Tush started a design and drafting business in 2000 which is now in its 20th year of operation but about six years ago, she woke up one morning and realised that she was at a major cross road in her life. It was like a switch had been flipped overnight and she simply just didn’t want to design any more.
As well as being a 46 year old mum to two teenagers, Tush is also an athlete, both training and competing professionally, a business owner and director of two companies, Queen Bee Constructions and Gr8 @mosphere drafting Pty Ltd, both currently operating within the construction industry and an ACT & NSW licensed builder, having also recently completed her Diploma in Building & Construction at CIT. She is focused, driven and aspires to exceed her client’s expectations every time she commences a new project.
Tush grew up in the country, in a small rural town in Victoria and moved to Canberra in the early 1990’s upon direct invitation from the Head Gymnastics Coach at the Australian Institute of Sport to pursue her dream of coaching elite gymnasts for the 2000 Olympics. Upon moving to Canberra she was forced to supplement her income with multiple part time jobs and it was during this time that that she started working within the construction industry.
She started a design and drafting business in 2000 which is now in its 20th year of operation but about six years ago, Tush woke up one morning and realised that she was at a major cross road in her life. It was like a switch had been flipped overnight and she simply just didn’t want to design any more. She was tired of sitting in front of a computer 6 to 7 days a week and she knew immediately that morning that it was time to pursue something new and change direction.
Tush knew re-skilling and pursuing a new career path at 40 would not be easy, however she had already been working “on the tools” part time in construction, over the previous couple of years for her close friend, Mick, who had been a builder his entire working life. Some days Mick would need an extra pair of hands on a build he was doing so Tush would go and help him as it gave her a break from sitting in her office and drawing plans all day.
Mick’s father had been a builder and Mick had learnt everything from his dad. He saw this as his opportunity to pass his skills and tricks of the trade that he had learnt over the years onto Tush, and she welcomed the opportunity to learn from this wealth of knowledge. She is now a competent carpenter, bricklayer, concreter, roofer and tiler.
Tush thought that working for a larger scale construction company might be a great way of expanding her experience however she found it hard to gain a role as a site manager as no-one was prepared to take on a female for a position typically filled by a male. She was persistent and eventually managed to secure a position with the assistance and belief of Jo Farrell (see Jo's bio here). Jo and Tush briefly worked alongside each other building townhouses for a development in Moncrieff. But the builder employing them both did not value the extensive skill set and contribution that Jo & Tush had to offer, and it was at this point that both women realised that they were destined for bigger things.
Tush realised that she could and should be running her own construction business, and so Queen Bee Constructions was born but setting up her own construction business came with a myriad of challenges, frustrating set backs and at times down right chauvenistic treatment or exclusion. Some of the road blocks and most frustrating things that she had to navigate in particular was obtaining insurances and her builders licences. Tush did everything that was asked of her and every time she thought she was at the end, the goal posts just kept getting moved.
“It was one of the most frustrating, soul destroying and arduous processes I have ever had to go through and quite frankly I wouldn’t recommend it to anyone”, which is why Tush is now also a strong advocate for, and has been active in promoting and providing work experience to females who are interested in entering the construction industry to pursue a trade career.
She welcomes expressions of interest from young women who would like the opportunity to try their hand at construction and is willing to help them achieve their goals and help them to create pathways in what ever capacity she can, so that they don’t have to endure the hard road to get where they want to go, like she did.
Her long term goal is to eventually build an all women’s construction company by acquiring women contractors in electrical and plumbing to carpentry, brick laying etc. She would love to have an entire team of women constructing Queen Bee projects as she believes this would be a unique point of difference. Women tend to have an eye for detail, a meticulous approach, are more approachable for many clients, particularly as many ‘client couples projects’ are driven by the female in the partnership.