top of page

Nancy Odber

Updated: Apr 9, 2021

Train Conductor

Sparwood BC


Three words that describe you?

Dedicated, tough, efficient.

Who are your role models and mentors?

My brother, he is my best friend and works as hard as I do to make sure no one in our family suffers. 

What is your favorite thing about your current job?

Most of the people I work with have crazy stories about their lives, being that 2 or 3 of us are stuck in a locomotive for 10 hours a day, we tend to get to know each other pretty good. I also love the sound of the units winding up cause you know things are going to get good.

What originally got you interested in your current field of work?

I started as a carman for CN Rail, and there was something about the trains that sucked me in, then I got the opportunity to ride on the trains and work with them and I haven't looked back. The schedule is non-existent and sucks to plan anything, but at the same time it's exciting wondering what you are going to be doing that day.

What career advice would you give to your younger self?

Don't move your life for boy's if they aren't willing to do it for you. Continue being independent and do not rely on anyone but yourself.

When you started your current job, what most surprised you?

The amount of work that is actually to be done, having to figure out to do things the most efficient way possible without being out in the weather longer then you have to. Also all the rules! My bag is full of books and books of rules that we must follow

Do you have an embarrassing or funny story you can share about work or something that has happened at work?

I was working North of Fort Nelson running a rock truck. I had to pee so bad and there were no porta potties around for us girls to use, and I couldn't go in the bush cause the snow was too deep, so I turned my truck as tight as I could and I peed right out the door through the grate, once I was done, I stood up and turned around, low and behold there is a guy laughing so hard in his truck behind me cause he just seen me pee and he had 2 porta potties on his truck to drop off. I instantly went red and yelled at him that he was a little late, then laughed and hid in my truck so embarrassed. 

Have you had to deal with conflict or confrontation while at work? How did you handle it?

There are some people who are not meant to be railroaders. All I can do is suggest ideas and warn them of the consequences. I have lost my cool more than a few times, between throwing things at the guys I work with and telling them to get their head out of their ass and take another look. Usually after they find out I am right, they end up asking me for advice or look to me to get things done quick. I don't fool around with my job, people die all around us.

Do you have any suggestions on how to encourage more women to try a career in the trades?

When it comes to trains, you are not treated any different then the men, you need to earn respect, work hard, and at least show that you are trying your best. I personally think women are better at my job because of strategic thinking, better with equipment, and organization being that paperwork and authorities are #1 priority 

Who has had the biggest impact on your career choice?

My ex husband. I would not be where I am if it wasn't for his help.

What does your family think of your career?

They think it's so cool and all want to come for a ride. They all don't understand how I can deal with being on call though.

If you could do anything, besides what you're doing now, what would you do?

Anything outside, probably be an equipment operator in highway construction or oil fields. I love the different places, the animals, the views.

What was the first thing you wanted to be when you grew up?

I wanted to race anything with a motor. I loved going fast, especially on the quads

What type of role do you want to take on after this one?

Being an engineer is my next step, I'm slightly terrified but I know I will be okay.

What do you remember most about your first job?

I got to work with my mom and met my best girl friend. We would sing the most ridiculous songs because we were on night shift and needed ways to stay awake

How old were you when you started working?

Being actually paid, 16.

What is the worst job you’ve ever had?

Save on foods, the pay was so bad that I couldn't even afford the gas to get to work and the schedule was so all over the place that I would cry, I hated going there knowing I was worth so much more.

What are people always surprised to discover about you?

How I grew up, and my previous jobs I've had. I guess people assume that I was into beauty and sales, not labour and big boy toys.

Who is your favorite person in the world?

My son...he is my reason for everything from the moment I found out I was pregnant. I want him to grow up knowing that there are women out there that are independent and strong and that a man should be supportive and encouraging.

What is the craziest thing you hope to do one day? 

The only thing I want to do in life is swim with sea turtles and whale shark

Anything else you would like to add or comment on? 

I just want to say that when it comes to working in a mans world, sometimes it's best to put your head down and do your job and prove in your work ethic that you are deserving in their world, surprise them, and earn respect, this is no different then the men that are new to the same job. When there are men that are being extra tough, either voice you opinion or keep going above and beyond because one day they will call you by your name and not by 'girl' (yes this happened to me, and my boss became like a father figure to me after he realized that I was not quitting and always willing to learn everything I could).

111 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All


bottom of page