From cleaner, to loader driver, to dispatcher, Dianne Ngawharau has spent 20 years climbing the ladder at GBC Winstone, where she has enjoyed every minute of it and is showing no signs of slowing down.
Last week, Dianne Ngawharau celebrated 20 years of service with GBC Winstone, a milestone that she says is the best and most memorable part of her working life.
"Through them, I've learnt how to operate machines, do admin work, and despatch truck and trailers, six-wheelers, artics, and tankers," she says.
"They've really got behind me, given me the opportunity to upskill and learn new things.
"I have seen a lot of women climbing the ranks over the years, from when they first start in any role, to when they gain respect from their co-workers, and then do exceptionally well."
She's an all-rounder, loyal, and skilled worker – she's not only a qualified loader, dumper, watercart operator, she knows her way around a digger and can operate and train others in using a weigh bridge.
Currently, she is a Customer Service Rep and spends her days taking and dispatching orders to and from customers - a role she describes as 'pretty much full on every day".
Dianne started her journey with GBC Winstone at Puketutu Quarry on Puketutu Island in 1997 where she was employed as a part time cleaner, joining her mum, dad, and brother who also worked there.
"My dad got me the job - he was the supervisor at the Cleanfill at the time, where my mum was also the spotter and my brother was the main loader operator," she explains.
"Puketutu Quarry used to rent houses on the island and we had one of them, so we were never late!"
There, Dianne graduated from cleaning and went on to drive six-wheelers from hoppers to designated stockpiles onsite, run the crusher, drive the dumper, and then became a permanent loader operator herself.
"It was quite good - there used to be a clubroom onsite at the quarry where we would socialise. We used to even go fishing at the back of the quarry and camp there as well."
Out of the four family members that worked there, Dianne is now the only one working for GBC Winstone.
After she left Puketutu in 2001, Dianne joined the team at the Three Kings Quarry, where she was the main loader operator for eight years, and got the chance to get stuck into some administration.
"Dad used to say to me - "there is always someone out there better than yourself". That little piece of advice helped motivate me to better myself in whatever task I was given," says Dianne.
Since 2008 she's been despatching orders, first with Winstone Transport then Golden Bay Cement, and now with GBC Winstone.
"I have made a lot of friends and memories here," she says, "I played touch rugby in the Fletcher Sevens and enjoyed the cruises we use to take around the harbour.
"My niece is now a weigh bridge operator and administrator at Three Kings Quarry. Fletcher is a very family orientated company to work for and I love it."
Her mum is a woman she admires – having taught her a lot when she was growing up and passed her skills on to Dianne while the family were at Puketutu.
"Women can do anything in the workforce," she says "you just need to be adaptable and resilient but also let yourself be happy.
But also, be confident - remember women are just as good as men."
Some of her other successes at Tradelink include replicating the process and structure of the estimating and quoting department in another state and bringing different departments together to achieve targets and goals as a united team, helping to build the business together and making it better.
"I've had heaps of career highlights over the years," says Mary. "It's rewarding to see the whole process of a project or role being established unfold in front of you, right from the understanding and opportunities, to the implementation of the solution and then seeing the positive results of change."
Over the years, she's noticed more equality and inclusion in the industry for women, as well as more flexibility.
"I'm seeing no preferences for gender nowadays," she says, "generally, there's a much fairer playing field."
When asked about a woman that she admires, she says it's her daughter, Hannah.
"She's ambitious, caring, dedicated, intelligent, down-to-earth, and approachable - I could go on and on," she says.
The best piece of advice she's been given is actually from Tradelink's former General Manager Alan Ball, who said "it's all about the people."
"It’s people that make this industry an exciting place to work," Mary says.
"To make it as a woman in the workforce, it’s important to have honesty, integrity, ambition, and resilience, but also the 'want' to succeed.
"You have to believe in what are you're doing, believe in the business you're working in, believe in the goals, vision, and values and give it 100%.
"Being a woman in any industry is not a barrier; the only barrier is what you believe."