Meet Ruth Bratlie, of AMB Iron. Ruth owns and operates her very own structural steel and metal contractor company. Ruth is also a union ironworker, and a signatory contractor for Local 7, Boston. She is a big advocate for the union, and loves to be able to represent her local and international unions as well, because, "we all love your boots!!" When Ruth isn’t working up on the iron, she’s setting the example for her daughter that hard work and courage can make dreams come true. Ruth is a living example of our values and we love seeing her rock Thorogood boots with blue skies and skyline silhouettes in the background.

1. First and last name

Ruth Bratlie

2. Location

Auburn, NH

3. Style of boot you both wear


4. What inspires you to do what you do

Being alive inspires me. Ironwork inspires me. I’m inspired by the heights, the hard work, the challenge. I’m inspired by being told I can’t do something, and then doing it. I’m inspired by pushing myself out of my comfort zone. Those are the moments I’m at my best. And now, my biggest inspiration to work hard and to be my best self is my daughter. 

5. What is your purpose for doing what you are doing

I love my career. But I’ve never loved anything on the level that I love my child and being her mother. It was important to me to find the balance between these two worlds that make up so much of who I am, and build myself the flexibility to put my daughters needs, and being the mother I want to be, first. And part of that is showing this beautiful little person that she can do anything she decides she wants to do with her life, just takes hard work and motivation. 

6. How do Thorogood boots help you or why do you wear them

As an ironworker, the right boot is really important. Flat sole, no heel, comfortable, tough boots that can take a beating and last are essential to working safely up on the iron. Thorogoods are by far my favorite boot, and that’s considering quality, strength, and comfort as well as the fact that they’re just damn fine looking boots! And as a person with pretty small feet among others in this trade, I’m thankful that I can find my size in my favorite boot!

7. How did you get started with your business

It all started with an idea, inspiration, and the drive and motivation to make it happen. I made calls, connected with advisors, talked with my people at the hall, networked, secured startup funding, reached out and started establishing relationships with contractors and fabricators, and learned what it was going to take to make the dream a reality. And I did whatever it took, and made it happen. It has been, and continues to be, a lot of work. But it’s so worth it seeing now how I’m starting to grow as a company, all while I’m surprising myself with seeing what I’m truly capable of. 

8. What struggles have you encountered

The struggle of taking on just about every aspect of running a contracting company on my own in this startup stage is definitely not easy. But again, the challenge is what drives me. I’m so thankful for all the support I’ve gotten on this journey. So much of this is possible because people believe in me and want to see me succeed. There’s definitely a lot to learn on top of the trade skills I’ve developed as an ironworker on the job, a lot of new linear skills to strengthen. Paperwork, emails, and other office related tasks are nowhere near my comfort zone, but as I said before, thats when I really work to push myself beyond my own expectations.

9. What advice would you have for others that are interested in doing what you do? 

Just do it! If you want it bad enough, make it happen no matter what it takes. Find the inspiration you need, and let that fuel the fire. And don’t let anyone tell you that you can’t. I always say, if someone says you can’t do something for any reason, the best way to shut them up is by just doing it. 

*For more information about AMB Iron and to view their services, visit the link below.

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