National Women in Construction Week
March is Women’s History Month and it begins with National Women in Construction week. A couple of years ago we dropped a post featuring some of the names you should know that are important figures in the game. This year, we wanted to update that and share some more information about Black Women who are leaders or up and coming figures within the wide world that is the construction industry. It is one where there is plenty of opportunity for growth and where women can overcome some of the pay disparities that they currently face. Hopefully, this serves as an inspiration for some and an acknowledgement for these women and their accomplishments. Check this out and then you can dip your toe into the world of Home Decor with some of the brands we have listed here, and support Black Owned Businesses this month.
Ann McNeill is the chair and founder of the National Association of Black Women in Construction. This goal of this group is to ‘champion and empower black women in construction and related industries to reach their full potential as entrepreneurs, small business owners, government professionals and industry leaders who represent “THE VOICE OF BLACK WOMEN IN CONSTRUCTION”’. She is also the founder of MCO Construction, a Florida based construction management company
This Chicago area native is the owner of one of the largest minority owned construction companies in the Midwest. Pink Hard Hatz Construction is a fully licensed and bonded construction company that specializes in Kitchen, Bathroom and Home remodeling. The 15 year industry veteran was inspired to start her company while managing projects and noticing that she was often the only woman in the room. To further her mission to provide excellent service and value to her customers and increase the amount of women in the industry, she has teamed up with Chicago women in Trades. This partnership will allow the influence of Pink Hard Hatz to be wide ranging and long lasting.
Kimberly Dowdell is currently in the midst of an illustrious and exciting career. This architect previously served as the President of the National Association of Minority Architects and is currently the 2024 President of the American Institute of Architects. She is also a principal partner at HOK where part of her work includes solving complex community problems to help reimagine cities.
Sometimes you may not know what your future is and you just fall into it. Krystal Walker was job hunting in 2004 and found herself getting a job with a roofing company in Baltimore, MD. She eventually gained the experience and confidence to step out on her own, and in 2020, 1st Amazon Construction was born. Now, her business offers services ranging from roof repair to all manners of construction work, from beginning to end.
Robin Thorne is the CEO and Founder of CTI Environmental. This Construction firm specializes in hazardous materials assessments, regulatory compliance, and construction management. Not only is she running a multi-million dollar business, but Robin still finds the time to give back to the community with a wide range of support programs for minorities to help support their interest in STEM careers.
No list of women in construction would be complete without the inclusion of Cheryl McKissak. She represents the 5th generation of the family that owns and operates the oldest Black owned design and construction firm in the country, McKissak and McKissak. A Howard University Alum, she has led the company into some of the largest construction projects in the North East including the US Airways International Terminal in the Philadelphia airport and the African Burial Ground Monument in New York City.
Katherine Williams is a writer, educator, and an architect. She has worked in both Northern Virginia and Washington DC as a project manager. She also restarted the Black Women in Architecture Brunch which allows black women in architecture to network and discuss the issues they face. Katherine is also one of the co-collaborators of Riding the Vortex, which has been a part of the increase of Black Women Architects since 2007. Her impact on the next generation of Black Women architects is large and wide ranging.
The construction industry is huge and varied and specialization is always an option to build success. Kristin Smith and her husband James started their flooring company Smith Flooring Inc. from their home in 2006. One of her goals is to increase women and minority participation in the industry. One of her reasons for supporting women entering the construction industry is the fact that these jobs help to close the income disparity between men and women. It is also an industry that is in serious need of more employees.
Founder of the Darden Group, Akilah Darden brings over 20 years of Management experience on projects with over $1 Billion dollars in construction management. Her company is well equipped to manage projects, but like many of the other leaders on this list, it doesn’t stop there. You can also take online courses in Construction Management to help improve your skills and better manage your own construction career and business.
The founder of Aspire Construction and Design, Amber Lawson uses her background in real estate development, construction and property management to help her clients. Her company offers a one stop shop for design and construction. This has lead her firm to be able to complete jobs around the country working with both private and government entities.
Egypt Sherrod is a captivating personality. This Real Estate Mogul successfully managed the transition from successful Radio host at two of the most popular urban music radio stations, to HGTV Star and Real Estate Agent. The Host of multiple shows on the country’s premier home improvement channel, you can find her hosting alongside her husband on “Married to Real Estate” currently.
Jennifer Todd is a trailblazer as the youngest woman to receive California’s CSLB (A) General Engineering license. Her company, LMS General Contractors specializes in demolition which includes asbestos removal and remediation, lead and mold removal. Her company also provides emergency relief services. Jennifer’s skill set makes her and her company valuable partners in a variety of projects.