Celebrating Women in Construction Week in Downtown L.A.

Three events featured industry movers and shakers, networking and scholarships

Los Angeles construction is booming, and the events held by the National Association of Women in Construction Los Angeles (NAWICLA) Chapter showcased some of the industry leaders responsible for that boom. March 4-8 was Women in Construction Week, and NAWICLA held three events that inspired, recognized achievements and provided opportunities for networking to women from all over the LA region. A breakfast Tuesday, drinks on Wednesday and luncheon on Thursday were all extremely well-attended, packed with entrepreneurs, business leaders, executives and even students from AEC.

Tuesday’s event, a breakfast at the top of City Hall with views of the LA skyline, was sponsored by Skanska and featured inspirational words from a range of women, including Jo-E Lopez, a VP at Snyder Langston, and Amber Meshack, a director at Los Angeles World Airports. Lopez had one simple piece of advice for everybody: make your bed in the morning. That way, before you even start your day, you know you’ve accomplished something. Meshack spoke about finding inspiration from other women in the field, and taking heart knowing that women play such an important role in the industry, even if that is sometimes overlooked.

Wednesday’s event at a downtown wine bar was a fundraiser for DIY Girls, a local nonprofit dedicated to nurturing girls’ interest and success in technology, engineering and making. Executive Director Leticia Rodriguez said she was grateful for, and inspired by, NAWIC’s support: the money raised through ticket sales was all being donated. Thursday’s luncheon featured a range of speakers, from project superintendents to architects, all of whom exemplified the kind of success in the workplace that NAWIC is dedicated to promoting.

Annie Kao, a structural engineer at Simpson Strong-Tie who serves on the board of directors of the Structural Engineers Association of Southern California, had this advice as she helped kick off the week’s events: “We’re in the industry to serve people,” she said. “Keeping that in mind, and making sure to listen as well as to act, will lead to success and satisfaction.” There was no shortage of those two qualities on display at the Women in Construction Week events.

Shilo Losino, who is head of the Los Angeles NAWIC chapter, noted the diversity of women in the construction industry in Los Angeles that these events highlighted. “Women from every aspect of construction were in attendance, from the boots on the ground, to the CEOs and owners, the seasoned to the students,” Losino said. “It was a true celebration of women and their power.”