High-Profile: Women in Construction 2022

Page 1

March 2022

WOMEN in CONSTRUCTION Women in Construction


Ayesca Machado, apprentice with Pipefitters Local 537 Read her story on page 20

Spring 2022 www.high-profile.com

Women in Construction


March 2022

Publisher’s Message

This is High-Profile’s fourth annual Women in Construction supplement! I’m proud to share the inspiring stories of women in architecture, engineering, and construction who are examples of the successes and opportunities present in this industry. Ali Horwitz, president of the Boston chapter of the National Organization

of Minority Architects (BosNOMA) and a member of HP’s J.E.D.I. (justice, equity, diversity and inclusion) editorial committee, is featured on page 8, alongside the other women of BosNOMA. This chapter is making a difference in the Boston community by establishing strategic partnerships and investing in the next generation of architects and designers. The Building Talent Foundation recently released a study on the barriers women face when pursuing skilled trades careers. The results culminated in a research paper highlighting the ways companies can better recruit, train and retain women in the construction trades, and a set of step-by-step guidelines to help construction employers create welcoming workplaces that are inclusive to women. While the BTF focuses on residential construction, their thorough report and guidelines, written by Misty Farrell and Teilachanell Angel, provide an

Heather MacMaster of Gaston Electric on site at Boston University’s Center for Computing and Data Sciences


A supplement to High-Profile Monthly

invaluable resource for companies in all sectors (pg. 3). Two examples of women-owned firms that are continuing to thrive in spite of workforce shortages and the challenges of the pandemic are LJV Development, a general contracting firm based out of Everett, Mass. (pg.15) and Ebbrell Architecture and Design, a firm based out of Boxford, Mass. (pg. 9). In tough times, these companies are doing great work while supporting women as they pursue careers in this industry.

This is High-Profile’s fourth annual Women in Construction supplement! I’m proud to share the inspiring stories of women in architecture, engineering, and construction who are examples of the successes and opportunities present in this industry.

AGC MA Honors BWiC Award Winners

Boston – The Associated General Contractors of Massachusetts (AGC MA) recently announced the winners of its annual Building Women in Construction (BWiC) awards. The awards feature the year’s most exemplary women in construction who demonstrate leadership, generosity, innovation and unwavering commitment to their career, colleagues, and the construction industry. This year’s award recipients:

PUBLISHER: Anastasia Barnes P.O. Box 7, Pembroke, MA 02359 Phone: 781-294-4530 Send comments to anastasia@high-profile.com Online at: www.high-profile.com


Lastly, I have to give a special shout out to the women of HP. Thank you to Yvonne Lauzière, art director; Elizabeth Finance, VP of Sales; Emily Langner, editor; Kira Kusakavitch, associate editor; Betsy Gorman, account executive; Alisar Awwad, media manager; and Emma Gottschalk, social media coordinator; for doing great work and helping HP reach new heights. And thank you mom (and dad), for giving me the opportunity to lead this company. I love my team so much! Enjoy the read!

• MENTOR AWARD Siggy Pfendler, VP of Improvement & Innovation, Columbia Construction Company •EMERGING LEADER AWARD Leah Hoffman, Project Manager, TG Gallagher

•RISING STAR AWARD S amantha Webb, Assistant Project Manager, Commodore Builders •TRADES WOMAN AWARD M ichelle Wright, Project Engineer, W.T. Rich Company, Inc. •YOUNG ACHIEVER AWARD A bigail Trainor, Wentworth Institute of Technology This year’s awards ceremony is scheduled for March 9 and will be hosted by Luciana Burdi, director of capital programs and environmental affairs at Massachusetts Port Authority. BWiC will also be welcoming back special guest speaker, Lieutenant Governor Karyn Polito to the event.

Women in Construction

March 2022


BTF Releases Guide for Recruiting Women in the Building Trades Washington – The Building Talent Foundation (BTF) recently partnered with two research fellows to study the barriers women face when pursuing skilled trades careers. The resulting research paper, Women Breaking Barriers: A Guide to Recruiting, Training and Retaining Women in the Residential Construction Trades, explores how the industry can strengthen the workforce by tapping into an underused source of skill and expertise: women.

The report reveals the construction sector is dominated by males, with women making up just 10.9% of its workers (U.S. Census Bureau), and representing only 3.4% of skilled tradespeople in the industry (U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics), and concludes that, to reduce the talent shortage within the industry, employers need to recruit more women. The report brings forward best practices grounded in the experiences

School of Business, collaborated with BTF to understand the barriers preventing more women from entering construction careers. Farrell and Angel identified four implementation strategies to tear down these barriers and draw women to the industry: Misty Farrell

Teilachanell Angel

of organizations and women leaders and role models that have successfully attracted, hired, and retained women in construction careers. Based on insights discovered through the study, BTF has released The Small Contractor Quick Start Guide to New Talent, a set of stepby-step guidelines to help construction employers create welcoming workplaces that are inclusive to women. In nontraditional occupations such as construction, tradeswomen face several barriers including gender inequality, wage gaps, occupational segregation, harmful biases, discrimination, sexual harassment, and assault. Through their research, authors Misty Farrell, director, business development, engineering and physical sciences at Boston University’s Office of Technology Development, and Teilachanell Angel, MBA, social impact, Boston University Questrom

Cross-sectoral Partnerships The task of recruiting, training, and retaining women into skilled trade careers will take the entire industry to create sustainable change. By working together, cross-sector industry leaders and stakeholders can maximize their efforts to recruit women into the workforce. To fill the gaps within the industry and grow the workforce, backbone organizations such as BTF can unite groups across the public and private sector to align policies, practices, and resources to attract this untapped talent pool. Targeted Recruiting Finding skilled female recruits is difficult because most women don’t picture themselves in this field. To attract more women to the skilled trades, organizations need to use more inclusive language and images in their recruiting campaigns. To build this workforce segment, industry

leaders must be proactive and intentional in finding prospective female recruits and paint a picture that shows how they fit into this field. Wraparound Supports In order to sustain women as they grow their skilled trades careers, it’s essential to provide wraparound supports such as low-cost childcare, reliable transportation, flexible scheduling, training, and mentoring. Wraparound services keep skilled trade workers healthy, supported, and growing in their careers, which can help employers retain valued workers. Inclusive Organization Culture People want workplaces where they feel valued and belong. Creating a holistic safety culture prioritizes physical and psychological protection and offers freedom from harassment, intimidation, and gender, racial, and other identitybased harm. A respectful, dignified, and inclusive organizational culture makes workers feel welcomed and appreciated. BTF is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to advance the education, training, and career progression of young people and people from underrepresented groups, helping them develop into skilled technical workers and business owners in residential construction.

2022 women in construction week thursday | 3.3.22

wednesday | 3.9.22

7:00 - 9:00am | WIT CM Club Breakfast

11:00 - 12:00pm | WIC Week Kick Off!

9:00am | Supply Chain Impact on Construction Panel 11:00 - 2:00pm | Inspire Awards 2:30pm | Tour and Pour with Turner 3:30 - 5:00pm | What does it MEAN to really build GREEN?

tuesday | 3.8.22

thursday | 3.10.22

9:00am | Knowing Your worth with Jen Reid | Base Planning 12:00 - 1:00pm | New England (x) WIC Yoga Flow + Meditation 4:00pm | The Evolution of Success: BWIC Panel

3:30 - 5:00pm | Full STEAM Ahead: Career Paths in the A/E/C industry* 4:00 - 6:30pm | FIT Event - Female Awareness | Self Defense

monday | 3.7.22

friday | 3.11.22 4:00 - 7:00pm | WIC Week Empower Hour with CRP * - zoom calls brought to you by


https://www.nawicboston.org/events www.high-profile.com

Women in Construction


March 2022

From the Office to the Field: W.L. French Celebrates Six Women W. L. French is proud to be guided by two women in ownership positions. Across the company, women comprise key roles in all operations of the business from a director of finance to safety, estimating, operating, laborers, and transportation. We are pleased to highlight six women who are vital to the firm’s success. Amy Dolce’s role in the safety department includes conducting weekly site field inspections, handling all insurance claims, incident reporting, and maintaining records and certifications of all employee trainings to ensure compliance. She oversees subcontractor prequalifications, and helps to create and maintain safety content for the firm’s weekly safety tips, safety newsletter, website, and social media. Her tips for women looking to go into the construction industry are: “Believe in the process and take the chance, even if it is outside of your comfort zone. Be confident. Always speak up and ask questions; you will be surprised how many people want o impart their knowledge and experience to you.” Kelli Duchesne, project accountant, works closely with project management in both the excavating and soil environmental management divisions preparing all project invoices and billing. The role requires critical thinking and

Kelli Duchesne Amy Dolce strong communication skills. She says, “Construction is a team oriented industry. Everyone is needed in all aspects of the business. Being on a team with a common goal and purpose brings value to my position.” Senior Analyst Kelly Landry’s responsibilities include research and analysis of project and company costs as well as the preparation of reporting to ownership to ensure all costs are allocated accurately for each monthly close. Her advice for women looking to go into the construction industry is to “have confidence in yourself and believe in the value you bring to the table. Empower one another and that will build strong individuals and a strong team.” As a senior accountant, part of Merari Pellot’s role includes performing monthly balance sheets, income statement analysis and the preparation of financial statements for ownership. For women interested in construction, she says, “Having self


proudly supporting women in construction Corporate Headquarters: Headquarters: 116 Hopping Brook Road Holliston, MA 01746 (800) 421-0151 Regional Offices: Charlotte, NC • Durham, NC Duluth, GA • Pelham, AL MA Lic 4536 A1


MA Lic 8999 A

CT Lic ELC.0201601-E1

Kelly Landry Merari Pellot confidence matters and by having this we can create opportunities for not just ourselves but others too. Additionally, this is a dynamic industry that is constantly evolving – there are more woman in leadership roles and we have the ability and responsibility to show other woman this is a great industry with great growth potential.” As a transportation coordinator, Michelle Shutt handles the day-to-day reporting for the company’s drivers, maintains their licenses and ensures all certifications are up to date. She oversees the onboarding for all hired subcontracted truckers and manages new equipment purchases. Michelle is also working with the team to develop a mobile app to automate their processes, a collaboration she says she is proud to be a part of. Her advice for women interested in construction is to “take the leap because you can learn and grow each day in whatever facet of the industry you

Michelle Shutt Sara Perry chose. Construction is fast-paced and ever-changing so remember, having the ability to make key game time decisions with confidence, that is key.” As accounting coordinator, Sara Perry processes invoices for the firm’s aggregate materials and disposal facilities, and does the billings for over 100 hired truckers. She works closely with the company’s environmental project managers and clients to ensure the accuracy and timeliness on the billing cycle of transportation projects. For women looking to go into the construction industry, she says, “Just go for it! Do not be intimidated. There will always be someone to offer knowledge and help. Construction is the field operations, laborers, and operators, but also includes finance, project management, engineers, safety personnel, and HR. There are plenty of areas for women to find their niche and grow!” Submitted by W. L. French

Women in Construction

March 2022


Dellbrook|JKS Awards Women in Construction

(l-r): Kara Champagne, Rachel Mager, Tatianna Auguste, and Joanie Martin Quincy, MA – The Dellbrook|JKS Women’s Collaborative (DWC) held its first annual DWC Awards ceremony on Feb. 15. This event honors several members of the Dellbrook|JKS team for a variety of exemplary actions throughout the year, especially those with extraordinary involvement in the DWC and DEI initiatives. Sheryce Hearns, director of diversity, equity, and inclusion, started the DWC to cultivate a supportive environment for female construction professionals in the firm. The DWC Awards ceremony is an extension of this initiative as it celebrates

(l-r): Anna Losordo, Christine Gillis, and Kristin Searles

“ When women in construction see other ladies succeeding and receiving worthwhile recognition, it makes it easier for them to envision themselves doing the same, which is exactly what we hope to do with this annual event.” – SHERYCE HEARNS and thanks ladies at Dellbrook|JKS. “When women in construction see other ladies succeeding and receiving worthwhile recognition, it makes it easier for them to envision themselves doing the same, which is exactly what we hope to do

with this annual event,” explains Hearns, who also extends “a heartfelt thank you to this year’s award recipients for their accomplishments, year long assistance, and role-model behavior.” Christine Gillis, Anna Losordo, and

Joanie Martin received the Helping Hand Award; Tatianna Auguste and Kristin Searles received the Super Star Award; Rachel Mager received the Show Up & Show Out Award; and Kara Champagne received the People’s Choice Award.



Women in Construction


March 2022

The Foundation of Our Success:

The Women of Bald Hill Builders At Bald Hill Builders (BHB), we recognize that our greatest asset is everyone working for us in the office or wearing our logo out in the field. The members of our team possess core qualities; they are versatile team players, proactive problem solvers and trustworthy partners. The women of BHB exemplify these qualities and are the foundation of the success of our business. We understand the importance in creating equal opportunities for both men and women in the construction industry. Thank you to all our hard-working women; we salute you! Brenda Laurenza is a co-founder and president of BHB. She began her construction career at a young age while assisting her father in the family business with such tasks as cutting tiles and grouting floors. Brenda provides the strategic direction of the firm and is responsible for identifying new work opportunities, project quality control, operating procedures, recruiting, hiring, and developing philosophies that embody the BHB company culture. As director of compliance and inclusion at BHB, Carol Fuller plays a major role in developing, managing, and providing oversight of the inclusion management program. She strives to meet the City of

Brenda Laurenza

Carol Fuller

Stacy Holyoke

Lisa Moniz

Sarah Hansen

Sonja Horrace

We understand the importance in creating equal opportunities for both men and women in the construction industry. Thank you to all our hard-working women; we salute you! Boston, Boston Housing Authority, and the community’s hiring requirements while implementing strategic diversity standards. She provides oversight on subcontractors’ performances against project goals to ensure the proper action is taken and documented. Stacy Holyoke has been part of the BHB team since 2013. As office manager/ EA, she wears many hats including human resources, scheduling, training and employee development, company culture, events, and much more. She juggles many priorities and tasks to

support the organization. As a project and marketing coordinator, Lisa Moniz assists project managers at various stages of the construction process including contracts, compliance, and proposals. Her degree in marketing is beneficial in promoting the BHB brand across social media channels including Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn. Sarah Hansen is a motivated assistant project manager at BHB with over 18 years of experience in the construction industry. She is well known for driving results and being an effective team leader. Sarah has

a proven track record of successful project management and will work tirelessly to ensure every project meets its goals while staying on time and on budget. Sonja Horrace joined BHB in 2018 as a financial project coordinator. Her strong interpersonal and organizational skills come into play as she ensures all projects run smoothly with daily tasks such as project accounting, compliance, and contracts. Her infectious smile radiates through our office and all those she encounters. Submitted by Bald Hill Builders


Sarah Tarbet

Proud to support 2022 Women In Construction Week and the important impact of Women in our industry www.GastonElectrical.com


Sarah Tarbet, AIA is a senior associate with Jones Architecture who says she chose to study design because “I wanted to make beautiful and impactful things.” She graduated from Northeastern and worked as a designer in the Boston area for five years before joining Jones in 2016. A champion for inclusive design, Sarah works primarily with higher education and institutional clients designing a variety of project types. Her work has made a difference to students and faculty at top institutions across SENIOR the region with her ASSOCIATE commitment to design that facilitates learning. Jones Despite the challenges Architecture of being a woman in a male-dominated field, Sarah has thrived in what she describes as a “great and supportive community.” Sarah’s advice to women just starting out is to “try and find a mentor you trust and a team with whom you can be yourself.” She says, “My growth over a decade in the industry is 100% because of the guidance and support of colleagues who challenged my insecurities and celebrated my strengths.” Sarah’s strengths shine both in the office and in the field. “She leads by

“Try and find a mentor you trust and a team with whom you can be yourself.” example,’’ explains firm founder, Rick Jones. “She is a strong designer, hard worker, smart, empathetic to everyone on the team – internal, external, owner, contractor, it doesn’t matter – she wants to see everyone succeed and tries to set things up to ensure that happens.” Sarah isn’t afraid to ask the big questions or challenge preconceptions. Clients love her for this kind of leadership, and she has forged strong relationships with everyone she works with.

Women in Construction

March 2022







Women in Construction


March 2022

Meet the Women of BosNOMA The Boston chapter of the National Organization of Minority Architects (BosNOMA) holds a critical responsibility in Boston’s larger building and design community in helping foster the advancement of equitable practice and minority leadership. The organization’s primary focus is on architects, designers, and those who share a vital role in the growth of professionalism, engagement with the community and development of the built environment, which parallels the NOMA national chapter.

BosNOMA’s mission is to achieve diversity and socioeconomic awareness, establish strategic partnerships, and invest in the next generation. Part of what makes this chapter so strong are the women on the board that are helping advance change in our industry. Ali Horwitz is an architect at Studio G Architects and is serving her second year as the president of BosNOMA. Ali received her undergraduate degree from Occidental College, where she majored


Ali Horwitz

Rima Abousleiman

in Chinese and Japanese language and minored in critical theory and social justice. She credits this liberal arts education as the foundation for how she approaches her work and Elyse Ayoung her ability to think critically through a lens of equity and social justice. She earned her master’s degree in architecture from Northeastern. By joining BosNOMA, Ali found a way to bring her varied experiences together to make a meaningful impact in her career. One branch of BosNOMA, the Career Development Committee, provides students and young professionals access to mentors, professional skill development, and study groups to help advance

their careers. Through involvement in this committee and now in her role as president, BosNOMA has empowered Ali to use her voice and her position to advocate for herself and for others to make the profession more accessible. Rima Abousleiman is an architect at Bruner/Cott Architects and the treasurer of BosNOMA. She attended Wentworth Institute of Technology in Boston where she received her Master of Architecture in 2016 for a thesis studying divided cities and the potential that architecture has to facilitate unification. In her current role at Bruner/Cott, she works at the intersection of arts and culture, and advocates for sustainability and equity. As the child of immigrants from Lebanon and Iran, Rima spent a lot of time traveling through the Middle East surrounded by unique cultures, languages, and architecture. These opportunities have been integral in educating her about the experiences of others and the impact that the built environment has on social equity. Joining BosNOMA in 2020, Rima says she felt like she found a fun space for minority professionals and a safe place to have uncomfortable conversations. Through her role as a member of the Communications subcommittee, she has been involved in BosNOMA’s social and educational event planning.

Elyse Ayoung is an associate designer at Gensler Boston and the current parliamentarian and outreach chair for BosNOMA. Elyse found her path into architecture, design and construction at an early age. With a grandfather who was an architect, a mother in construction management, and a father in construction contracting, it was somewhat fitting that her path would lead her into the industry. After earning her undergraduate degree from Massachusetts College of Art and Design, she spent the next 13+ years in varying roles and project types in firms throughout Boston. Her current work with Gensler focuses on workplace design and the shaping of environments that are inclusive, whole and purposeful. She strongly believes that our collective of lived experiences can and should impact the way in which we shape and build our spaces. Elyse’s real passion lies in the next generation of women designers and builders. Through her roles with ACE, the MiD Collective and BosNOMA, she works to build and enhance opportunities that expose black and brown girls to career paths in the AEC industry, educating them on how they can positively impact their communities through the built environment. Submitted by BosNOMA

Women in Construction

March 2022


Ebbrell Transforms Spaces from a Foundation of Equity and Flexibility While many employers felt the effects of the “Great Resignation” during 2021, Ebbrell Architecture + Design not only retained, but added to its team of talented and dedicated professionals. As a 100% woman-owned and staffed firm, we believe that a healthy workplace culture – one that includes equity and flexibility, and rewards responsiveness, creativity, and innovation – provides a great foundation for our business, and adds value to the services we offer our clients. As specialists in commercial interior fitouts, adaptive reuse, lab/manufacturing, and building repositioning projects, the Ebbrell team works hard to capture the healthy and welcoming workplace characteristics we thrive in and bring them into the spaces we design for others. Meet our team: Miika Ebbrell is a licensed architect in Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Maine, Vermont, and Connecticut, and is a LEED Accredited Professional (LEED AP). Before establishing her firm, she worked with architectural and interior design firms across Canada and in Massachusetts on a wide range of building types and project sizes. Miika says she enjoys engaging closely with clients and learning about their organizations, finding exciting design opportunities through the use of color and material, trying new

Miika Ebbrell

Ariane Purdy

Robin Kneeland-Willcox

Jessica Cargile

As a 100% woman-owned and staffed firm, we believe that a healthy workplace culture – one that includes equity and flexibility, and rewards responsiveness, creativity, and innovation – provides a great foundation for our business, and adds value to the services we offer our clients. restaurants, and adventuring with family. A ‍ riane Purdy, registered architect and LEED AP, focuses primarily on interior architecture, laboratories, commercial renovations, adaptive reuse, and higher education projects. Her interests include lighting design, building stuff with her own hands, volunteering in the community, and solving her clients’ design challenges. Robin Kneeland-Willcox, AIA is a licensed architect with an M.Arch. from the Boston Architectural College. She focuses on commercial interior fit-outs for the firm’s biggest landlord clients. She enjoys creating spaces that respond to the needs of all stakeholders, research that explores architecture and neuroscience,

traveling, and the outdoors. Jessica Cargile is a licensed interior designer, LEED AP, and senior project manager. Her fields of design expertise are healthcare, higher education, corporate interiors, labs, and public K-12 schools. She takes joy in facilitating projects through fruition, problem solving, and broadening her children’s life experiences. Rachel Molé is an interior designer and LEED AP. She started her career designing new build healthcare facilities and university recreational centers. Later she focused on workplace and building amenities projects ranging from small lobby renovations to large corporate headquarters. She enjoys working with

Rachel Molé Lauren Helman Foley clients to create a unique space that fits their vision, seeing clients’ excitement as a project comes together, quality time with family and friends, the beach, and her morning coffee. Lauren Helman Foley is a licensed interior designer and LEED Green Associate. After earning her Master of Interior Design at Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, she spent over a decade working with large firms in New York City and Boston on corporate and healthcare projects. Lauren joined the Ebbrell team in June 2021 after an extended COVID maternity leave and says she is thrilled to be part of a team that truly values worklife balance. Her interests include test fitting, getting to know the ins and outs of an organization while working together, analogous colors, vintage patterns, and color coding her kids’ toys and books. Submitted by Ebbrell Architecture + Design

Specializing in commercial interior fit-outs, adaptive reuse, lab/manufacturing, and building repositioning projects

Cirtronics, Milford, NH

15 Court Square Lobby, Boston, MA

A Massachusetts-certified Woman-owned Business Enterprise licensed in MA, ME, NH, CT, and VT

www.ebbrelldesign.com (617) 959-4322 @Ebbrelldesign ebbrell-architecture-design


Women in Construction


March 2022

ReArch Recognizes Female Leadership At ReArch Company, over a quarter of our staff is comprised of women. We value our female employees and are proud of the leadership, tenacity, and dedication they bring to the team and construction industry. The women of ReArch hold various positions, from field to office. In honor of WIC week, ReArch would like to extend our gratitude to all our female leaders by recognizing their contributions. As a member of our executive team, Christa Vandevord, chief financial officer, is responsible for ensuring that the company’s financial health, staffing, and strategic goals are appropriately aligned. She helps establish thoughtful and forward-thinking corporate policies to ensure ReArch is adequately positioned within the construction, development and property management markets. Heather Illick, director of marketing & communications, oversees all corporate marketing and communication functions and just got certified as a digital marketing specialist. Her efforts garner strong brand recognition and name association, and make ReArch more visible to clients, the A&E community, and potential new hires. Holly LeClair ARM, CRIS, director of health, safety & risk management, manages all employees’ health and safety credentials and works with the wellness team to develop office and field staff initiatives. She provides weekly health and safety tips to our staff and the community. Beth Seniw, CHC, team development manager/project manager, has a wealth of project management experience on several large-scale, sustainably built, complex projects in the healthcare, higher education, and housing markets. She works closely with the VP of construction

Christa Vandevord

Heather Illick

Holly LeClair

Beth Seniw

Majken Poley

Mary Ann Wood

Jessica Harvey

Kimberly Brown

Ann Marie Hoag

Ashley Jackson

Nicole Benton

Heather Fontaine

to allocate staff to projects and mentors our project management team. Majken Poley started as a project engineer and worked her way up to a project manager. Clients rave about her attention to detail during the submittal process. She has worked on several significant projects with ReArch and is currently assisting with managing our largest educational project to date. Mary Ann Wood, controller, supports the CFO to ensure the company’s strategic goals and financial health are adequately aligned. She is responsible for financial forecasting, budgets, preparing trial balances, and monthly financial reporting. She oversees the accounting team and is a member of our Wellness Team. Jessica Harvey, AP specialist, controls the flow of payable invoices and

ensures vendor compliance with company policy. She works with the construction management team to ensure proper entry, timely payment, and adherence to accounting standards. Kimberly Brown, property accountant, is responsible for all of ReArch’s AR management and the accounting of the ReArch Properties division and their commercial leasing entities. She is a member of both ReArch’s Sustainability and Technology teams. Ann Marie Hoag, accounting clerk, supports the accounting and construction management departments, and recently graduated with a B.S. from Champlain College. Ashley Jackson, CPE, estimator, is responsible for quantity takeoffs, estimating material, labor, and subcontractors costs,

and providing value management. She works on project procurement, and issues notice of awards to subcontractors and material suppliers. She is also a Wellness Team member. Nicole Benton, assistant project manager, creates scopes of work for subcontractors, prepares contract documents, and coordinates change management. She develops and maintains project budgets and assists with closeouts. She recently obtained her 30-Hour OSHA card and is a Wellness Team member. Heather Fontaine, project engineer, is responsible for contract administration, submittal review and maintaining project documents. She keeps projects on schedule through frequent communication with the project management and design team. Submitted by ReArch Company

(l-r): Christa Vandevord, Holly LeClair, Jessica Harvey, Mary Ann Wood, Heather Fontaine, Beth Seniw, Majken Poley, Ann Marie Hoag, Kimberly Brown, Ashley Jackson, Heather Illick, and Nicole Benton


March 2022

Women in Construction



Improving Lives Through The Built Environment




Untitled-5 1

2/14/2022 10:44:41 AM

Women in Construction


March 2022

I want young women to see that you can have it all... and that it doesn’t have to be perfect.” – Kristine Millar, Principal, Orcutt | Winslow

The qualities of women in the workplace are just so evident, we should let our differences flourish.” – Suzanne Musho, AIA, NCARB, Chief Architect, NYIT

Empowering Women in Construction BUILDING EXCELLENCE TOGETHER

Thinking About A Construction Career? According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, women now represent 11% of the construction workforce in 2021, up from 9% in 2018. While those numbers are still low, the industry’s reputation as a tough environment for women is fading fast, at least according to these eight women who are enjoying very successful careers as construction project managers, assistant project managers, principals of design firms, and more. For one national construction services firm, adding women to its ranks is a top priority. “We are always looking for women to join our field teams and our preconstruction and estimating departments,” says Mike Kolakowski, president and CEO of KBE Building Corporation, which operates throughout the US, with headquarters in Connecticut. “Women offer unique qualities that are of vital importance – a strong focus on team-building and relationships, their exceptional attention to detail, and multi-tasking skills. Each of these are essential to making projects work.” Kolakowski said the firm is finding that more and more of its clients are women, another plus in encouraging women to enter the ranks.

>> The Design and Construction World, According to Women

So what’s been the experience for today’s female design and construction professionals? Here are a few take-aways from candid interviews from eight women in various AEC industry positions.


Women in Construction

March 2022


The One Characteristic Every Woman in this Industry Should Have?

Why Go into the AEC Industry? “I love being part of a team and having the chance to create positive working relationships with everyone on the project,” says Vicki Peditto, a development manager with Seattle-based Columbia Pacific Advisors, a national developer of senior living communities. “I love the challenge of working together with a team to find solutions and seeing a successful result, knowing that I had been part of making that happen.” “You get to make new relationships and maintain relationships, and you get to build something with your team,” says Kari Luedtke, a project manager with KBE Building Corporation. “The camaraderie that comes with that is special. At the end of the day, looking back and seeing what you were able to accomplish with those relationships, with all the paperwork, the irritations, the back-andforth, looking at the schedule and tossing it out the window…and then going right back outside and picking it up and fixing it ... construction is a crazy complex business, but it’s so rewarding and worth it in the end.” Jennifer Vigneault, project manager for campus planning, design and construction with UCONN Health Center in Farmington, Connecticut, describes her work as highly creative: “I love creating balance, building an environment that makes someone’s day, that creates a space that someone wants to come to. Every project has a customer – and meeting their expectations is really what construction is about.” “I really love construction; something is being built right in front of your eyes,” says Lelja Torlakovic, an assistant project manager with KBE-NY, a Manhattan-based construction firm working in one of the industry’s most challenging markets. “You come to the jobsite and see a pile of dirt and in a year, you see a beautiful building - it’s amazing.”

Most Important Lesson Learned to Date? Every woman interviewed had very definite ideas on the most important things they have each learned over the course of their careers:

“Curiosity,” says Jennifer Vigneault with UCONN Health Center. “If you don’t know something, find the right person and ask.” “Be imaginative,” according to Alicia Karr of Meyer Design. “Be able to see yourself ‘in the room’, in that next position.” “Be compassionate – that’s not just something women need to do, that’s something everyone needs to do,” says Megan Shepherd, an assistant project manager with KBE. “A male-dominated industry can be intimidating,” says Lejla Torlakovic with KBE-NY. “Women need to know how to hold their ground. Don’t be scared to voice your opinion.” Suzanne Musho of NYIT sums it up beautifully: “The virtue of women in business is that we don’t need any one trait. We have so many gifts to give. The qualities of women in the workplace are just so evident, we should let our differences flourish.”

“Relationships – they can make or break a project. They really are the basis of everything, not only in this industry but in any career or field you work in,” says Kari Luedtke, KBE project manager. “But don’t let anyone tell you what you’re capable of,” adds KBE assistant project manager Megan Shepherd. “I’ve had people tell me I should be happy being a project engineer, that I don’t have what it takes to be a project manager. And my response was, “‘thank you, but no.’” “Don’t act like you know everything,” says UCONN Health Center’s Jennifer Vigneault. “It doesn’t matter who else is in the room, if you think you are the only one who knows the answer, you won’t learn anything. And more importantly – not knowing the answer doesn’t make you incompetent or lacking in value. If there’s an expert in the room, ask them. Learn something new.” “Learn from your mistakes, don’t be scared to make mistakes - of course, try not to make them! But if they do happen, it’s a way that we learn,” says Lelja Torlakovic, assistant project manager at KBE-NY. “It’s important not to be scared to ask questions. There are no stupid questions; we’re all learning.” For Alicia Karr, president of Meyer Design Inc. in Ardsmore, PA, the 2008 recession and the current pandemic, as well as recent health concerns for a family member, have taught her a critical truth: “You don’t go through these things alone. You have your team, your colleagues, your family. And the support I’ve had from my work team has been exceptional. I’ve been very intentional about surrounding myself with people who think very differently from each other – and from me. I have my agitators, my mediators, my introverted thinkers, my devil’s advocate… and that diversity has been so successful.”

Frankly, the field is wide open for women to come in and make their mark.” – Mike Kolakowski, CEO, KBE Building Corp.

Get out of your comfort zone as much as you can.” – Kari Luedtke, Project Manager, KBE Building Corp.

To learn more about careers in construction, resources for women, and even open job positions, visit:

KBE Building - Women In Construction



Women in Construction

March 2022

Get to Know the Women of OnyxGroup OnyxGroup is a Massachusetts-based, Black woman-owned, people-focused, forward-thinking, culturally competent and inclusive development company. The firm’s mission is to preserve culture and community, promote diversity and inclusion, and create developments that address the socioeconomic needs of their residents through conscious based programs and services. Its focus is on building quality affordable housing while providing intentional specialized focus on equity and inclusion of local residents. After living in Belo Horizonte, Brazil, Chanda Smart, CEO, studied pre-law at University of Massachusetts and most recently served as an administrator to Lani Guinier and Yochai Benkler at Harvard Law School. She gained experience executing operational strategy and delivering results working for employers such as Deloitte & Touche LLP, The Gillette Company, American Express, Andersen Consulting and the Ritz Carlton. Chanda formally entered into the Boston real estate market in June 2009, with a focus on the residential market, assisting local residents in realizing homeownership and creating local partnerships with businesses such as The Law Offices of Donald E. Green to create

Shabnam Mashmasarmi and Chanda Smart, co-founders of OnyxGroup estate planning series for local Roxbury with offices in New York and Florida. residents. In 2015, Regional Counsel Minard Shabnam Mashmasarmi, COO is the Culpepper designated Shabnam to serve owner and founder of Mashmasarmi Law, as a foreclosure commissioner for the P.C., a Massachusetts-based law firm U.S. Department of Housing and Urban


all year long

800.SAMPSON . westonandsampson.com an employee-owned company


Development. Shabnam additionally serves on the board of the National Bar Association Region 1 as treasurer, is co-vice chair of the Real Estate and Probate section and the vice chair of the Programming Committee for the Bankruptcy section. Shabnam was appointed by the Governor of Massachusetts to the Black Advisory Commission for her work and commitment to diversity and inclusion. Shabnam went on to receive a Certificate in Diversity and Inclusion from Cornell University. In 2014, she partnered with Suffolk University Center for Real Estate as program consultant and developed five certificate courses. Shortly after, Shabnam entered the commercial space, representing local developers acquiring off market properties and partnering with local developers to provide quality and affordable homes. Shabnam received her undergraduate degree from Boston College and received her Juris Doctorate from Suffolk University Law School, and is a member of the Massachusetts Bar, New York Bar, Florida Bar and the United States District Court of Massachusetts. Shabnam has been a Massachusetts real estate broker for over 10 years. Submitted by OnyxGroup

Women in Construction

March 2022


How LJV has shown Resilience and Leadership During Historical Times In January of 2020, LJV Development had only been in business for less than two years when the pandemic began. The country was just weeks away from reaching maximum lockdown when founder and CEO, Liseth Velez, decided to bet on herself and quit her position as a market manager for Cincoro Tequila to follow her calling and build a successful construction company. As the sole owner of LJV, Liseth felt ready to take on whatever challenge came her way. In the years leading up to going “all in” and founding her own company, she had been examining the marketplace and working on her strategy that would give rise to the type of successful construction company she envisioned. Liseth believes that success happens when people put their differences aside and focus on the task at hand. She says, “It’s taken a lot of praying, patience, and dedication to be where we are today.” After years of focusing primarily on the federal market, Liseth decided to expand LJV’s services to the commercial and higher education sectors, which has proven to be the best pivot the organization has made to date. Last year, LJV’s principal customer was The Grossman Companies, which awarded contracts to LJV ranging from simple renovations to a complete build

Liseth Velez out of Hedi’s Furniture in Wellesley, Mass. Most recently, LJV won its first higher education contract from Wellesley College to transform an ATM vestibule into an all-gender bathroom. And in spring 2022, the company will complete

its first restaurant, Cilantro Kitchen, managed and led by the owners of 3 Islas Group. In as much as the company has experienced success, Liseth and LJV have also had to work through numerous challenges stemming from COVID-19, namely having to adopt additional protocols in order to adapt its business practices to operate in a COVID compliant manner as well as find workarounds to contend with both labor shortages and supply chain disruptions. “I cannot say that the journey has been easy, but I am a firm believer that you learn more from your mistakes than your successes. So I know that everything that has happened has only made us a stronger and better organization, which is something we strive for in everything we do,” Liseth says. The LJV team as a whole understands they wouldn’t be where they are today without advocates of small businesses.

The support and guidance of business accelerators are key to the company’s success because they opened avenues to resources that reach far and wide. This kind of network building is essential especially for those who have been historically marginalized and do not have access to the capital that is required to help any small businesses thrive. Liseth is intensely aware of the fact that lack of information and access to education exacerbates this issue. This has led her and the company to pledge 95% of all donations to be directed to educational purposes. “For me it has been all about working together towards a better future, not just for ourselves but for generations to come. If I can leave things better than the way I found them, then I’ve already reached success,” she adds. Submitted by LJV Development, LLC

“ For me it has been all about working together towards a better future, not just for ourselves but for generations to come. If I can leave things better than the way I found them, then I’ve already reached success.”

“As a woman, people tell me to speak louder to be taken seriously, but speaking louder doesn’t mean people will listen. Regardless of gender, you have to be accurate, know what you’re talking about and confident in yourself to get the respect of your colleges.”

Ashley Gilmore Assistant Project Manager

“I learned that the quickest way to give up your power is to believe that you don’t have any. Being in construction empowers women to shatter glass ceilings, defy all stereotypes, and prosper in a male-dominated industry. You just have to believe in yourself enough.”

Kimberly Joyce, CM-LEAN Senior Project Manager

“My advice to women is to just be themselves, try their best, have integrity and respect for themselves and others and things will go well for them in this industry. In return, people will respect them and help them learn and grow in a potentially awesome career.”

Amal Mumtaz Assistant Project Manager

Kylie Williams Assistant Superintendent

s e t Women a br

e l e C


“I finally realized that it was useless trying to be one of the guys. We, as women, sometimes see things differently. We may have different perspectives and we may have different priorities on a project. Neither one is necessarily right or wrong, just different.”


Construction www.high-profile.com


Women in Construction



Tiffany Stanewicz Tiffany Stanewicz is a design engineer at Interstate Electrical Services and has been with the company for six years. Previously in the medical field, she was introduced to the electrical trade by her then-boyfriend (now husband), an electrician who is passionate about the field. She was immediately intrigued by the industry. “The electrical trade provided me an opportunity to create and to build not only on projects but also on myself. Every project seems to bring new interesting challenges. DESIGN I get to collaborate with ENGINEER an amazing team to overcome obstacles and Interstate bumps in the road as they Electrical arise all while building Services a lifelong meaningful career,” she says. Tiffany says she values the collaboration necessitated by the electrical trade and especially Interstate’s team-centric approach, where she gets to interact with a number of different departments, noting, “I get to design power, communication, and fire alarm layouts. I also get to generate project schedules, generate photometric analysis models and calculations with various software.” She says the most rewarding part is seeing her completed projects “come alive.”

March 2022

Jenna Meyers

“There’s never been a better time for women to defy gender norms and embrace their value as a skilled trade worker.” As for encouraging other women to enter the trades, Tiffany says there’s “never been a better time for women to defy gender norms and embrace their value as a skilled trade worker.” She adds that it’s an exciting field that women have historically overlooked, but if more women “had the opportunity to explore it, they may fall in love with it.”

From a young age, Jenna Meyers, IIDA, NCIDQ, LEED AP knew she wanted to do something creative and took every art class offered at her high school. During her senior year, she took an interior design course and fell in love with the subject, going on to earn a Bachelor of Fine Arts in interior design. Ten years ago, Jenna moved to Boston and joined New England architectural and interior design firm, Margulies Perruzzi (MP). As a senior interior designer, Jenna brings 15 years SENIOR of extensive design ASSOCIATE/ experience to the MP SENIOR INTERIOR team, contributing her DESIGNER strengths in design development, programMargulies ming, project managePerruzzi ment, and coordination. As a workplace studio leader, she specializes in working closely with clients to create custom-designed spaces, reflecting their unique brand, mission, and culture. Recently promoted to senior associate, Jenna heads up the workplace studio at MP and helps develop the firm’s workplace strategies. MP’s most recent report, Volume 5 Workplace Strategy Report: Embracing the Hybrid Workspace, affirms

the logic of transitioning from a traditional to hybrid model. A survey of 8,600 people across multiple business sectors revealed that 44% of workers plan on being in the office three days a week, and 25% plan on two days. Only 9% responded that they would return to a pre-pandemic office presence. Jenna says she enjoys mentoring designers at MP and believes we fail if we don’t teach the next generation. Her advice to anyone interested in a career in interior design is “Enjoy the process, learn how to listen, and make yourself valuable.”

Interstate Celebrates Women in Construction

“ I feel like a lot of women don’t see the trades as a career choice, but if they had the opportunity to explore it they may fall in love with it. ” Sharon B. Join our diverse Team! Visit our website for career opportunities throughout all New England states. www.high-profile.com

855.500.IESC www.iesc1.com

Women in Construction

March 2022




Olivia Harris

Shannon Guest Shannon Guest is a Pembroke, Mass. resident and a fourth-generation Heat and Frost Insulators and Allied Workers Local 6 member, following in the footsteps of her grandfather, uncle, father, and brother. A mother of six, Shannon waitressed for years to make ends meet before getting her GED to pursue a career in mechanical insulation, determined to build a better life for her family. Now in the fourth and final year of her apprenticeship with Local 6, Shannon says she is thankful for the ways the union has MECHANICAL changed her life. “The INSULATION way I can provide for APPRENTICE my family today is just amazing. Heat and Frost absolutely At the end of the day, Insulators I know that I’m safe Local 6 and that I’ll be going home to my family. I don’t have to live paycheck to paycheck. I don’t have to worry about my kids’ health insurance or about my future. If I have a problem, whether it’s inside or outside of work, I know that somebody has my back,” she says. As a Heat and Frost Insulators Local 6 member, Shannon has seized every opportunity to get more involved in her community and her industry. She

volunteers for various charitable initiatives supporting veterans, children and families and the recovery community. She also takes the the time to speak to other women and girls about opportunities in the union building trades at monthly Tradeswoman Tuesdays events. To other women considering working in the building trades, Shannon advises, “If you’re thinking about it, take the chance and do it. Give yourself that opportunity because it is absolutely life-changing. You can be a mother and a wife, have a career, provide for your family, live comfortably, and have it all while being part of a team.”

Olivia Harris, NCIDQ, LEED AP ID+C is an interior designer whose impact and influence has been gaining momentum at Phase Zero Design. Primarily innovating within hospitality, healthcare, and workplace environments, Olivia has an affinity for immersing herself in a client’s brand and culture, enabling her to fully comprehend each and every community for which she designs. A rising interior INTERIOR design star, Olivia DESIGNER always manages to overcome the variety Phase Zero of unique challenges on Design projects all across the country. She does this with early and clear communication, by reconciling design visions with feedback from end-users, and by keeping focus on the development of spaces inspired by, and built for, the people who will interact with them. Whether supporting localization efforts for a client’s large-scale rollout, or diving deep into the fabric of a community to create one-of-a-kind experiences, Olivia brings an invaluable level of organization, attention to detail, and personality to any project.

Whether supporting localization efforts for a client’s large-scale rollout, or diving deep into the fabric of a community to create one-of-a-kind experiences, Olivia brings an invaluable level of organization, attention to detail, and personality to any project.

HER CAREER Project Engineer Oracle, Burlington, MA

Emma Kellar Project Manager



Intern Duxbury New Middle/High School, Duxbury, MA


Project Engineer Salem State University, Salem, MA

Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University BS, Construction Engineering and Management

Assistant Project Manager College of the Holy Cross, Recreation/Wellness Center and Performing Arts Center, Worcester, MA

Project Engineer DYS Northeast Detention Facility, Middleton, MA



Assistant Project Manager New Trial Court, Lowell, MA



Project Manager Doherty Memorial High School (JV), Worcester, MA

THROUGH THE YEARS... www.high-profile.com

Women in Construction




Maureen Kelly

Renee Dozier

Maureen Kelly is a civil project engineer at TFMoran. She holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the University of Massachusetts Lowell, where she was the first female civil engineering graduate of the university’s Honors College. Maureen participated in several student scholarship and service-learning organizations while also completing internships in structural engineering and surveying. Her robust educational and leadership background has been ideal for a career in site-civil design. CIVIL PROJECT In her professional ENGINEER role, Maureen says she most enjoys projects TFMoran that incorporate environmental benefits and equitable design. Recognizing that flexibility is critical, she easily steps into a project at any stage and effectively collaborates within diverse teams. Maureen works in site design, all levels of permitting, utilities layout, and stormwater infrastructure, with special interests in low-impact development and watershed health. In the office, she strives to be a supportive sounding board for her coworkers and a reliable, responsive partner for highquality civil design. Maureen has donated time to advise

students pursuing engineering projects in Haiti, where her own capstone team worked, and sits on the board of advisors of the Haiti Development Studies Center at UMass Lowell. She also serves as a judge for the Future City Competition, a middle school urban design program. Maureen says she loves spending quality time with her husband and 4-year-old foster son, and has been an avid equestrian since childhood. Whether at home, volunteering, or in the office, she believes that taking a holistic view – balancing vision with details – is always a good investment.

Professionals you can count on! Serving NH, MA & Northern New England since 1968





tfmoran.com www.high-profile.com



Voted BEST NH Engineering Fi 10 Years Runn rm ing!

Bedford & Portsmouth, NH

As a young mother of two, Renee Dozier was determined to find a career path that offered security and stability to her family, something that would make her kids proud. After several years, one union electrical trade apprenticeship and many seized opportunities later, Renee has gained financial security and a priceless, in-demand skillset as a journeyperson electrician. Today, in her new role as an IBEW Local 103 business agent, Renee is paving the way for other women and people of BUSINESS color to access financial AGENT freedom through familysustaining careers. IBEW Renee officially ascended Local 103 to her role as business agent for the Boston region in June. In this capacity, Renee leads key business development opportunities for the union, its members and its signatory contractors, while simultaneously working to connect Boston city residents, women, and people of color to electrical apprenticeships just like the one that kicked off her own career in the industry. “As a woman of color who is the leader of our union’s presence and recruitment efforts in Boston, I am living proof of the opportunity that exists for upward mobility,” says Renee. “I am proud that we are doing more every day to increase the diversity of our membership. It’s a top priority that we are putting our full focus and resources toward.” In addition to her role as business agent, Renee serves on the board of the Empower DEI program, a new initiative by IBEW Local 103 and NECA Greater Boston electrical contractors aimed at increasing the number of women-owned (WBE) and minority-owned (MBE) union contractors in the electrical industry. She also chairs the Electrical Workers Minority Caucus,

March 2022

“As a woman of color who is the leader of our union’s presence and recruitment efforts in Boston, I am living proof of the opportunity that exists for upward mobility. I am proud that we are doing more every day to increase the diversity of our membership. It’s a top priority that we are putting our full focus and resources toward.” and Local 103’s Women’s Committee. Most recently, Renee was appointed to serve on the board of trustees overseeing the jointly-funded IBEW Local 103 and NECA Greater Boston Trust Fund, one of the state’s largest set of employment funds that administers benefits to thousands of Local 103 union electrical workers and their families.

STEM Solutions Recognizes Two STEM Solutions, LLC is a national provider of custom commercial and educational lab fit outs. In honor of Women in Construction week, we would like to feature two women that help make our organization a success. Fariha Haq, lead estimator, joined STEM Solutions in 2020 to head up the estimating department. She brings to her role a decade of experience in estimating and construction project management. She holds a Bachelor of Technology in architecture from the City University of New York and has completed advanced training in Class II licensing and fabrication. Prior to joining the team at STEM Solutions, Fariha worked at ACS Systems Associates, Inc., A-Porcel, and Contractors Sheet Metal.

Fariha Haq

Kim McGhee

Kim McGhee, product manager, has over 20 years of experience in the architecture and design fields. Before joining STEM Solutions last year, she worked at Arrowstreet Inc. and Lee Kimball. Kim has a Bachelor of Interior Design from Boston Architectural College. Submitted by STEM Solutions, LLC

Women in Construction

March 2022



Laureen Poulakis

With over 20 years of experience as an executive vice president, Laureen Poulakis acquired the necessary knowledge and business tools to develop her engineering and surveying firm into an emerging woman-owned leader in the region. Since her relocation to Massachusetts in 2001, starting her own firm was always the main goal. “Ensuring client satisfaction is certainly one key to success. I am always looking at ways to improve procedures, deliver high quality products, and exceed PRESIDENT industry standards. Even Brennan before Brennan’s WBE Consulting certification, I’ve been intimately involved in all aspects of the business including the management of projects, review and approval of proposals, financial management, and daily operations. Our employees are the backbone of Brennan Consulting and building the right team that is focused on delivering high quality services is fundamental. The people we work with each day make this company successful,” she said. It’s been a surprisingly strong period of growth for Brennan Consulting, one of Boston’s youngest WBE firms. The

past few years saw advancements in both market sector and client base to include many of the region’s top performers. What has been most notable is the expansion of

an already robust portfolio which now includes innovations in adaptive reuse and new construction methods on several private developments, elementary and high schools, universities, municipal and state roadways, state forests, parks, and the harbor islands. From surveying and civil design, through permitting and construction, Brennan Consulting’s qualified team successfully pivoted during the pandemic and continues to assure successful project delivery. “Bold innovation and state-ofthe-art technology have allowed us to expand our portfolio to include some of the largest projects in the Commonwealth,” Laureen said. “Women should consider a career in construction. It’s exciting,” she added. “There are always emerging technologies

and new innovations to build things better, stronger, greener. I believe in progress and progress promotes ingenuity. Also, find what empowers you. Our father, Paul Emilius, a very successful businessman and land surveyor, would sit us down as young as 7 years old and play motivational tapes by Earl Nightingale. Dad would stop the tape and rewind, excited for the moments to teach us. Quotes that stuck with me include ‘Whatever we plant in our subconscious mind and nourish with repetition and emotion will one day become reality’ and ‘Success is the progressive realization of a worthy ideal.’” Laureen and her family enjoy the unlimited outdoor activities in New England and spend their free time skiing, mountain biking and hiking.

“ Women should consider a career in construction. It’s exciting. There are always emerging technologies and new innovations to build things better, stronger, greener. I believe in progress and progress promotes ingenuity. Also, find what empowers you.“

• Civil Engineering • Traffic and Transportation Engineering • Land Surveying with Laser/Lidar Scanning • Photogrammetric Mapping • Construction Layout Surveying • WBE Certified

BrennanConsults.com / 781.273.3434


Women in Construction


Integrated at Work Celebrates WIC Week At Integrated at Work (IAW), we create strong, lasting internal and external relationships. Our co-workers don’t just work together, we support and encourage each other. We are excited for this opportunity to highlight two of our phenomenal team members who are pivotal to IAW’s continued success. Wilma Sanchez, assistant project manager, joined IAW in April 2021 and oversees project management from the preconstruction phase and submittals through final project execution and completion. She has vast industry experience, trained initially as an architect in Venezuela. Wilma has worked in many different roles throughout her over 20 year career, including operating her own

Both Wilma and Barbara have proven reputations for exceeding client expectations, and we are thrilled to have them on our team. construction company specializing in commercial and residential projects. Her hands-on project management style is a valued asset to the IAW team.

Wilma Sanchez

Barbara Pugsley

Barbara Pugsley, estimator, joined IAW in January. Creative and innovative, Barbara works directly with contractor partners to determine project specifics. She provides accurate and comprehensive estimates, including material quantities, equipment requirements, and labor needs, as well as creative construction solutions and value engineering options. She has more than a decade of experience working in various capacities within construction management and the general contracting industry. Founded in 2009, IAW is a premier specialty contractor. We bring innovation and expertise to your building project providing robust solutions for interior and exterior spaces. Both Wilma and Barbara have proven reputations for exceeding client expectations, and we are thrilled to have them on our team. Submitted by Integrated at Work


March 2022


Ayesca Machado Two years ago, Ayesca Machado, an apprentice with Pipefitters Local 537, was searching for a new direction in her life. The Quincy resident had just come out of a tough divorce, was out of work, and homeless. That’s when she read a Building Pathways pre-apprenticeship recruitment flier while at a homeless shelter. Today, at age 37, Ayesca spends her days at a Fenway Park construction site, one of several women working on a 5,000-person musical venue project next to the ballpark. She’s APPRENTICE making more than she WITH did at her old medical administration job and PIPEFITTERS learning new and interLOCAL 537 esting things every day about being a pipefitter. “I was going through a major transition in my life,” Ayesca recalls. “Every day I’m doing something different, I’m doing something new.” Ayesca, who began her pipefitters apprenticeship in 2021, says she appreciates the benefits that come with her apprenticeship, as well as the chance to work in a nurturing environment. “It’s been amazing. My crew’s awesome,” she says. “I get a lot of hands-on experience. Just last week my foreman had me run some drain lines by myself. Everyone’s

“It’s been exciting learning about all these different mechanical systems, how they work, and meeting new people on the job.” been helpful, teaching me about the business. I’ve had great instructors.” Ayesca adds, “It’s really nice to see projects from start to finish, and to be able to say, ‘I was a part of that.’ For me, it’s been exciting learning about all these different mechanical systems, how they work, and meeting new people on the job. It’s been exciting seeing the building come together.”

We Salute


Celebrating Women in Construction Providing Exterior & Interior Architectural Products Storefronts & Curtain Walls Specialty Doors Glass & Glazing Moveable Walls Raised Access Floors Feature Walls Learn more www.integratedatwork.com

We strive to raise awareness of the opportunities available for women in the field, and to emphasize the Associated Subcontractors growing role of women in our industry.

of Massachusetts, Inc.

ASM is the state’s leading association for specialty contractors. Since 1950 we have represented companies of all trades, large and small, union and open shop, who work on major building projects across the commonwealth, in both the public and private sector.

Visit www.associatedsubs.com to join.

Protect, Connect, Educate


Building a better future for specialty contractors since 19 www.associatedsubs.com • 617.742.3412 • mail@associatedsubs.com

March 2022

Women in Construction



Odeida Guzman Odeida Guzman is a senior accountant at Connolly Brothers, a Beverly, Mass.based construction management firm serving private commercial, industrial, and institutional clients and operating throughout the New England region since 1880. In her role with Connolly, she provides general and cost accounting services, as well as accounts payable and accounts receivable services. With more than 25 years’ experience, Odeida began working at Connolly Brothers in 2019 and SENIOR says she enjoys providing ACCOUNTANT the company with clear, accurate, and timely Connolly financials. With a keen Brothers eye for process efficiency and organized operations management, her accounting and organizational experience has been integral in helping Connolly Brothers succeed in collaborations with clients, employees, and subcontractors. Colleagues praise Odeida’s teamworkbased approach and she notes that positive feedback motivates her to do even better. She is particularly proud of her work in rising to the challenge of COVID-19 to keep all accounts running smoothly throughout the pandemic. Odeida studied accounting at Dominican University O&M. Prior

to joining Connolly, she worked for manufacturing, medical, retail, and technology companies. A lifelong learner, she was drawn to construction because it was one of few sectors within which she had not previously exercised her skills. At Connolly, she says she enjoys being empowered to implement her ideas, templates, and procedures. Odeida says, “Women need to be in construction, and we need to change our minds as to who we view doing different jobs,” because “the more diverse voices you have discussing when and how to do things, the better it is for the organization.”



Laura Notman With over 30 years of experience in architecture, Laura Notman has worked in both large and small firms, as well as having her own practice. While the firms may have changed along the way, one element has remained consistent: her affinity toward laboratory projects. “I’ve always gravitated back to working on laboratory projects,” she explains. “I think it’s because scientists and architects are problem solvers who use creativity to address novel challenges. The tools of science – asking questions, SENIOR observation, testing LAB PLANNER the result – layered on a good foundational Matz knowledge of the field, Collaborative are also the tools architects need to design successfully. It makes me feel connected to our clients.” With that connection, Laura enjoys the collaboration with researchers to structure a workspace where they can get their best work done. “There’s always unusual or unexpected challenges that arise from their research needs, alongside the constraints of space and budget,” she says. “The work that our clients do is very inspiring and it has been a bonus to see increasing diversity among the scientists we work with.” Currently, Laura serves as a senior lab planner at Matz Collaborative, an


architecture firm specializing in laboratory and private and public education projects. She joined the team in January 2020 just as the pandemic was beginning to take hold. Matz Collaborative was able to quickly pivot to remote work while maintaining a connected team. “The firm is built on a foundation of trust, humor, and empathy that has allowed us to support one another through all the turmoil,” Laura says. “These qualities are also key to working successfully on a variety of projects because they enable a full understanding of the client’s needs and the teamwork to get the job done successfully.”

290 PINE STREET CANTON, MA 02021 781.769.7110



Women in Construction




Christy Conley

Cori DiDonato

An assistant project manager at BW Kennedy & Co., Christy Conley has been working in the construction management field since graduating from Lehigh University in 2019. She received a Bachelor of Science in mechanical engineering but realized early on that she was not interested in pursuing a desk job. The initial concept that interested her about engineering was the tangible quality of it and she wanted that real-world application to apply to her career as well. The dayto-day variability of ASSISTANT working on a construction PROJECT site has increasingly MANAGER made Christy more confident in her decision BW Kennedy to pursue construction & Co. management. Starting out in the business, Christy was empowered by seeing other women in leading construction roles. In her experience, the women she has worked with have been eager to give advice and lend a helping hand when needed. Christy is serving as an assistant project manager for a 147,000sf core and shell life science building at 580 Pleasant St. in Watertown for Griffith Properties. As an integral member of the team, she helps to manage all subcontractors on site and ensures that the field team has everything

“No one individual is going to have all the answers so it is worth spending the time to find the right people to talk to and really listen to their ideas.” in place to succeed with their work. When asked about good leadership advice she has received, Christy said, “A manager from a previous company told me that everyone on site has something to teach you. No one individual is going to have all the answers so it is worth spending the time to find the right people to talk to and really listen to their ideas.”

Cori DiDonato is the founder and CEO of Silver Tiger Consulting in Wakefield, Mass. Silver Tiger Consulting provides PR and marketing services, HR outsourcing, and business operations consulting to firms in the construction industry. Cori is on the board of the Northeast Builders & Remodelers Association of Massachusetts (NEBA) and was recently named chair of the organization’s marketing committee. At the end of March, she will be teaching the CEO BBRS approved CSL continuing education Silver Tiger class, “Reputation ManConsulting agement for Construction Entities,” at the organization’s headquarters in Tewsbury, Mass. Prior to founding Silver Tiger Consulting, Cori held various leadership positions in the construction, high-tech, and finance world, including VP, infrastructure and engineering/CIO at Medem, Inc.; VP, strategic product sales for Washington Mutual; various leadership positions at PeopleSoft and Oracle; and interim and fractional COO positions at construction and real estate development firms. She is a member of the Associated General Contractors of America, the Associated General Contractors of Massachusetts, the National Association of Home Builders,

March 2022

and the Home Builders & Remodelers Association of Massachusetts. Cori received her B.S. in corporate communications from Ithaca College in New York and enjoys spending free time traveling with her husband and daughter.

Cori is on the board of the Northeast Builders & Remodelers Association of Massachusetts (NEBA) and was recently named chair of the organization’s marketing committee.

With Appreciation for the Dedicated Women on our Team. Thank you!


New England’s leader in PR, Crisis Management, and Marketing Services for Construction Firms Success



Silver Tiger Consulting helps CEOs, COOs and business owners grow their enterprises in the most efficient and profitable way possible: • PR, crisis management and marketing services, including fractional CMOs • Human resource outsourcing • Operations consulting



silvertigerconsulting.com / (781) 214-3808

Women in Construction



Riane Ragno

Aimee Foley

Riane Ragno joined Cranshaw Construction in 2019 after transplanting from Mississippi’s Gulf Coast and earning a history degree from Tufts University, with a concentration on women’s history. As a Jumbo, Riane participated in the First Generation, QuestBridge and various other mentoring programs aimed at elevating the school’s diversity and inclusion efforts. Riane started her career in Cranshaw’s Pre-construction/Estimating department as an assistant estimating DIVERSITY AND coordinator. Applying her WORK FORCE keen organizations skills, COORDINATOR she kept estimating and bidding information up Cranshaw to date for multi-family Construction residential projects. Riane tracked compliance with project Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) goals and actively supported outreach to a broader subcontractor community. In her current role as Cranshaw’s diversity and work force coordinator, Riane applies her trademark enthusiasm to the development of new strategies that support DEI goals, including subcontractor cultivation, hiring efforts, training and policy. Riane participates on DEI subcommittees established by Cranshaw and National Development

Aimee Foley started her career in 1998, completing the 10-week Bricklayers and Allied Craftsmen Apprenticeship Program. During this hands-on learning model, necessary skills are taught utilizing brick, mortar, and CMU. After successful completion, she attended night school for five years, honing her skills to become a journeyman. Aimee has worked for Folan Waterproofing & Construction Co., Inc. ever since. Folan has been a proud women-owned business since 1969, PROJECT currently spanning into MANAGER/ its third generation of COMPANY ownership. Working in SECRETARY the field, Aimee climbed the ladder becoming a Folan respected foremen as she Waterproofing led the waterproofing & Construction division. She spent 15 Co., Inc. years installing air and vapor barrier cavity wall systems, below grade waterproofing, masonry restoration, epoxy injection and deck coatings. She transitioned into lead project manager/ company secretary while also working in harmony with the field operations. Aimee says she prides herself in successful teamwork with owners, architects, other trade partners and general contractors. Her unmatched

to build the knowledge and awareness necessary to embrace diversity, strive for equity and promote inclusion at the firms. Riane’s natural inquisitiveness and passion serve her well as she helps trail blaze DEI in the construction industry. “As part of the industry, DEI is still in its earliest stages but I’m excited that I get to help build the foundations and pave the way for the future of DEI,” she says. “Because DEI touches every aspect of the business, I engage in a lot of different parts and with a lot of different people, which keeps this role continually interesting and also challenging, but reminds me of just how meaningful and needed DEI is.”


Aimee encourages continuous improvement for herself and others through training, learning, and being open to new developments. knowledge and firsthand experience ensure a successful project from start to finish. Aimee is also responsible for all public prequalification processes for new projects, annual DCAMM renewals, and contract administration. Aimee encourages continuous improvement for herself and others through training, learning, and being open to new developments in the construction industry.


Celebrating Women in Construction

Pr i d e .

Pa s s i o n .

Leader in Masonry, Restoration, Historic Preservation & Waterproofing


Celebrating & Empowering Women In Construction Specializing in masonry and waterproofing across greater New England.


(508) 238-6550


(508) 238-9425

― Historical Building Construction



― Historical Masonry


795 Washington Street South Easton, MA 02375



― General Building Construction



March 2022

― Masonry ― Waterproofing & Sealants



Women in Construction


March 2022

Keep ACES up your sleeve with

A COMER ELECTRICAL SERVICES Your go-to for electrical construction and service maintenance A Comer Electrical Services Inc. (ACES) delivers precise, high-quality electrical services to projects across Greater Boston. No matter the size of your project, ACES guarantees satisfaction and strives to save you time and money! Founded and operated by Alecia Comer since 2019, ACES is a proud women-owned business. With over 20 years of experience in the construction industry, Comer and the ACES team have built a reputation for running smooth, efficient projects, for providing unparalleled customer service, and for getting the job done right the first time, every time. Alecia Comer Owner/CEO, ACES

NOTHING BEATS AN ACE! Contact ACES today and get a free consultation for your next project: (781) 834-7316 | AComerElectrical.com | acomer@acomerelectrical.com www.high-profile.com