Female bricklayer apprentice building rock solid career

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LEARNING THE TRADE: Julie Koch, a Bricklayers and Allied Craftworkers Local 1 apprentice, caulks a window while on the job at St. Elizabeth’s Hospital in O’Fallon, IL. Koch hopes to someday be president of Allied Waterproofing, a family-owned business founded by her grandfather. – Bricklayers Local 1 photo
LEARNING THE TRADE: Julie Koch, a Bricklayers and Allied Craftworkers Local 1 apprentice, caulks a window while on the job at St. Elizabeth’s Hospital in O’Fallon, IL. Koch hopes to someday be president of Allied Waterproofing, a family-owned business founded by her grandfather. – Bricklayers Local 1 photo

Julie Koch is taking a hands-on approach to learning the family business

By SHERI GASSAWAY

Correspondent

Julie Koch, an apprentice with Bricklayers and Allied Craftsworkers (BAC) Local 1, has high hopes. She wants to be president of Allied Waterproofing, a family-owned company founded in 1962 by her grandfather.

While the company has been in business for more than 50 years, Koch just recently began working there. For years, her mother Dottie ran the office and her father James went out on calls. In late 2013, Koch’s dad died and her mom was considering selling the company.

“I didn’t want to see that happen, and after spending 10 years in the hospitality industry working nights, weekends and holidays, I was ready for a change,” said Koch, who has a bachelor’s degree in Hotel and Restaurant Management from the University of Central Missouri in Warrensburg.

But rather than just stepping in to help her mom in the office, Koch decided she needed to take a more hands-on approach to learning the ropes of the family business. That’s when she applied for an apprenticeship with BAC Local 1.

“I wanted to start at the bottom and work my way up so I would know what I was talking about when it’s my time to run the business,” she said. “I didn’t feel comfortable just stepping in without first acquiring that knowledge.”

ADVICE TO OTHER WOMEN: 'GO FOR IT'

Koch, 33, is currently the only active female member of the BAC Local 1. She specializes in tuckpointing, caulking and cleaning.

“I take pride in the fact that I’m one of only a handful of women in the Bricklayers union,” she said.

Koch said she was a bit concerned about joining the trade in the beginning since it’s a male dominated career field. However, those fears were quickly put to rest.

“I was worried I wouldn’t be accepted by others because I was a women,” she said. “That hasn’t happened at all, and I work in conjunction with many other trades as an employee of Allied Waterproofing. I would strongly encourage any women considering careers in the trades to go for it.”

 

 

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