Most of us can agree that raising two children on your own while working two jobs is hard work. In fact, Lynette Jones views it as much harder than the work she faces daily as a mechanical insulator on industrial construction projects.

“Before I learned about the trades, I was a bank teller by day and a department store manager at night and on weekends,” says Lynette. She knew she couldn’t sustain the pace and was looking for something that would pay well, provide benefits, and allow her time with her family. Her uncle had become a mechanical insulator and suggested she give it a try. She drove down to the Local 45 International Association of Heat & Frost & Insulators & Allied Workers and applied for an apprenticeship. That was 32 years ago and Lynette has never looked back.

Lynette found that Local 45’s apprenticeship program provided quality training and support when she needed it, and says that it truly prepared her for field work. Mechanical insulators work with thermal insulation used on piping, boilers, HVAC systems, and ducts.

I really enjoy what I do. It’s something different at each site and requires thought and skill to fabricate insulation from scratch. It’s not like assembly line work.

Lynette Jones | GEM Inc. Mechanical Insulator

Along with her day-to-day job, Lynette is very active in the Local 45. “For my first 10 years in the trades, I was the only female mechanical insulator,” she says. In fact, she is also the first—and only woman elected to a board position in the hall. “I will also be the first female in the Local 45 to get full retirement when the time comes,” she adds.

Lynette is an advocate for recruiting more women to construction careers. She is now active on Local 45’s apprenticeship committee where she focuses on recruitment of women.

“There are more women in construction today than when I started, but we’re still in the minority. My main advice to women considering a construction career is to have the right mindset going in. Women can do the same job as men. There aren’t many reasons that prevent women from working in the trades.”