Every June, the United States celebrates Pride Month, commemorating the 1969 Stonewall Uprising, which took place when a police raid on the now-iconic queer club set off widespread protests throughout New York City in support of the LGBTQ+ community. Today, Pride is more than just recognition. It’s a powerful reminder of the continuing fight for equality and an unapologetic celebration of life and the many milestones the LGBTQ+ community has fought for and achieved since Stonewall.

In this series, we asked three of our LGBTQ+ employees to reflect on their journey to Lund Opsahl, on Pride, and what it means to feel included and celebrated at work and beyond. Today, we talked to BIM staff member Hazel Ray (she/her). Hazel brings with her 12 years of experience in this industry and is an integral part of our BIM department.

Can you tell me about your career journey starting from the beginning?
I was a theater major in college, and I took set design and lighting design courses, which is where I learned about drafting. I really liked it, so I ended up going to school for architectural technologies, or drafting services, and while I was in school, I got a job designing houses.

After graduating, I got a job at a civil and structural engineering firm. They wanted to get into structural, so as a structural drafter, I helped set up their structural department. I also got to learn civil engineering drafting alongside structural there.

The local branch managers ended up leaving and starting a new company and recruited me to go with. I was the drafting lead for their building services department, which was structural, mechanical, electrical and plumbing, and I was also a member of the civil drafting team. I was also part of planning services. I would do a lot of review on codes, like zoning code and put together exhibits about what can be built where and stuff similar to that. For many years I was mainly civil and did a lot of planning.

Then, I decided to move across the country, came here, and got a job at Lund Opsahl, and it’s been great.

What is the best part about your job?
I think it’s somewhere between the variety— I get to do a lot of different things, and that helps keep me engaged— as well as the office culture. It’s a great office. Good people, good bosses.

I’m proud of how far I’ve come. I think the distance that I’ve come in the last twelve years is beyond what I imagined going into drafting. I didn’t expect to work as in-depth or on such a variety of things.

Hazel Ray

What in your career are you most proud of?
I’m proud of how far I’ve come. I think the distance that I’ve come in the last twelve years is beyond what I imagined going into drafting. I didn’t expect to work as in-depth or on such a variety of things. I didn’t expect to learn how to do as many different things as I have, while also learning like 10,000 other skills that I get to use every day.

What does pride mean to you? And how are you celebrating this year?
I don’t know what pride means to me yet. I’ve only been out for two and a half years. This will be my first pride taking part in pride activities, and I’m going to all the things that Seattle has going on, like Trans Pride in the Park, going to drag shows and events and parades. I’m going to do everything that I can.

How is Lund Opsahl working to support the LGBTQ+ community as a company?
The leadership at Lund Opsahl made it very explicit that the office is a very accepting place. Obviously, I was really nervous when I came out. I wasn’t sure about how it was going to affect my job, but when I did, the owners were immediately very adamant that I had their full support and that if there were any issues with anybody, they had my back 100% and they’ve done that.

We also have a lot of queer employees, which helps show that supporting the LGBTQ+ community is something that they care about as opposed to something that they’re just paying lip service to.

How do we make sure our underrepresented colleagues, like those in the LGBTQ+ community or beyond, feel seen and celebrated?
I think these highlights are really good. Supporting programs and endeavors to help educate more marginalized communities and get them more involved in the STEM fields is great.

You can say that you support these things all day long, but if you’re not actually hiring queer people or hiring people of color then it doesn’t mean as much.

Do you have a favorite Lund Opsahl for a project?
The DSHS Behavioral Health Communities. We did at least three buildings. It’s a mental health treatment facility, which provides high quality, like in-depth treatment. Being able to work on those kinds of projects is awesome.

If you could have one superpower, what would it be?
Flight, assuming I’m in control.

What is your superpower?
My sense of direction. It’s very hard for me to get lost. I almost always know which direction north is if I’m above ground. I have no idea what it is. I’ll get off the train and realize that I don’t remember which way north is, so I’ll try to feel it out, and I almost always get it right.

Hazel in kinship with her avian friends of a similar directional aptitude.

Favorite Seattle activity?
Going to concerts, shows, dancing, raves. I’m a nightlife kid.