Nancy McConnell – 40 years

It is with honour that we recognise Nancy McConnell as she celebrates an incredible milestone of 40 years of dedication to the Hawkins business.

Construction is in Nancy’s blood. She has been actively involved in the industry since the age of 12 when she started working for her father at McConnell Dowell during the school holidays. “Dad was all about teamwork, using your initiative, and making the most of your opportunities. He made sure all of us [Nancy and her four younger siblings] respected people, education, and hard work.”

In the early 1980s, after Hawkins and McConnell Dowell went through a reverse takeover, Nancy managed corporate affairs and continued to build her network. Throughout her career, she has harnessed those connections to facilitate opportunities for others to join and succeed in the industry she loves – particularly women and Māori and Pasifika peoples. She has taken on many governance roles in the education sector, which have allowed her to influence better outcomes for wāhine.

Nancy sees the construction industry as one that allows women to shine. “What’s important in this industry is collaboration, curiosity, communication, and critical thinking. I think women are naturally powerful in these areas, and by hiring women we bring more of those vital skills into our industry. It’s important that we make our industry more appealing to women by creating workplaces where those skills are truly valued and nurtured.”

Today, Nancy collaborates closely with Hawkins and Downer and is often asked to be the Social Outcomes Advisor on large projects. She continues to facilitate opportunities for young women to learn about the construction industry.

We would like to thank Nancy for her significant commitment and passion to our industry – she is a true inspiration for us all.

Murray Robertson, EGM of Downer’s Facilities business presented Nancy with a korowai at the Hawkins 75 year event in appreciation for all her mahi. “Nancy is like a mother to us all and across the Hawkins & Downer whānau we have immense respect for all she has done for our people and the industry. Nancy will continue to be available to our people on a consultancy basis.”