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Build Week Encourages Women To Flex Their Construction Skills

Lindsey Coy and Mindi Doyle work in a nice office Downtown for People’s Natural Gas, but they spent the last week counting down the days until they could sand off layers of peeling paint from an old East McKeesport door.

“We sit at a desk all day, so it’s really nice every once in a while to be able to just stand and, you know, be outside,” Doyle said, taking a break from her power tools. “It’s a beautiful day.”  

It wasn’t just an opportunity to get out of the office, but also one to give back, Coy said.

The pair joined nearly a dozen fellow female employees working on a house along Park Avenue in East McKeesport with Habitat for Humanity as part of National Women Build Week.

"A lot of times, people think automatically (of) a bunch of guys swinging hammers and stuff," said Mark McNally, construction manager for Habitat for Humanity of Greater Pittsburgh. "So, it’s just our way of showing that anyone can do this. Women can do it, too. They’re the best. They’re harder workers, in my opinion. Most of the time, we have more women volunteers than we do men.”

Coy is also a part of the WWE, or Women With Energy. It’s a group of about 200 women who work for People’s Natural Gas, she said, who volunteer or fundraise to give back to the community every month. She said the volunteer events are also a good way for coworkers to get to know each other. 

"It adds a whole new dynamic with the people we are working (with)," she said. 

McNally said Habitat for Humanity volunteers have been tinkering with the house since January 2015. It’s expected to be ready for a new family to move in by September. 

Sarah Kovash previously worked as a web producer for KDKA-TV, as a freelance journalist for the Valley News Dispatch covering local government throughout the Alle-Kiski Valley and at NPR station KPBS in San Diego.
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