Town of Merrillville recognizes first female foreman at Street Department
In the Town’s male-dominated Street Department, Tracy Ryan thrives in a leadership role.
Ryan was promoted in January this year to become the department’s first female foreman.
“It’s probably one of the best moves we made here,” said Steve King, Merrillville’s Engineering Administrator/Street Department Director. “She’s excellent at what she does.”
As part of Women’s History Month, which is celebrated in March, the Town is recognizing Ryan’s accomplishments in the Street Department.
Ryan said “it’s awesome” serving in the foreman role. She said she’s earned the respect of the Street Department staff, which is almost entirely male.
“I think they all know I have a lot of experience,” Ryan said. “It’s a good situation.”
As the department’s foreman, Ryan maintains the daily field operations of the Street Department.
She assigns jobs, does follow-up work to ensure projects are being completed, and she plans for future projects.
“A foreman here in this department is a key component to our operations, and she’s done fantastic,” King said.
Ryan said she spends a lot of time on the road when planning upcoming work. That’s especially important right now as the Street Department is gearing up for summer projects, which include paving, crack sealing, and other road repairs.
“A lot of planning,” Ryan said. “There’s a ton of roads.”
Another project she’s coordinating is landscaping work around the Street Department building on 73rd Avenue.
“I’m a member of the Lake County Master Gardeners Association, so I get to bring out my master gardener work and landscape around here,” Ryan said.
She said the Street Department is also exploring handling the maintenance of Merrillville’s gateway signs.
“So, we’ll have those looking great,” Ryan said.
Ryan said she started working for Merrillville about six years, and her first role was the maintenance director for the Parks Department. She moved over to the Street Department about three years ago.
King said Ryan was one of three in-house candidates who applied for the foreman position.
“They all got a one-week shot to be acting foreman to kind of prove themselves, and right out of the get-go, Tracy was a shining star in all of this,” King said.
He said Ryan has transitioned well into the foreman role, and the Street Department is planning to expand her position.
“At this point, we’re going to get her more involved in things as they come about, administratively,” King said. “She has been a great asset to this department.”