’s Marketing Project Coordinator. “At check-in, each girl received a white hard hat for safety with the G.I.R.L. logo printed on it. As the girls traveled around the event and participated at the 30-plus stations, they received a sticker for their hard hat at each stop. We brought a mini excavator to the event for the excavator tennis competition. The older girls sat at the controls and used the excavator’s bucket to try and knock tennis balls off of safety cones without knocking the cones over, while the younger girls enjoyed sitting in and exploring the machine. The girls were really super excited about this event, and you could tell that they felt confident and proud of themselves after operating the excavator.”

A Branch Group spokesperson explained why the company organized the event. “The architecture, engineering, and construction (AEC) industries are woefully behind the rest of the world regarding diversity in gender and race. Women make up only 12 percent of the industry, and while that number is increasing every day, we are taking this seriously and hosted the event as one of many steps needed to make a difference.”

The G.I.R.L. event sponsors included Carter Machinery, Associated Asphalt, Rockydale Quarries Corporation, Kids Square, Virginia Western Community College, Roanoke City Public Schools, Salem City Schools – Salem, Virginia, Build Your Future – BYF, Build Smart Institute, Greater Roanoke Workforce Development Board, Kirby-Cundiff Insulation/Firestop of Virginia, Balzer and Associates, Inc., Hurt & Proffitt, Inc., United Rentals, Robins & Morton, Girl Scouts of Virginia Skyline Council, and the Heavy Construction Contractors Association.