On Aug. 19, 2020, The Daily Reporter will honor outstanding achievements by the top women in the construction industry. This event will celebrate those who, by achieving success, have also paved the way for other women in construction.
Meet this year’s Women in Construction:
Zignego Ready Mix
VJS Development Group
City of Milwaukee
Mary Gumieny Bultman
New Berlin Redi-Mix
Midwest Urban Strategies
IBC Engineering Services
VJS Construction Services
Wood Sewer and Excavating
District 7 of International Union of Painters and Allied Trades
JWC Building Specialties
Altius Building Co.
Builders Hardware and Hollow Metal
US Vet General Contracting
MEET THIS YEAR’S MC
Kilah Engelke, who was a Women in Construction award-winner in 2019, began her career in construction intending to fund a college education. Her stepfather was an estimator for one of the biggest concrete road building operations in the Midwest at the time and he put her and her brothers on the crew to pay for school.
Having always been competitive and an athlete, she took an immediate liking to the challenging and fast-paced environment, to always being outside and never being trapped behind a desk and to being extremely physical. After spending three summers as a Laborer, she was offered the chance to pursue an Apprenticeship in 2001 with OPCMIA Local 599 in Wisconsin and she decided to go for it.
She graduated in 2005 as a Journeywoman and jumped on the opportunity to fill the open Labor Trustee position on the Local 599 Area 558 JATC; the work of the JATC eventually led in 2011 to her applying for the newly developed Apprenticeship and Training Coordinator position for the Local.
For her first three years as Coordinator, she worked for half of the year in the field as a Heavy Highway Cement Mason and for the other half of the year for the program operating the Apprenticeship and Training program. The program grew and in 2015 her position with the Local became full-time and her representation was statewide.
Over the years in the industry and through becoming more and more involved, she continued to grow her understanding of the Union and Organized Labor and although she loves being a teacher and training, she decided that since 2018 was an election year for her Local it was time to run for Business Agent. She won a contentious election, earning twice as many votes from her membership as her opponent.
Engelke has been in the industry for 22 years and serves as Business Agent and Recording Secretary for OPCMIA Local 599, as a Labor Trustee and Financial Secretary for the OPCMIA Local 599 Area 558 JATC, and as the Financial Secretary for the Milwaukee Building and Construction Trades Council. She is a proud founding member and serves as a chairwoman for empowHER, a group of women from building trades positions across Wisconsin whose mission includes promoting leadership for women in all facets of the trades, sustaining and retaining the women that are in the trades, and organizing by being visible examples of successful women in the trades in the communities they live and work in.
Her International named her chairwomen of the OPCMIA International Women’s group, the Steel Edge Women of the OPCMIA in 2019 and she looks forward to achieving advancement opportunities for women through helping to break down barriers and level the playing field through developing things like maternity leave programs, as well as anti-harassment education and awareness initiatives.
She has a passion for her work that she intends to share by being an example and reaching out to others who may not see themselves as construction workers or leaders in the industry and she looks forward to the day when it’s no longer a spectacle to see women not only on the job site, but also having a seat at the table when decisions are made in this ever evolving and dynamic industry.
Women in Construction
Event Date: Wednesday, August 19, 2020
PREVIOUS WOMEN IN CONSTRUCTION EVENTS
Questions or for more information on sponsorships contact Bill Beyer at firstname.lastname@example.org.