40 Stories for 40 Years – Profilee 39
In 1978, Marguerite Ridgway served as a member of the first Advisory Council for the Displaced Homemakers Project (DHP). She returned to NVME a few years later for assistance in a job change.
To boost her confidence during a job search, Marguerite joined a DHP support group. This led to her applying for a carpentry apprenticeship at Bath Iron Works (BIW). At that time, BIW was only required to hire one female staff person per department. Unfortunately, they had already filled that position. Marguerite noticed that the Kennebec Journal was advertising BIW position openings for cleaners. Marguerite explains, “I went to personnel and told them I had an application on file. I also said that I could clean as well as anyone else and that I would wait until someone could talk with me. After about 3 hours, I had an interview. The job I walked away with paid twice what I was making as a bookkeeper.” Throughout the years, Marguerite moved up from cleaning to pipefitting. Then later to planning, logistics, and communication. Her BIW shipyard career lasted 24 years.
Along the Way
Marguerite’s career path has been a mix of non-traditional work and social services. In the 1990s, she decided to return to college. She graduated from Goddard College with a degree in Interpersonal Communications. Her degree led to seven years as a co-facilitator of an intervention program for batterers and work with domestic violence prevention programs. Using her experience from BIW, she later became a job site assistant on a major construction project.
Throughout the years, Marguerite completed many NVME classes. Some of her favorites were Building Self-confidence, Career Planning, Business Basics, and My Money Works. “The money management classes were very helpful in establishing a personal budget. They also helped me save for my next vehicle and reach other goals,” she shares.
Her biggest joy has been in helping others. This passion led her to speak about her experiences in non-traditional work, help establish a Women’s Committee at BIW and in facilitating Anger Management, Domestic Violence & Grief Support groups. Following in her father’s footsteps by volunteering for Hospice has also brought her deep meaning.
Marguerite is now happy to share that she is retired with a 401K, Pension, and Social Security. She continues to volunteer in her community. Reflecting on her career pathway, Marguerite’s advice for others is “Know when it is time to move on. Believe in yourself and don’t be afraid to ask for help.”