2017 Awardees
Bottom Row, L-R: Jon Bersche, Sherry Barry, Catie Chapman, Mandy Richardson, Marilyn Kennedy, Sisi Collins. 
Top Row, L-R:  Rosie Bernard, Kate Starling, Erin Hash

Our awards program recognizes, celebrates and validates the successes and challenges of working women, as well as students, advocates and workplace leaders. We honor our sisters and brotherw who have made (and are on their way to making) a piece of history in non traditional trades careers.

About our mission of inclusivity:
  • Awardees/nominees include a mix of people from various trades, organizations and agencies. 
  • Awardees/nominees include apprentices, journey level and retired people.
  • Awardees/nominees include a mix of races, genders and sexual identities.
Category Descriptions
Tradeswoman of the Year
This is a currently working tradesperson with at least four years experience. She has achieved a skill level respected by her peers, supervisors and the community, shows passion for her work and mutual respect for co-workers. Tell us about her achievements and contributions.

Lifetime Achievement
This is a pioneer, a woman who broke ground in her chosen profession.
Tell us about her role as a mentor and/or advocate for other women
in skilled trades careers, as well as her workplace accomplishments.

Active Advocate
This person has worked to further women’s roles in the skilled trades.
This category is extremely broad. Among others, she/he may be an elected official, a counselor, a supervisor or simply a supportive co-worker. Detail her/his efforts toward steering and inspiring women, as well as opening closed doors and implementing change in attitudes.

Union Activist
This is a tradeswoman currently active in her union and seen by her peers as an informed and dynamic member. What activities is she involved in? Elected status isn’t necessary, but please do include if applicable.

Instructor
This person has worked as an instructor for at least four years. She/he has played a positive role as a teacher, mentor and advocate for women’s success in skilled trades. Tell us about this person’s enriching effect on students and the community.

Workplace Leader
This person is a crew chief, foreman, supervisor or lead who demonstrates a continual commitment to supporting and sustaining women in the skilled trade workplace. What has this person done to show that commitment?

The Josie Dunn Apprentice Award
Josie Dunn was a WWII Rosie the Riveter who stayed on after the war and built a career at Boeing for over 40 years.  Because of her tenacity, she inspired many was was able to give her family and community a gentle step up. This award honors a woman currently enrolled in, or journeyed out of a verifiable Training/Apprenticeship Program over the last 12 months. She is fully committed to a career as a tradeswoman, and shows competency, potential and enthusiasm for a long, successful skilled trades career.

The Peggy Cook Apprentice Award
Peggy Cook is a WWII Rosie the Riveter and was a journey level painter for most of her working life. She was awarded the WWIT Pioneer Tradeswoman Award in 2002. Peggy's Award honors a woman currently enrolled in, or journeyed out of a verifiable Training/Apprenticeship Program over the last 12 months. She is fully committed to a career as a tradeswoman, and shows competency, potential and enthusiasm for a long, successful skilled trades career. She strongly exhibits the “We can do it!” spirit of the Rosies.

Honorable Mentions
Union • Employer • Organization
Project/Event • Community/Political Leader
This can be a Union, Employer, Organization, Project, Event,
Community or Political Leader. Our goal is to honor groups/projects/individuals who support, advocate and sustain women in the workplace.
How has this person or entity made innovations, broken barriers and improved the status of women in skilled trades?

Other Stuff
  • Tips for Nominators HERE
  • Previous Awardees HERE
Congratulations to our 2017 Awardees!

Tradeswoman of the Year
Sisi Collins

Journey level Laborer, Gary Merlino Construction, Inc.
A journey level laborer, Sisi is living proof that women can not only succeed, but flourish in the construction trades. She grew up in a tough neighborhood, played varsity basketball and ran track at Franklin High School. She graduated, got training at SVI/PACT, then apprenticed at Laborers 440. She has worked at Merlino Construction Company for her entire career.

Lifetime Achievement
Marilyn Kennedy
Business Agent, Cement Masons Local 528
Marilyn joined the cement mason’s apprenticeship in May of 1995 and raised her 2 children while working full time as a cement mason. She was a foreman at Conco and a site worker at Caliber Construction. She brings all of her passion for problem solving, creativity, fierce independence and calm determination to her position as Local 528 Business Agent.

Active Advocate
Jon Bersche
Job & Training Advisor, City of Seattle Equity Team
With the City of Seattle, it’s Jon Bersche’s job to ensure that all who want construction work get a fair shot. He’s worked with youth in transitional housing, has owned a remodeling business and been a Youth Build instructor. He’s known throughout the community as the “preacher man”, a big hearted guy dedicated to those who have been left out of construction careers.

Workplace Leader
Kate Starling
Superintendent, Vigor Industrial
Kate Starling is a welder, pipe fitter and has been a supervisor in both trades. These days, she’s the project superintendent on the Washington State Ferries. She’s the driving force behind Vigor’s Women’s Forum and has whole-heartedly supported each new hire to ensure they have a partner/mentor. She loves public speaking—she’s often found speaking at trade schools and colleges, encouraging women to get and keep industrial jobs.

Union Activist
Sherry Barry
Construction Marketing Representative , National LECET/LIUNA
Being great at her own business wasn’t enough for Sherry Berry, a single mother of five. She jumped into an opening in the Laborers Apprenticeship and it wasn’t long until she earned journey level (and the notice of union leadership). Her rise in the union is truly an inspirational story--her negotiating skills bringing opportunities and jobs to Northwest Native Americans are profound.

Instructor
Catie Chapman
Carpentry/CAD/CNC Instructor, SCC Wood Technology Center
For twenty years, Catie has given countless people the skills and confidence to get meaningful trades employment. The first woman to graduate from the Marine Carpentry program in the 90s, she entered the male dominated boat yards armed with her carpentry training, a philosophy degree and a passion to succeed. The realm of Catie’s influence is vast--she was nominated by four students and one co-instructor.

Instructor
Rosie Bernard
Training Coordinator & Journey Level Plasterer, Renton Technical College
From Job Corps to Apprenticeship Instructor, Rosie Bernard has created for herself a 28 year career as a plasterer. Though she’s not the first woman in the trade, she’s the longest serving. Being able to demonstrate and teach has been the most rewarding challenge in her career—she loves to see the ‘light bulb’ turn on when her students learn to walk on their own. 

Josie Dunn Apprentice Award
Erin Hash
Commercial Plumber Apprentice, Seattle Area Pipe Trades
Once a docent in a museum, Erin has found a home in the Pipe Trades where, among other projects, she chairs Ladies in the Pipe Trades and is overseeing Ladies Boot Camp. She’s dedicated not only to her success, but the achievement of her peers and future apprentices.Her unique ability to bring people together for a common cause will take her far.

Peggy Cook Apprentice Award
Mandy Richardson
Carpenter Apprentice
Port of Seattle
Diversity is Mandy’s middle name. She has two dual degrees:  Criminal Justice/Physiologyy and Social Work/Sociology. She’s been a preschool teacher, a security operations manager and a Boy Scout leader. She’s giving her heart & soul to her chosen path with attendance at Local 30 groups, helping on community projects and working on the ANTI-right to work campaign.


2017 Nominees
Angela Weston, Azure Tift, Brianna Potter, Brita Nykreim, Brittani Cain, Christina Riley, Connie Rodriguez, Dalyn Davis, Deanna Grable, Debi Logan, Deidre Williams, Erin Johnson, Holly Sieler, Jessica Ouelett, Lindsay Brayton, Magen Palmer, Michelle Michel, Molly Tester, Monica Manley, Rachel Montoy, Roxana Orozco, Sheri Keller, Shari Atmore, Tessa Brown