Celebrating Women in Construction

Did you know, women only make up 11 percent of workers in the construction industry? National Women in Construction Week aims to recognize women for their hard work in a heavily male-dominated industry. However, growth continues as data suggests since 2016, there has been an influx of 234,000 women in construction. This week, we introduce a few of the amazing women who work for BMWC.

Women celebrating women in construction week - wearing women's construction workwear on job site with candy cane piping in background.
L To R: Asia Washington, Lisa Wireman, Lauren Ozuk, Vanessa Sheeler

Apprentice and fill-in foreman lauren ozuk wearing womens construction clothes. Crane in background placing candy cane piping system job site.

Lauren Ozuk

Trade: Pipefitter
Local: UA Local 50
Experience: 5 Years

“Don’t let the fear of not knowing everything hold you back from pursuing a career in the trades. Even though it might seem intimidating, they teach you all you need to know.”


Lauren has worked in the construction industry for just under five years. During her time in the field, she has enjoyed hands-on learning experiences. When exploring her career options, the trades came to mind because her cousin, a pipefitter, recommended joining. He informed her of the benefits, including gaining valuable skills while avoiding the heavy burden of college expenses.

Lauren has become a great leader at BMWC. She has succeeded in her role by using past experiences as a reference when making leadership decisions. She feels that having a good General Foreman that she can look up to, such as Steve Stewart, plays a pivotal role in her overall success. His ability to treat everyone fairly and demonstrate respect to all those that he encounters is something that sticks with her.

What is it like being a woman in the field?

When Lauren first began her journey, she was intimidated. There are many stigmas surrounding women’s performance, and the idea that people would assume that she couldn’t pull her weight was a struggle. Others could describe Lauren as a resilient, dedicated, hard-working woman. So, she used those strengths in the first couple of years to gain respect and prove herself.

Lauren’s demeanor reflects her passion for the industry. She hopes that women who demonstrate leadership get more recognition, and that will inspire other young girls to consider pursuing a career in the trades.

What does the future for women look like in the construction industry?

Lauren has witnessed the impact women have made on the job sites and strongly feels that the industry will continue to be more open-minded, giving opportunities to those who may not look the part. She believes that since many women are meticulous about precision, more will become welders and pipefitters.

She also believes that for growth to continue, it is important to promote the trades to young girls by having female leaders attend workshops. In fact, Lauren has participated in said workshops, focusing on girls between 4th and 8th grade. The program she works with integrates a fun learning activity to help demonstrate some of the soft and technical skills that are used by trades workers every day. This hands-on approach could inspire a young girl to consider the benefits of pursuing a fulfilling career that doesn’t result in thousands of dollars of student loan debt.

asia washington posing in front of crane on job site.

Asia Washington

Trade: Laborer
Local: Laborer’s Local 500
Experience: 8 Years

“You might hear negative people project their personal opinions onto you but know that those individuals only seek to negatively impact you. Feeding into that will get you stuck into a rut.”


Asia has worked in the construction industry for eight years. Currently, she is a laborer that assists others as needed. The biggest impact that influenced her decision to join the trades was learning about construction through her cousin, who was in the industry.

She was informed early on that she would have to fight adversity as women were often not given as many opportunities in the field. Some people questioned whether or not Asia was capable and doubted her abilities saying, “It’s pretty hard work. I don’t know if you can do it.” Despite the criticism from others, she chose to harness determination, persistence, and willpower to meet her goals. Eventually, the hard work paid off, and she was able to make her dream a reality.  

What is it like being a woman in the field?

When Asia first started her career, she felt she needed to prove herself simply because she was a woman. She knew that to make it, she had to demonstrate her skills by going above and beyond to stand out. Eventually, she became secure within herself and now knows that she is a valuable asset. She hopes that over time, other women don’t have to feel the same pressure to work harder to gain respect.

Now, she continues to feel motivated by navigating various challenges that arise on the job site. Asia made it clear that a woman who might be considering this career knows that there are constant variables at play and that being flexible to change is necessary to succeed.

What does the future look like for women in the construction industry?

Being a woman in the construction industry never crossed Asia’s mind when she was younger because female representation was nonexistent. She hopes that the construction industry’s future will include more diverse figures that kids can look up to.

apprentice vanessa sheeler celebrating national women in construction week. posing on construcion site in front of candy cane piping system

Vanessa Sheeler

Trade: Pipefitter
Local: UA Local 50
Experience: 1st year

“Girls who are interested in the trades should go for it! Networking and gaining references will help in guiding you through the process. Don’t let anyone hold you back. I promise it is worth it in the end!”


Vanessa is an apprentice that just began her journey in the trades. During her time in high school, she felt unsure of what career path she wanted to take. The idea of dedicating a lot of time to pursuing a profession that she may not truly be interested in while accumulating college debt was intimidating. Eventually, the pressure was relieved when she met a female welder, who was enthused to explain that there were other options besides college. At that time, Vanessa learned about the many benefits that could be offered to her without worrying about the burden of college debt.

What is it like being a woman in the field?

So far, Vanessa’s experience with others on the job site is exactly what she hoped it would be. She admits that having tough skin is necessary to flourish, but overall, the atmosphere on the field is welcoming. The comradery is a highlight for Vanessa, and it is a relief for her to be part of a community where she feels like she fits in. Seeing other female figures stepping into leadership roles has fueled her aspiration to master her welding skills so she, too, can help guide others as a leader someday.

What does the future look like for women in the construction industry?

Diversity is important in the workplace because it brings various life experiences that can improve productivity and morale. Vanessa thinks that society will become more progressive when it comes to equality, and in response, the trades will become more diverse.

Lisa Wireman in construction uniform standing in front of crane on a job construction site

Lisa Wireman

Trade: Laborer
Local: Laborer’s Local 329
Experience: 29 Years

“The trades is a rewarding experience that has provided me the opportunity to take care of my family comfortably. Being able to gain training and experience without the price tag of college is truly incredible. Knowing that I have a retirement package that will allow me to live life how I’m used to is remarkable, and the knowledge you gain is free.”


As a third-generation construction worker, one could say that Lisa has been immersed in the construction industry from a young age. Witnessing her mother, aunt, and cousin become the first women in their Local was an inspiring feat that proved to her that it is possible for women to work in the field. Observing those around her, she quickly caught on to certain aspects of the trades. She often reflects on when she was a girl and her father, a business manager for a local construction company, would take her to job sites where she acted assertively by directing the crew. Little did she know, at the time, what the future held.

By the age of 19, Lisa had two children. In response, she endured a lot of scrutiny, primarily from her teachers, who said she would never amount to anything. That negativity fueled Lisa to prove them wrong. She was determined to join the trades and make a lasting impact in the industry.

three generations of construction industry workers posing with hard hate safety gear safety helmet yellow
Pictured Lisa Wireman, Father, and Son working together on a job site.

What is it like being a woman in the field?

When Lisa first joined, it was extremely taboo for women to work in the construction industry. That often meant that many construction companies would not consider hiring women, and fewer job opportunities were available. Additionally, getting a promotion was highly unlikely. The lack of upward mobility would deter women from wanting to join. Many times, she would witness men with less experience promoted, simply because of their gender.

Now, women continue to enter the field, and the barriers to entry are lifting. Lisa firmly believes that the stigmas against women will continue to fade. She feels the trades are a great option for women who like to work hands-on, and the opportunity to grow is worth the work.

What does the future look like for women in the construction industry?

Watching the shift in the industry, and being part of the change, gives Lisa hope that more women will be comfortable entering the field. She has worked diligently over the years to maintain a positive image because she knew she was representing her family and women as a whole. She is a true inspiration who has gained respect in the industry, leading her into a leadership position that she should be proud of. Her accomplishments have firmly proved those who doubted her abilities wrong.

BMWC continues to recognize the women that make up the workforce. We are dedicated to ensuring best practices are being upheld and have a strong history of inclusion.

Check out Celebrating Women in Construction to learn about some of the other great women that make up the BMWC team.


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