March 8th, 2017
Today is International Women’s Day. It’s a day set aside around the world to recognize the achievements of women politically, economically and socially. Some women are choosing to recognize this day by not going work. But not Denise Okun. She is at work today. She’s been coming to work here at Van Kirk & Son’s Pools & Spas for nearly 30 years.
Van Kirk and Son’s Pools and Spas is a pool building company. A construction company at it’s core. There are more than 70 employees who come to work for Bobby and Tim Van Kirk each day, and a majority of them are men. Considering the field, it’s not a huge surprise. Denise says the dynamics have definitely changed over the years, and there are many more women now, but the treatment of women here has been the same.
“Being in the construction business has been challenging as a woman at times, but the owners here have always been great and treated everyone fairly. It doesn’t matter if you’re a man or a woman as long as you know your job and do it well, ” said Denise.
It’s no different on the design end. While a majority of the pool designers are men, the roles of female designers are increasing as well. Anita Chang wore red today in support of International Women’s Day.
She says working in the construction industry, dominated by men, was intimidating initially as an Asian woman, but she knows the owners at Van Kirk respect her and have faith in her abilities.
“Knowledge is power,” Chang said. “You have to know your stuff in order to speak confidently. And when you’re confident and good at what you do, whether you’re male or female, you earn respect.”
Chang says having a feminine eye on a project is beneficial too.
“It just offers a different perspective, whether it’s the design of a pool or spa or the finishes being used.”
“I am nicer on the phone than some of the men I hear, I think that makes me more effective sometimes,” Okun said smiling.