August Town Hall | How can we get more women involved in damage prevention, excavation safety & construction?Aug 16, 2022
How can we get more women involved in damage prevention, excavation safety & construction?
Moderator: Ketha Molina, Senior Damage Prevention Manager, Texas 811 & President, Leading Women Damage Prevention
- Whitney Larson, Safety and Health Specialist/ DEI Advocate, Minger Construction Co., Inc.
- Kristina Mahler, Director of Marketing, Greiner Construction & Executive Director, CREW Collaborative
- Alejandra Vera, Manager, INSET, Rocher Ingenieria S.A. DE C.V.
- Whitney Price, Special Projects Coordinator, Infrastructure Resources
- Denise Elliott, Business Development, 3M
- Jose Espino, Vice President of Operations, Colorado 811
- Kesley Tweed, Executive Director, Pipeline Association for Public Awareness (PAPA)
On National 811 Day, Infrastructure Resources held an ESA Town Hall focusing on a topic quite different from the previous Town Halls. This time around, the focus was on the human side of industry concerns. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, women make up approximately 47% of the total workforce in the United States. But as of 2020, the percentage of women in the construction industry stood at just 10.9% according to the New England Institute of Technology.
Our panelists focused on some of the pitfalls of the past and the opportunities of the future as it relates to women in the historically male dominated industries of damage prevention, excavation safety, & construction. Collectively, our moderator & panelists have well over 100 years of experience in these industries from a variety of different disciplines, so they have seen the good, the bad, and the ugly.
Ketha set a positive tone from the start by ensuring that this was going to be an inclusive chat as we all just need to come together and learn to work together. After that, our panelists jumped in and shared their stories and addressed the following topics:
- What struggles have you heard or experienced as a woman working in a male dominated industry?
- Imagine a “tool kit” we create for women to use when dealing with these issues.
- Imagine a “tool kit” we create for employers on retainment/requirement.
Once again, our ESA members were very active in the chat and from their feedback it is clear that a part two is in order for this important topic. Coral Lukaniuk, of coRoc Solutions, suggested we learn from the next generation of women who are currently studying technology and engineering as they will become industry leaders in the not-too-distant future. Tracy Taylor, from Charlotte Water, shared that in 30 years, she has gone from being cat called to now being very respected in the field of damage investigation. Overall, it was a very encouraging and positive discussion. However, there is much more to do, so let’s ALL do our part in making the workplace inclusive and supportive. This will undoubtedly help foster an environment where innovative ideas will be welcomed by all regardless of their demographic background.
Want to view the full ESA August Town Hall for yourself and hear exactly what our panelists had to say? Click HERE! We encourage you to participate in future ESA Town Halls and to suggest topics of interest to YOU. Want to attend an in-person Town Hall? Join us for the annual Global Excavation Safety Conference. For more details and to register, visit GlobalExcavationSafetyConference.com.
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