These Girls Build

DAPI-US Project’s after-school club encourages 4th and 5th graders to pursue careers in construction.
Monday, June 25, 2018 8:31 am EDT

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Amber Wilson, Project Coordinator, Clayton, North Carolina, United States

After six months of engineering and construction lessons, the girls in the Movers & Makers Club in Clayton, North Carolina, put their skills to the test and built a modular playground structure June 2.


Volunteers and Cooper Academy girls pose in front of the modular play
structure they built June 2.

Novo Nordisk Diabetes Active Pharmaceutical Ingredient (DAPI) US Project team members Ashly Coggins, Ally Cain and Amber Wilson launched the after-school club in January at Cooper Academy to encourage girls to pursue careers in construction. Cooper Academy is a Title I school, which means more than 60 percent of students receive free or reduced lunches. The school is four miles from the project site.

The team provided experienced female mentors to inspire and guide the 4th and 5th grade girls through eight bimonthly construction workshops. Each session included instruction and a hands-on activity, which included hammering, miter saw cutting, drilling, pipe assembly and concrete placement.

 “These girls worked incredibly hard – and in 90 degree heat – to build the playground structure that they designed with the help of our talented architect Jeff Schiffer,” said Scott Stofan, Fluor’s construction director on the DAPI-US Project. “The structure will be permanently installed in July on the $145,000 Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Math (STEAM) Playground that Fluor is providing.”

The project team volunteered more than 600 hours to make sure the initiative was a success.


Fluor's Savoyae Parker helps
Essence Reid with her hard hat.

“I’m not sure who learned more this semester – the girls or the volunteers. But it’s safe to say that everyone who participated in this club gained confidence and friends,” Cain said.

It’s clear that the girls are learning. According to Amanda Robin, Cooper Academy STEAM teacher and club advisor, the participants in the Movers & Makers program are applying their skills in the classroom.

“It’s actually really amazing to see how Movers & Makers has affected the girls. At the beginning of the year, my kids struggled with teamwork. Right now, we’re actually working on robotics and building mazes, which requires measuring and configuring spaces. The girls involved in Movers & Makers are like ‘We’ve got this!’” Robin said.

Filling the Gap

The team wanted to make sure that the girls could continue to develop their skills at home over the summer as well as expose their siblings and parents to construction; therefore, every girl received a loaded tool box and personal protective equipment from AMECO and work boots from Fluor’s Construction & Fabrication group.

“I’ve seen first-hand how the Movers & Makers Club has improved the skills and boosted the confidence of these young women,” Fluor Construction & Fabrication Senior Vice President Jack Penley said. “And ultimately, initiatives like this one help Fluor attract and retain female workers.”


Fluor Construction & Fabrication
Senior Vice President Jack Penley
helps with the prebuild of the
Movers & Makers structure.

The recruiting has already begun.

“This is a cool company!” said Jaylah Williams, a fourth grader in the program. “I want to come work for you one day.”

What’s Next

The project team is hoping the initiative will spread to other schools.

“Fluor Cares volunteer program supports initiatives like Movers & Makers that develop leadership skills and build character and resiliency in youth,” said Torrence Robinson, senior director, Global Community Affairs. “We are working with the DAPI-US Project team to develop a toolkit, so the program can be customized and implemented at other project sites and offices around the world.”

About the DAPI-US Project

Fluor was awarded an engineering, procurement, construction and construction management contract by Novo Nordisk for its new Active Pharmaceutical Ingredient (API) manufacturing facility in Clayton. Fluor previously provided basic design services for the project.

When it is complete, the facility will produce pharmaceutical ingredients for diabetes medicines, providing treatment to people with diabetes in the U.S. and around the world.


Fluor Health, Safety and
Environmental Specialist Ross
Wagner supervises Jasmine Hill
as she uses a saw.

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