In the heart of southern Alberta lies Structural Truss Systems and Forma Steel, manufacturers of building envelope products – building components that separate the indoors from the outdoors. From wood trusses and engineered wall systems to steel exteriors and roofing, the company’s diverse offerings shape the architectural landscape of numerous structures. At the helm of nurturing the company’s culture, recruitment, onboarding, training and development, and more, is the company’s HR Manager, Heather Kerr.

Embracing the Manufacturing Sector

Heather’s journey into manufacturing was a blend of geographical proximity and personal passion. Hailing from southern Alberta, where agriculture and manufacturing intertwine, she found herself drawn to the dynamic landscape of manufacturing. The allure of contributing to her local community while delving into the intricacies of the supply chain fueled her career path.

Reflecting on her early perceptions, Heather acknowledges the lack of visibility surrounding manufacturing careers during her formative years. Like many, she initially overlooked the sector, perceiving it solely through the lens of factories without comprehending its depth and diversity. However, as she navigated post-secondary education and explored career opportunities, the multifaceted nature of manufacturing revealed itself, captivating her interest.

“The manufacturing industry truly offers unlimited opportunities. It’s a dynamic field where your role can change and adapt a million times in your career. You will never be bored. I don’t know that a lot of other industries offer that variety of work.”

Thriving in a Male-Dominated Arena

Navigating a traditionally male-dominated industry posed its share of challenges for Heather. However, she embraced these hurdles as opportunities to showcase her capabilities and foster meaningful relationships. By immersing herself in the intricacies of the business and establishing herself as a credible partner, she transcended gender stereotypes, earning respect and recognition among her peers.

Lessons Learned

Her biggest piece of advice: “Be a trustworthy business partner, no matter what role you’re in.”

Throughout her career journey, Heather attributes her success to the invaluable guidance and support of mentors and allies. Whether seeking advice on industry acumen or navigating professional challenges, having a trusted confidant proved instrumental in her growth and development. She encourages aspiring professionals to cultivate meaningful relationships and seek mentorship from within their organizations, emphasizing the transformative power of mentorship in shaping careers.

A Musical Interlude

Beyond the confines of the manufacturing world, Heather finds solace in music and can play four different instruments—piano, guitar, drums, and flute. For her, music serves as a therapeutic outlet, fostering a sense of balance and creativity.

Heather’s journey exemplifies the resilience and adaptability required to thrive in the manufacturing industry. As she continues to champion diversity, foster inclusivity, and inspire the next generation of talent, her story serves as a testament to the transformative power of passion and purpose in shaping careers and industries alike.