“I do love my job.”
When Lindsay Renfrow is asked about her job as a Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) Safety Clerk at Scotty’s Contracting & Stone, “I love my job” is the first thing that comes to mind.
Lindsay’s job as a MSHA Safety Clerk means that each day, she is working with the goal of keeping everyone safe on the job through equipment operator inspections, deficiency checks, and ensuring equipment is properly maintained. In addition, Lindsay works with payroll, marketing, and more. In short–she loves her job, and it shows.
This passion for her career hasn’t always been Lindsay’s story. Before she found construction, Lindsay worked as an active duty dental hygienist in the United States Army. She started her career in dental in a happenstance manner.
“I didn’t love school, but I always loved math and science,” Lindsay said. “I was proposed a slot at our local vocational school my junior year for Dental Assisting. I accepted the slot and loved dental! I realized that I wanted to be a Dental Hygienist, but had no idea how I was going to pay for college.”
That’s when a representative from the Army Reserves told Lindsay that they could certify her as a registered dental hygienist upon completion of the program and also pay for college with the GI Bill. The path seemed clear and uncomplicated to Lindsay at the time–but things got a bit more complicated after the military lost her paperwork between basic training and job training. During the time that her paperwork was lost, the military changed its policy and army no longer certified you as a board registered dental hygienist, so she would have to go to college to practice outside of the military.
Lindsay switched to active duty and served as a dental hygienist in Germany for more than 4.5 years. During that time, she was stationed with her first husband and had her oldest child. When her time on active duty was up, Lindsay and her family moved to Kentucky, where she settled in Leitchfield and took up a job at a restaurant to support herself after she divorced her husband and was attempting to go to college.
“I met a customer named Wallace while serving at the local establishment. He and his family and friends would eat in there regularly,” Lindsay said. “I kept looking for a ‘good job’ while I was at the sports bar, and eventually I got a job with a propane company.”
Six years after her start with the propane company, Lindsay was let go as the company downsized. Over those 6 years, Wallace would reach out to Lindsay regularly to see if she was ready to switch careers.
“Every time he had a job opening as a scale clerk, and ask if I would like to come work for Scotty’s,” Lindsay said. “Each time I would tell him I had amazing benefits at my current job and decline saying maybe next time.”
But after she was let go from her job, she knew the right opportunity to take him up on his offer.
“I called Wallace and told him it was time. I needed a job,” Lindsay said.
Three months later, while Lindsay was selling rainbow vacuum cleaners, Wallace came through with a new opportunity: working with him at Scotty’s Contracting & Stone as an MSHA Safety Clerk.
Lindsay, a self-described ‘girly girl,’ knew that she might not look like a woman fit for construction on the surface, but her experience in the military and her desire to work hard and do a good job made her excited for the opportunity.
“I dress up for work almost every day–but I’m also the first to throw on a pair of boots and jeans from my car and get out into the quarry,” Lindsay said.
Three years after starting at Scotty’s, Lindsay does more now in her role than she ever anticipated.
“I’m giving tours to young woman that work in our industry but are usually in the office. I’m checking heavy equipment inspections and workplace exams to make sure it keeps our crew safe, and I’m learning more about how to run a great operation. Plus, I look out for our team in other ways, like mental health and personal development.”
In many ways, Lindsay’s time in the military prepared her for this work. She’s used to being around large groups of men and asserting herself within typically masculine environments. She is ready to look out for her crew members and have their back–putting safety first at all times.
“There were 27 girls in my dental class,” Lindsay said. “Now, I work with one woman on a regular basis. It’s different, but I love it. I like showing them that women can hold their own in the quarries.”
And Lindsay is committed to making sure that other women and young girls who are considering careers in construction know that it’s not only possible to have a great career in construction–it’s also possible to find something that you love and a group of people who are ready to support your growth and development.
“We have eight sites–six quarries and two rock yards and several asphalt plants–but we are just one big family.”
That family approach is what makes construction so comfortable for Lindsay, who advises to young women not to feel intimidated by the supposed masculinity of the industry.
“We’re not in the 1950s anymore,” Lindsay said. “This career has afforded me the ability to own six acres, my own home, two horses, and take care of all of my bills. This is not an industry where only men can succeed. There are incredible women out here, too. Don’t be afraid of the stereotypes–check it out on your own before you decide whether or not it’s for you.”
Even further, Lindsay recommends that everyone finds something they love to do, regardless of reputation or stereotypes.
“Finding something you love to do and that you’re truly passionate about can impact your mental health and your daily happiness,” Lindsay said. “Explore your passions to find that!”
For more information about how to begin a career in Kentucky’s construction industry, visit our Careers webpage to learn more, or check out our video below to get a sense of what it’s really like to work in construction.