2019 IW Winners

Tradeswoman of the Year - Thunder Bay

Raquel Glavish

Raquel Glavish

Raquel Glavish took to civil engineering at an early age.

“I fell in love with bridges and how they work on a family trip, but I was so young and sometimes you just forget,” said Glavish, program coordinator at Thunder Bay’s Confederation College. “Then in Grade 11, I was just blown away by how so many things around us come from science and physics and engineering.”

Glavish grew up in Bradford, Ont., a couple of hours north of Toronto. Her father was a labourer on a paving crew. She remembers visiting his site and being enthralled by the way a concept became a reality.

“Nobody thinks about how you drove your car today and how you got to where you are today,” said Glavish. “This discipline affects the way we live and it’s a beautiful thing because it’s a thankless job.”

After high school, she followed her passion for engineering over a dozen hours north to Lakehead University in Thunder Bay, Ont.

“I needed to find a balance – engineering is tough and always searching for answers is very draining – so I needed to find where to recharge,” said Glavish. “When I came to Thunder Bay, I was like, ‘Oh! A breath of fresh air!’” The university’s engineering program, and the city, wound up captivating the budding engineer. She made the move in 2009 and never left.

After graduating, Glavish worked for the Ministry of Transportation for a little while, but she wanted to learn more and wound up finding a position with a local consulting firm.

“I loved the consulting firm. They were small, they were local, they worked for contractors,” said Glavish. “I only called in sick three times.”

Unfortunately, they wound up closing their doors and Glavish found herself in limbo. She worked for another consulting firm for a short while, but before long, there was another change.

“I had a little girl and didn’t want to come back to work full time, so I worked part time at the consulting firm,” said Glavish. “But I had learned so much and wanted to share it.”

She found a position teaching civil engineering part time at Confederation College, and it checked all her boxes.

“I loved my interactions with students,” said Glavish. “You’re in a classroom teaching the concepts and the lightbulb goes off and you have this beautiful moment of ‘The future generation has it!’”

Glavish said having a daughter changed the way she saw her work and life.

“I got into doing other things like Go Eng Girl because I want to make a difference for my daughter, to inspire the generation before her to ensure she has a support system from society,” said Glavish.

When she’s not busy at work, Glavish has embraced life in the North and loves camping and hiking with her husband, daughter, and their dog. But everything she does, from hiking to teaching, is done with a can-do attitude.

“I feel like the world just needs more people who say if you want to do this, you can,” said Glavish. “I want to be that support for others.”