By DANIEL EKIYE
In a vocation often regarded as an exclusive for the men folk, a lady; Miss Maryanne Samirah Lucas is carving a niche for herself. She is the CEO of Jagged Edge Limited located at Mende Village, Maryland off Ajose Adekoya.
The unique thing about Jagged Edge; a company that specializes in welding and fabricating jobs is that the company is not only owned by a woman, she handles all the welding jobs; handling welding and fabricating gadgets like Vice; Angle Grinders; Electrodes; Clamps with an expertise and poise that belies her gender to produce beautiful Iron crafts for home and office usage.
Ironically, she didn’t set out to be a welder; she stumbled upon it and since has not looked back. This graduate of Public Administration from Plateau State Polytechnic started her career as an interior decorator; hear her story on how she got into welding and fabrication of iron rods.
“I was into curtain and bed sheets making since 1993. However, in the year 2000 I got tired of doing interior designs so I opted for something more engaging that could be more lucrative as well. As I was pondering on what to do I stumbled upon a magazine where I saw some beautifully designed Iron chairs and table more like a console with a mirror. I decided to add the picture of the iron chairs to my interior decor’s album” she said
She saw the opportunity therein and she took it up. She walked up to a welder in her neighbourhood then in Gbagada and asked if he could represent the iron chairs respectively, she paid him, so he did it for her and she left.
“Another particular client saw the iron chairs design and requested that I make one for him, in the process of doing that he made orders for more and like that she developed a keen interest and the romance began” she said.
Yet another client gave her a contract to design burglary proof that she has never done before, then she had to rely on a welder to get it done.
Without any formal education or training in welding, she went online to read about welding and fabricating related materials on how one could come about a creative design, all in a bid to familiarising herself with her newly found vocation
Also, whenever she visited her welders, she made sure to monitor the way they handle fabricating gadget with keen interest. Then she started to learn, after a while she begun to practice all that she has learnt.
Gradually, what started with a mere interest is today a big business. She went on to incorporate Jagged Edge; the company has grown in leaps and bounds with a lot of clients, which she wouldn’t want to name. Not only that, her hard work has earn Jagged Edge a franchise from a French company as she is the sole representative of that French company in Nigeria.
It hasn’t been a rosy journey overall. She has encountered a lot of challenges in her quest at carving a niche for herself. She recalls with nostalgia some of the challenges she has encountered.
Sometimes when I beckons on construction site, prospective clients wonder and often time doubt my capabilities, I have had to deal with snide remarks like “What can she do? Who needs a lady welder?
Due to unavailability of PHCN power supply she has had to make alternative arrangement to move her company ahead like a Trojan aiming to the top in order to meet the dead line of her growing clients.
Also, Maryanne has not been able to get apprentice yet despite placing advertisement severally on her Whatsapp group for anyone that has interest in building a career in welding and fabricating especially girls, but she hasn’t gotten any response yet
All that has not deterred her as she always holds her shoulders high and responds with a resounding affirmation that she is aiming to the top by continuously improving her craft to ensure she not only remain there but raise the standards in the welding and fabricating profession.
Maryanne also gave insight on what inspired her confidence, she said Lady Sarah, the lady mechanic triggered her confidence because initially she was shy about the welding thing, but the day she saw lady Sarah on TV and how she was fielding questions concerning her profession with high shoulders, that very day she shrugged off all her fears, with determination she has come this far.
She doesn’t see herself as a feminist, she also does not believe in the popular saying “What A Man Can Do A Woman Can Do” she has her respect for the place of the man in the scheme of things as her work requires the physical strength of a man to lift some certain things because she isn’t a super woman
She makes use of this slogan to ward off opposite sex “Dress the way you want to be addressed” the way she comport herself fortunately for her, people see her as a professional, when a client want something other than his proposed job, she put things straight politely by saying sorry these are my boundaries and limitations and they keep their desires to themselves respectively.
She also passionately implored ladies especially to come out and be whatever they want to be, there is no limitation to what they can achieve.
This third child of nine children who is from Boher in Akwanga Local Government Area of Nasarawa State, in the cause of creating a niche for herself she met her husband and their union was blessed with four beautiful daughters.
In midst of corrugated rods one can be tempted to wonder how Maryanne unwinds as she is not an out-going person, she said when she is done with work, she relaxes at home reading and listening to music because she loves music.