I think there are a lot of women (myself included) who often feel as though they are without a voice; be it in the workplace, the construction site, on the range, in social media, or during everyday life. It can be infuriatingly overwhelming to stand against the dialogue that already dictates those venues and arenas: the ideas that men are better leaders, women can’t perform as well in tough, blue-collar jobs, or even that women are better suited to clerical tasks rather than being out on the field.
Women, let’s stick together and raise our voices simultaneously to create a new discussion. We are capable. We are strong. We can swing a hammer or wield a crowbar. We can be contractors and painters and cattle ranchers and mechanics and engineers. We can do whatever job we want. We can lead, and we can do it well. WE CAN.
That brings me to Meegan Czop and the folks at Rebuilding Exchange. Many women there fill roles that are typically considered a man’s job. Meegan spends time on the ground scavenging through demolition sites for materials that can be resold through the non-profit to the public for re-use. It’s a tough job and she’s often the only woman to step foot in the work zone.
I tagged along on a trip she made to a Chicago warehouse that was ruined by fire a few months ago. With a jump in her step, she explores areas that would make most people nervous. A job that requires an adventurous spirit requires a special person. Meegan is changing the dialogue of what women are capable of with the elbow grease she puts into every day, the hard work she does to preserve and better the community, and the way she defies stereotypes with confidence and competence.
Meegan is wearing: Carhartt Women’s Force Performance Verdon Polo & Series 1889 Slim-Fit Double Front Denim Dungaree
Remember Meegan from Rebuilding Exchange in last week’s post? She goes out to deconstruction sites and sources materials that can be repurposed. A lot of the goodies Meegan brings back to Rebuilding Exchange go to RX Made, where Cynthia and the crew upcycle the salvaged materials. They turn wood and other odds and ends that would have been thrown out into tables, mirrors, benches, etc. Each piece is so unique and filled with history.
Cynthia is a powerhouse in the workshop. Not only does she run the shop, she also teaches classes on how to operate machinery and build repurposed furniture. I was blown away by her vast skill set.
Gotta love girls with power tools! Find out more about RX Made here.
Meegan is the Director of Business Development at Rebuilding Exchange in Chicago, which is a non-profit organization that finds, repurposes, and sells reclaimed materials. Most of the materials come from deconstruction sites. Rebuilding Exchange keeps would-be garbage out of landfills to sell for a fraction of what they would cost brand-new, lending a hand towards the emerging green economy.
Meegan has been with the company since day one. She often goes out into the field to hunt for materials and dreams up creative ways to reuse them. Her background in historic restoration made her a natural fit for her occupation. This restoration of a new nature allows materials to pass from one location to another, filled with stories of the past and possibilities for different uses in the future.
Yesterday, I tagged along as Meegan and her dog, Boomer, went out to a deconstruction site. The house had materials in it that were more than a century old. Demolition jackpot! We loaded some of the lumber into her trusty Silverado and headed back to Rebuilding Exchange to get it ready for resale. The warehouse is so huge, Meegan skateboards from task to task to save time. I’m a huge fan of the organization and all the people who devote so much of their time to making the world cleaner, more purposeful space.
Find out more about Rebuilding Exchange here.