Ice Cream, Coffee, and Sisterhood Unite Construction Women

By on March 9, 2017

Food, drink, and sisterhood are common themes of events scheduled by women in the St. Louis construction industry during the month of March.

The events are directed at providing support for women who already in the industry and at attracting more women to construction and connecting them with jobs.

Information and Mentoring

On Tuesday (March 7), the St. Louis Missouri Chapter 38 of the National Association of Women in Construction (NAWIC) and the Missouri Women in Trades (MOWIT) jointly hosted an ice cream social at the offices of Tarlton.

“The ice cream social was a great organizing event,” MOWIT President Beth Barton wrote in an email to Barton is a Tarlton superintendent. She received a Forum Building Tomorrow Award in 2016 for her work in the area of workforce development for girls and women.

“There were five people present who were interested in careers in construction and came to get information and receive mentoring,” she wrote. “The five new people who came were Caitlyn, Lisa, Jan, Teresa, and a man, Alex. We have been helping Caitlin for two weeks, and Caitlyn got her letter of intent to the Carpenter’s the same day as the ice cream social.  Alex is still interviewing to get a letter of intent with the Carpenters, we’ve been helping him for one week. Teresa and Lisa are both being given information, contacts, and mentors in the operators and cement masons, respectively.

Beth Barton, at left, MOWIT president, converses with women attending the NAWIC/MOWIT ice cream social event held at Tarlton on Tuesday. 

“And Jan was also given information, mentoring, and has a follow up appointment with an instructor at the carpenters. So five people, all of them got information and resources about entering the union building trades because that’s what MOWIT does! We promote and support women entering in the union building trades of the greater St. Louis area. We would love to have more people join us in our efforts! We hope that more people who work at the different building trades will see the positive steps we are taking, and will join with us to help us get women into their unions.”

Also attending the ice cream social was Jissie Lerma, an engineer from Colombia. Lerma was a port engineer in her native country. She held a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering and a specialization certificate in quality control from universities in Colombia and earned an MBA from Webster University, but has been unable to find work in her field here. She had the opportunity at the event to meet Tracy Hart, president and CEO of Tarlton.

Packed Calendar

The week of March 5-11, designated nationally as Women in Construction Week, began with a NAWIC kickoff brunch at the Elephant Bar in Des Peres.

After the Tuesday night ice cream social, Wednesday featured a NAWIC prevailing wage workshop at McCarthy and MOWIT’s monthly “Tradeswomen Meet Up” at Mokabe’s Coffeehouse, 3606 Arsenal in the Tower Grove Neighborhood. The regular Meet-Up meetings, held  on the second Wednesday of the month offer women in construction a safe format to voice concerns and receive mentoring. 

More events are planned:

  • This Sunday (March 12), NAWIC will host a Women in Construction Week concluding brunch at Bourgeois Blufftop Bistro in Rocheport, MO. Reservations for the networking lunch and meeting are available by emailing Sandra Carter.
  • On March 15, NAWIC members will represent their chapter and the Construction Forum Education Foundation at a day-long STEAM Conference for seventh-grade girls at Washington University. Donna Martin (NAWIC), Samantha Cook (Clayco Corp), Stephanie Anderson (Acme Constructors), Carrie Roider (Erb Equipment) and Stacey Lampe (Castle Contracting) will be exhibiting and presenting a “NAWIC Builds Leaders” breakout session. 500 girls and 100 chaperones are expected at the event.
  • On March 16, NAWIC will hold its monthly meeting at 5:30 p.m. at the Alberici office, 8800 Page Ave, featuring a panel discussion on construction law. RSVP by email to Sandra Carter.
  • On March 22, Beth Barton, MOWIT president, will share her experiences as part of the first tradeswomen delegation to India.  Barton Going on First U.S. Tradeswomen Delegation to India.  The event will be 5:30pm-6:30pm at the Construction Forum STL offices, 3245 Hampton Ave.    For information email Dede Hance, director of administration, Construction Forum STL, or call her at  314.880.2063, ext 302.  RSVP by email to Beth Barton.


About Tom Finan