A painting crew of their own

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  • Molly Fitzgerald, left, Emma Knight and Angela Clark of Bannister Painting Co. work on the trim of a Greenfield home. STAFF PHOTO/KEVIN GUTTING

  • Emma Knight and Angela Clark paint the trim of a Greenfield home. STAFF PHOTO/KEVIN GUTTING

  • Emma Knight works on the basement window trim of a Greenfield home. STAFF PHOTO/KEVIN GUTTING

  • Angela Clark repaints the trim on the second story of a Greenfield home. STAFF PHOTO/KEVIN GUTTING

  • Emma Knight brings a 28-foot ladder to work on the exterior of a Greenfield home on Oct. 25, 2019. STAFF PHOTO/KEVIN GUTTING

  • Emma Knight and Angela Clark set up a 28-foot ladder to work on the exterior of a Greenfield home. STAFF PHOTO/KEVIN GUTTING

  • Molly Fitzgerald works on the exterior trim of a Greenfield home on Oct. 25, 2019. STAFF PHOTO/KEVIN GUTTING

  • Molly Fitzgerald works on the exterior trim of a Greenfield home Oct. 25, 2019. STAFF PHOTO/KEVIN GUTTING

  • Angela Clark works on the trim of a Greenfield home Oct. 25, 2019. STAFF PHOTO/KEVIN GUTTING

  • Angela Clark, left, and Brooke Savage put a ladder in place during an exterior trim job at a Greenfield home on Oct. 25, 2019. STAFF PHOTO/KEVIN GUTTING

  • A bucket of latex paint used by Bannister Painting Co. STAFF PHOTO/KEVIN GUTTING

For the Gazette
Published: 11/15/2019 11:00:34 AM
Modified: 11/15/2019 11:00:21 AM

This painting crew may be an oddity.

“There are other women in the trade, but as far as having five women in one company, I don’t think it’s often you see that,” said Angela Clark, foreman of the painting crew at Bannister Painting Co. in Greenfield.

In 2018, 9.9 percent of workers in the construction industry were women, according to the U.S. Department of Labor. Out of the 10 painters on the crew at Bannister Painting in Greenfield, five are women.

“We just got lucky and had a few more people that we could hire that were women,” said Clark, who has been working at the company for 10 years.

Clark said she is a third-generation painter. As foreman, she helps manage jobs as well as the painting, making sure everything is coordinated and on schedule.

“All of the men that we work with are very respectful and we’re all equals,” Clark said. “When it comes to having men and women on this crew, everyone gets along very well. There’s no ‘you can’t do this because you’re a girl’ or ‘you can’t do this because you’re a guy.’ We all work together as one unit.”

“They have great positive energy,” said Jerry Bannister, owner of Bannister Painting. “They’re upbeat and fun to have around, but most importantly they do good quality work and are very attentive to detail.”

Molly Fitzgerald, a member of the painting crew, said it unusual to have so many women working together.

“Personally, I haven’t run into any other female painters anywhere,” Fitzgerald said. Her father is a construction worker and set up her first meeting with Jerry Bannister when she left college. “I think having five women on a crew is a lot and it’s very rare to find. The men in our crew understand that we’re at work and we have to get a job done.”

After leaving college, Fitzgerald said she needed a job so her construction-worker father set up a meeting with Jerry Bannister. It is the first construction company she has worked for.

“This opportunity kind of fell in my lap and I really enjoy it,” Fitzgerald said.

Bannister Painting also gave Justine Regish her first professional painting job. She said she painted interiors with her mother for many years; she joined the painting crew in 2017. Regish said the crew makes a point of getting to know each other — getting barbecue at Bub’s BBQ in Sunderland and attending a Red Sox game together. Regish says,

“We have a good crew, so I lucked out there. We all get along really great especially this past year,” Regish said. “Sometimes it can be months of not seeing some employee because we’re all working at different jobs. It is awesome to have some downtime together. I think a lot of us just realized how much fun we all are as well as co-workers.”

Painter Brooke Savage said this crew is different.

“I’ve worked with other male-dominating crews. There was a lot of competition and we didn’t work as much as a team,” Savage said. “We have respect for one another and work really well together. I keep my head up and do the best I can.”

Emma Knight, who has been working at Bannister Painting for two years, said she feels comfortable and at ease while on the job.

“It’s definitely nice to work with a bunch of women who are able to get things done, that are motivated and good workers,” Knight said. “We have each other’s back, so I don’t worry about that anymore.”

Despite the hard work, Knight said she finds painting with her crew to be relaxing and meditative.

“If you don’t find yourself comfortable in a crew or in a space, keep looking because there are spaces for women to feel comfortable in this industry,” Knight said. “Know that your work proves your capability and nobody else can tell you differently.”

Clark, the foreman, said her painting work is satisfying.

“To transform homes and making sure the customers are happy with the work that we provide for them is very rewarding,” Clark said.




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