By Dirk Perrefort
The News-Times, Danbury, Conn.
For MaryJean Rebeiro, growing up in a house with several brothers taught her to be assertive and make her presence known.
“If I wanted people to listen to me as a kid, I really had to speak up,” she said.
Today, she’s flourishing in a male-dominated industry and receiving accolades for her achievements.
Rebeiro was a young entrepreneur when she completed her business degree at Western Connecticut State University and began her own electrical company.
With just a few employees and a small office, Rebeiro began to make her mark in the industry when she opened NY-CONN Corp. More than 25 years later, the company employs more than 70 people, both men and women, who work on residential and large-scale commercial projects throughout Connecticut and New York state, including work at Fairfield University and the Bridgeport Correctional Center.
As a young girl, Rebeiro and her brothers would often help out their father, Tony Rizzo, an electrician and also a successful entrepreneur in the region, on the job.
“I don’t like to admit it, but I guess I was always a little bit of a tomboy growing up,” Rebeiro said. “If we weren’t in school, we were at work with my father helping out. That’s just what we knew as kids. It was our livelihood.”
In 1989, after being one of the first members of her family to graduate college with a bachelor’s degree in business administration, she decided to return to her roots and start an electrical firm.
“In the early years, I really didn’t get a lot of respect,” Rebeiro said. “It’s a male-dominated industry and there weren’t a lot of women working in the trades at time.”
Next month, Rebeiro will be honored by the Western Connecticut State University Foundation for her achievements and her many contributions to the community. Rebeiro serves in a number of roles with area organizations, including the foundation, where she serves as a board member, as well as with the Greater Danbury Chamber of Commerce’s Women’s Business Council.