About NAWIC Detroit 183
- RITA BROWN
- President, BCC+
- Role within NAWIC/NAWIC Detroit
- Why the construction industry?
- Opportunity, passion and achievement. The opportunities in construction are astounding. I was thrust into the industry while still in high school working in my father's detailing and engineering construction business. I stayed in the business of building because I recognized the rewards of being involved in construction. Parity, opportunity and having been able to provide for my family and achieve goals that I didn't even know I had when I started is what has kept me energized and dedicated to this industry.
- Why NAWIC works for me?
- I joined NAWIC as a small business owner because even looking around my own offices I could see that women were under-represented. NAWIC is and was a great place to connect with other women in the industry. I will be honest, NAWIC is what you make of it, like any other organization. For me, it was a direct conduit to increased relevance in the industry, connecting to new project opportunities and when I brought the concept to the Board, was the first org, along with LTU to support and promote The Build Initiative Project Accelerate.
Safety Director, Alberici Constructors, Inc.
NAWIC Detroit – Member; Co-chair of the Greater Palm Beach Chapter of the OSHA-NAWIC Alliance
I’ve held every chapter position except treasurer. I’ve been regional and national Safety & Health Committee Chair and am currently co-chair with Schelle Woods of the Greater Palm Beach Chapter of the OSHA-NAWIC Alliance.
I’ve always felt the industry chose me. After working in a hospital and in a manufacturing setting, I was in a position where I needed a job. I sent my resume EVERYWHERE, and the only company that I ever connected with was Alberici. When I went to work for them, it was without a promise of anything permanent, and I feel as if I will close out my career in construction and with Alberici. Now that I’m established, I find that my passion for the industry grows all the time, and I feel as if I’ve made a real difference, especially related to the safety and health of women in our industry – something that would not have happened had I not had to make a choice 19 years ago.
I joined the association in January 2001 and NAWIC works for me because I try to work for it. I feel that if you belong to an association, you need to support that association in order to get the full benefit of membership. NAWIC has its flaws, but I see it striving to be relevant and pursuing avenues that will advance the success of women in our industry.
Transition Remodeling and Forever Builders
NAWIC Detroit – Member
“The construction industry found me. After retiring when my husband did and anticipating years of leisure, that didn’t happen. My husband was diagnosed with brain cancer, and his symptoms required he use a wheelchair. I found that neither the doctors nor anyone at the hospital could offer information or assistance when it came to altering and reconfiguring our home to work with a wheelchair. It was a painful time, made more so by the difficulties of coping with a user-unfriendly house.
Cheryl Bowlson Consulting, LLC
NAWIC Detroit – Board Member and Chairperson, Events Committee
"At the time I entered the construction industry I needed a job. I was offered an opportunity to work as an analyst in the City of Detroit, Contract Compliance Division. My original responsibilities were to certify minority, women-owned, Detroit Headquartered and Detroit Based businesses. However, there was also a position open in the division to monitor all the city’s construction projects to ensure that the trade labor on site included Detroit residents, minorities and females. I was asked to oversee and manage this compliance program in addition to my other duties. Although at the time I was clueless about construction, I looked forwarded to the challenge. Through hard work, and determination to ensure that minorities and women have a fair opportunity in the industry, I was very successful in my efforts and became an expert in business and workforce diversity inclusion area. This year marks my 33rd year in the construction industry and seven of these years as an independent diversity consultant.