2023 GWIC Program in Progress

The 2023 Groundbreaking Women in Construction program is in progress. Below are some of sessions we have planned, with more details still to come!
Wednesday, May 10, 2023
4:00 PM – 6:00 PM
Exhibitor Set-up
4:30 PM – 9:00 PM
Registration – badge pick-up
Thursday, May 11, 2023
7:30 AM – 8:25 AM
Registration, Continental Breakfast & Exhibits
8:25 AM – 8:35 AM
Program Welcome & Introduction
Janice L. Tuchman, Executive Editor, Events, Engineering News-Record
Mindy Gentile, Of Counsel, Peckar & Abramson P.C.
8:35 AM – 8:40 AM
Safety Moment
8:40 AM – 9:30 AM
KeynoteBuilding Her Own Way: How Contractor Linda Alvarado Became a Business Phenomenon
Linda Alvarado, President & CEO, Alvarado Construction
Construction firm chief executive and Colorado Rockies co-owner Linda Alvarado has spent her life breaking down barriers and challenging the status quo. As president and CEO of Alvarado Construction, a large commercial general contractor in Denver, and the first woman and first Hispanic owner of a major league baseball team, she will share insights about when women need to go against convention and why risk-taking is worth it.
9:30 AM – 10:30 AM
Panel From Potential to Progress—New Legislation Creates Opportunities for Construction Professionals
Maria Lehman, ASCE
Minelly De Coo, Office of N.Y. Governor
This panel will explore how new funding streams from the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, the Inflation Reduction Act and the CHIPS Act are reaching communities, spurring essential infrastructure construction and providing jobs. In addition to IIJA's huge investments, the Inflation Reduction Act offers $30 billion in production tax credits to accelerate U.S. manufacturing of solar panels, wind turbines, batteries and critical minerals processing, as well as up to $20 billion in loans to build new clean vehicle manufacturing facilities and $10 billion in investment tax credits for clean technology production. The CHIPS Act is a $280-billion spending package set to encourage U.S.-based semiconductor industry growth. Our experts from various levels of government will talk about projects and programs in the pipeline spurred by this funding as well as the challenges still ahead.
10:30 AM – 11:00 AM
Morning Break: Refreshments, Networking, Exhibits
Sponsored by
11:00 – 11:55 AM
Breakout Sessions
Track APathways and Barriers – Journeys of Women Reaching for AEC Leadership
Paul Hickey, University of Maryland
Quingbin Cui, University of Maryland
This investigation explores the career professional journeys of 20 women leaders in AEC leadership. Selected from ENR’s Top 400 firms, these women shared the richness of their stories, discussing successes, challenges, and significant experiences impacting their path up the corporate ladder. Responses offer insight to assess underlying root causes for women’s underrepresentation in the industry. Further, in developing a career roadmap for early and mid-career women, discussions sought best practices for deployment across AEC to improve diversity via initial recruiting and long term career nurturing. Success drivers included a supportive partner, early mentoring, and passion for the project mission.

Track BIndustrial Megaproject Field Management
This session will share the potential for women to excel in industrial megaproject field management as the global energy transition and changing politics propel new needs. Amanda McCarthy is a Fluor construction manager recently completing field management on the $14 billion first phase of the LNG Canada natural gas export terminal in British Columbia, Canada's largest private investment and a model project for working with First Nations and for women in its more than 5,000 person construction workforce. Women compr9se 13% of the proect workforce, twice the industry average in Canada, with 13 cohorts of women trained in three years. Her efforts there led to her being named in October as overall Fluor project manager on the major expansion of the Safford copper mine in Arizona by owner Freeport-McMoRan Inc, to boost output to 300 million pounds annually-50% above its current rate. The mine is "a potential future keystone asset for our company,” said the CEO of the firm, one of the world’s largest publicly traded copper producers that has a woman president. Amanda joined Fluor’s construction and abrication team in 2012, bringing experience as a journeyman Ironworker and workforce planning manager. She served as Fluors construction & fabrication lead for Europe as well as advanced work processing manager on multiple projects. Amanda also is a Canadian Armed Forces light infantry veteran.

Track C An Elightened Approach to Construction Disputes
12:00 PM – 1:25 PM
Optional Facilitated Conversation tables
Join one of our topic-specific lunch tables for a facilitated conversation.

Mentoring Women on the Go
Nora Casanova
Karsten Interior Services

How to be a Roofing Contractor by Day and Mermaid by Night
Tamara Chase
Chase Roofing & Contracting

Mindful Integration of Construction Services
Theodora Oyie

Empower Yourself Now-How to Mute That Inner Critic!
Alejandra "Ale" Spray

The Power of Visualization: How Mental Performance Exercises Make you a Magnet for Happiness and Success
Issy Bustamente
American Global

Fostering a Safe and Health Workplace/Jobsite
Ayah Rub
Penn State University

1:30 PM – 2:25 PM
Breakout Sessions
Track A Life-Changing, Career-Making: Two Non Profits Build Solutions and Industry Skill
Nivi Sharma, Bridges to Prosperity
Clare Haas Claveau, Engineers Without Borders
Over the last two decades, non-profits Bridges to Prosperity and Engineers without Borders have worked to reduce global poverty, rural isolation and climate change risk in providing critical infrastructure, life services and innovative technology through collective action and community-led efforts. Two women executives of these groups will share their dramatic successes and the mission still ahead—with a key focus on how the work has honed project management and leadership skills for thousands of industry professionals who have joined their efforts.
Track B Helping Women Win: Careers in the Field
In this one-on-one, on-stage interview between two women with decades of experience in the field, this session will feature in inside look at the personal journey of a woman ironworker explaining the challenges she’s faced as well as her accomplishments and pride in her career. Discussion will include balancing the essential on-site nature of construction with the needs of the workforce, and there will be time for your questions about how to attract and retain women in on-site careers.

Track CTech Talk: AEC Turns to AI
Artificial intelligence is quickly becoming a secret weapon among construction managers for its ability to help contractors reduce waste, risk and manage project skills. In this session, learn how Ai innovations can help your firm work smarter, innovate and create a positive impact on your projects by giving your team some extra brain power.
2:30 PM – 3:30 PM
PanelFrom Intention to Impact—Partnering to Drive Change in Advancing Women
Jorge Quezada, Granite Construction
Zylah Doria, WSP
Melissa Berg, Dome Construction
Brian Dowd, Granite Construction
How can companies move beyond hiring women to including and advancing them? This panel will explore how, similar to collaborating to make jobsites safer, success in engaging women is too big an issue for companies to solve on their own. It will take industry partnerships. How do we get more women to stay, and how do we ensure they are advancing within our companies at the right time (vs. being overqualified and having to leave to find opportunity)? How do we partner with our peer companies to become better together? The session will discuss successful strategies, how to operationalize them, and provide specific and actionable steps that we can all take to drive change within our organizations.
3:30 PM – 4:00 PM
Afternoon Break: Refreshments, Networking, Exhibits
Sponsored by
4:00 PM – 4:50 PM
Panel Strategic Thinkers—Women Make an Impact through Setting Direction
Denise Berger, AECOM
Sonia Adams, GHD
Fawn Radmanich, PCL
Moderator Tracey Smith, FMI
From senior executives setting a company’s course to the future to managers setting direction in pursuing major project awards, women’s strengths in strategy are being recognized and tested across the construction industry. Panelists will discuss the trend in women leading in these roles, bringing diversity that provides new ways of looking at a problems and the ability to sense market needs and deploy resources in the right direction.
4:50 PM – 5:30 PM
Closing Keynote Racial Justice at Work
Thamara Subramanian, Equity Audit & Strategy Manager, The Winters Group Inc.
Based on a thought-provoking, solutions-oriented book by the same name, Thamara Subramanian, one of the co-authors, will share strategic advice “on how to adopt a justice mindset, anticipate and address resistance, shift power dynamics, and create a psychologically safe organizational culture,” the book publicity notes. She will discuss “pragmatic how-to guides to implementing justice-centered practices in recruitment and hiring, data collection and analysis, learning and development, marketing and advertising, procurement, philanthropy, and more.” Thamara particularly worked on the chapter on how to collect and use data to achieve equity goals and will share insights about how to put data to work.
5:30 PM – 6:30 PM
Refreshments, Networking, Exhibits
Friday, May 12, 2023
7:30 AM – 8:30 AM
Registration, Continental Breakfast & Exhibits
8:30 AM – 8:35 AM
Welcome to Day Two
Janice L. Tuchman, Executive Editor, Events, Engineering News-Record
Mindy Gentile, Of Counsel, Peckar & Abramson P.C.
8:35 AM – 9:35 AM
Future Shock is Now—Women Lead Through New Levels of Project Risk
Sandy Hamby, MOCA Systems
Seyran Celik, HKA
Alicia Fowler, California High Speed Rail Authority Beverly Hill, Balfour Beatty
Michele Luster, Swinerton
Construction sector professionals are facing what many say are unprecedented risks for projects, and their teams—from supply-chain bottlenecks to interest rate hikes and historic inflation. The impacts are already happening as project prices shift dramatically, contender bid lists shrink and work is scaled back or delayed. Will growing pressures, which come just as industry readies for a massive influx of federal funding, change the “Golden Age” for U.S. infrastructure into the “Great Repricing?” Women risk management experts across the project spectrum outline what’s happening, and how industry participants should prepare to insure the best possible outcomes now and ahead.
9:35 AM – 9:40 AM
Safety Moment
9:40 AM – 10:35 AM
Green at a Grand Scale
Yayu Lin, Sares Regis
As the climate mitigation window shrinks and funding grows to ramp up sustainability and decarbonization efforts, AEC firms need to generate innovations that can scale up quickly and become long term solutions that make the most of big investments—by the government and owners. A panel of industry experts will offer insights into how to tie green goals to tangible construction plans and real results, build more environmentally impactful projects and avoid missteps before they become a “greenwashing” or “greenhushing” nightmare.
10:35 AM – 11:20 AM
Closing Keynote To Be Announced
11:20 AM – 11:30 AM
Closing Remarks
Janice L. Tuchman, Executive Editor, Events, Engineering News-Record
Mindy Gentile, Of Counrsel, Peckar & Abramson P.C.


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