Many companies say they are like a family, but working for Volker Stevin Highways is truly a family affair for the Morrisons out of Chain Lakes, Alberta. Dianna Smith (née Morrison), a highways maintenance worker/operator, is a part of the second generation of Morrisons, a family that currently has three generations keeping our travelling public safe in Southern Alberta.
Dianna fondly remembers spending time in the paint trucks with her brothers and their dad, which, appropriately, had well-defined, imaginary lines separating the siblings. This family time spent growing up in work trucks quickly became a passion for the Morrison kids, with all of them pursuing careers at Volker Stevin Highways at some point in time. “I have to admit; I am very proud of my children for being able to work together. Not many siblings would do that,” said Orville Morrison, Dianna’s dad.
“From a young age, my dad showed us that this is a job you can do with a family, and I carry that with me today,” said Dianna. “It’s a perfect job. The flexibility of seasonal work allowed me to be the mom I wanted to be. I didn’t have to work full-time and could raise my kids, which was really important to me.”
“Our industry also teaches you to look out for each other like a family,” said Dianna. This strong sense of family permeates every part of Dianna’s day-to-day life, and she reinforces the importance of family with her paint crew, which is predominantly female. “I treat everyone single one of my employees like they’re my children. I feel like everyone is a part of my family, and I remind my crew that this is a job where they can be moms, too.”
For years, the Morrison family dinners centred around sharing stories and tips uncles and brothers accumulated. Now, the storytelling can continue with Dianna’s niece representing the third generation of Morrisons working at Volker Stevin Highways. “You feel protected knowing it’s your family out there and want to protect them,” said Dianna. “Even when the job or season is done, you still look out for everyone and want to make sure everyone’s safe.”
(Pictured left to right: Robin Caughell, Dianna Smith, Orville Morrison, Jacoba Morrison, Carl Lamarsh and Ang Elops)