Industry Leading Ladies 2016

An ongoing series intent on spotlighting barrier breakers and inspiring change for the future of this workforce.

Robyn Brookhart
Chief Operating Officer and Executive Vice President
Liberty Pumps

Brookhart began her career in the pump industry in 1997 at her family’s business in the small town of Bergen, New York. After graduating with a marketing degree and beginning her MBA with a concentration in manufacturing, she took a marketing position at Liberty Pumps. Driven to challenge herself, Brookhart worked in several positions within the company to expand her knowledge of the entire business and industry. After working in marketing, she spent time in customer service, project management, plant supervision, and manufacturing management.  

In her current role, Brookhart helps to set the company’s strategic direction, provides input in all areas of the company, and is responsible for manufacturing. She serves on the Liberty Pumps Board of Directors and the Genesee Community College Foundation Board. Brookhart is a member of ASA’s Women in Industry and the Young Presidents Organization (YPO). In addition, she volunteers as a Wish Granter for Make-A-Wish.Brookhart began her career in the pump industry in 1997 at her family’s business in the small town of Bergen, New York. After graduating with a marketing degree and beginning her MBA with a concentration in manufacturing, she took a marketing position at Liberty Pumps. Driven to challenge herself, Brookhart worked in several positions within the company to expand her knowledge of the entire business and industry. After working in marketing, she spent time in customer service, project management, plant supervision and manufacturing management.  

In her current role, Brookhart sets the company’s strategic direction, provides input in all areas of the company, and is responsible for manufacturing. She serves on the Liberty Pumps Board of Directors and the Genesee Community College Foundation Board. Brookhart is a member of ASA’s Women in Industry and the Young Presidents Organization (YPO). In addition, she volunteers as a Wish Granter for Make-A-Wish.“We need to help women become aware of the occupations available in the trade industries, and then create work environments within these industries in which women feel welcome. This has been a male-dominated industry for so long, and it will require shifting well-established perceptions and letting go of stigmas. There are many talented and capable women who simply need to be given an opportunity.”need to help women become aware of the occupations available in the trade industries, and then create work environments within these industries in which women feel welcome. This has been a male-dominated industry for so long, and it will require shifting well-established perceptions and letting go of stigmas. There are many talented and capable women who simply need to be given an opportunity.”

Cynthia Buffington
Senior Executive Director 
Mechanical Contractors Association of America

Buffington joined the Mechanical Contractors Association of America (MCAA) 30 years ago as its first female leadership team member. She was hired to combine the positions of directors of Education and Convention. She moved on to become executive director of Strategic Events and executive director of the MCAA Manufacturer/Supplier Council. In 1994, she led the MCAA Manufacturer/Supplier Council in providing industry partners with the benefits of contractor members. In her current role, she is passionate about bringing the highest quality of education, services and events to members. Buffington has been instrumental in making the association’s annual convention a “best-in-class” event. A certified association executive, she’s been active in association management organizations as a chair of committees and speaker for contracts and negotiations. She also has been awarded the Rising Star award.

“The trades can provide women with an excellent opportunity to use their skills in organization, writing and interpersonal communication for a career with excellent salaries and benefits.  Recruiters need to let women know they want them as members of the team, not just “admin” personnel. They should participate in college and high school career events and let the women know it won’t be a hostile environment. Women can quickly take on the management of projects or develop the skills to become foremen.”

Laurie Crigler
Vice President 
L&D Associates, Inc.

Crigler is the national vice president of Plumbing Heating Cooling Contractors Association (PHCC) and the vice president of L&D Associates. L& D is a plumbing contracting company specializing in new construction that became a woman-owned business in 2009. Prior to joining L&D, she was an early childhood educator in Madison, Virginia for 12 years. Over her career, Crigler has dedicated a great amount of time to the PHCC. She was the first woman to serve as secretary for PHCC-NA. She was on the PHCC-VA Board of Directors, PHCC-NA By-Laws Task Force, PHCC-NA Mega-Task Force, and PHCC-NA Blue Ribbon Task Force. Crigler is currently on the PHCC-NA Apprenticeship and Legislative committees. Recently, she was named president of PHCC-NA and will assume the role for the 2017-2018 calendar is the vice president of L&D Associates, Inc., a plumbing contracting company specializing in new construction that became a woman-owned business in 2009. Prior to joining L&D, she was an early childhood educator in Madison in Madison, Virginia for 12 years. Over her career, Crigler has dedicated a great amount of time to the Plumbing Heading Cooling Contractors Association (PHCC). She was the first woman to serve in the roles of secretary and zone director for PHCC-NA. She was on the PHCC-VA Board of Directors, PHCC-NA By-Laws Task Force, PHCC-NA Mega-Task Force, and PHCC-NA Blue Ribbon Task Force Committee. She is currently on the PHCC-NA Apprenticeship Committee and is the chair of the PHCC-NA Legislative Committee. Recently, she was the first woman named to the role of president of PHCC-NA and will assume those responsibilities for the 2017-2018 calendar year.

“I think women have to understand that there are many facets of trade industries that may match their talents. You do not have to be a trained technician to get heavily involved in the plumbing and/or HVAC industry. We have to feature the facets of the industry such as apprenticeship, advocacy, HR, business management, architecture, and licensure to help women understand that they have talents that they can offer. Women are very talented people and we have much to offer our industrythink women have to understand that there are many facets of trade industries that may match their talents. You do not have to be a trained technician to get heavily involved in the plumbing and/or HVAC industry. We have to feature the facets of the industry such as apprenticeship, advocacy, HR, business management, architecture, and licensure to help them understand that they have talents that they can offer. Women are very talented people and we have much to offer our industry.”

Denise Dick
Owner
Signature Kitchens By Design Inc.

A cCertified mMaster kKitchen and bBath dDesigner (CMKBD), she has been active in the Kitchen and Bath industry since 1984. Earning her B.S.bachelor’s of science degree from Iowa State University along with a minor in design, she began her career in a design showroom and immediately began working towards certifications. She has used her array of skills and experience throughout the industry as a designer, trainer, training development writer and consultant. As owner of Signature Kitchens by Design LLC, in Dallas, Texas, she offers design and consultation services. Dick has served in her local chapter of the National Kitchen and Bath Association (NKBA) serving on the national level as a member of the eExecutive cCommittee, bBoard of dDirectors, and eEducation tTask fForce. She has also been a reviewer for the NKBA Professional Resource Library, chairman of the NKBA Certification Task Force, and a judge for the local NARI COTY awards.

“It is important to build relationships, collaborate and partner with the many women’s organizations that are available in the trades industries, such as National Association of Women in Construction, eWomen Network.com, and educational institutions. In joining forces with these women the opportunity arises to build awareness of the opportunities available. Breaking down the perception barrier allows companies to not only attract women, but also to attract clients by promoting them as a female-friendly business.”

Stephanie Ewing
Vice President
Marketing Programs & Strategy, PHCP Divisions 
Affiliated Distributors

Ewing joined Affiliated Distributors (AD) in 2015. She has 16 years of industry experience. Prior to AD, she served as director of strategic partnerships for Watts Water Technologies, where she received the “Eye On The Customer” and “Lead Free Collaboration & Teamwork” awards. She was also a national speaker for G.T.L.O.P. consortium focusing on education and market awareness specific to the National Reduction of Lead in Drinking Water Act. Prior to Watts Water, she served as managing director of the Residential Strategic Business Unit at Dormont Manufacturing Company. Ewing serves on ASA’s Women In Industry Division Executive Advisory Council and is a member of Women in HVACR. She graduated from Indiana University of Pennsylvania with a Bachelor of Science in business management. She also received MBAE certification from the Center for Executive Education at the Joseph M. Katz School of Business, University of Pittsburgh.Ewing joined Affiliated Distributors (AD) in 2015. She has 16 years of industry experience. Most recently, she served as director of Strategic Partnerships at Watts Water Technologies. At Watts Water, Ewing was the recipient of the “Eye On The Customer Award” and “Lead Free Collaboration & Teamwork Award.” She was the national speaker for G.T.L.O.P. consortium focusing on education and market awareness of the National Reduction of Lead in Drinking Water Act. Prior to Watts Water, she served as managing director of the Residential Strategic Business Unit at Dormont Manufacturing Company. Ewing is currently serves on ASA’s Women In Industry Division Executive Advisory Council. She graduated from Indiana University of Pennsylvania with a bBachelor’s of sScience degree in business management. She also completed the MBAE certification program by the Center for Executive Education at the Joseph M. Katz School of Business, University of Pittsburgh

“The trade industries can continue to make it known that they value the contributions of women. This Industry Leading Ladies series helps communicate that, however, I also believe companies must continue to set an example by promoting and hiring women who deliver results in leadership roles. If those things happen it sends a message that career paths are available in our industry and may encourage more women to join us.The trade industries can continue to make it known that they value the contributions of women. This Industry Leading Ladies series helps communicate that, however, I also believe companies must continue to set an example by promoting and hiring women who deliver results in leadership roles. If those things happen, it sends a message that career paths are available in our industry and encourages more women to join us.”

Merry Beth Hall
Assistant Vice President
Workforce Development 
Plumbing Heating Cooling Contractors 
Educational Foundation

Hall is the aAssistant vVice pPresident, Workforce Development for the Plumbing Heating Cooling Contractors Association (PHCC) Educational Foundation. She was recently promoted from the position of director of Apprentice & Journeyman Training. In her new role, Hall is responsible for the development of plumbing and HVAC apprentice training textbooks and numerous online courses including pre-apprenticeship and apprentice training for plumbing and HVAC. She also manages two national apprentice competitions and the SkillsUSA national plumbing contest each year. In addition, Hall is responsible for developing partnerships within the industry to encourage new talent to enter the plumbing and HVAC trades.

“To attract women, the plumbing and HVAC trades need to emphasize the diversity of career opportunities within our trades. We also need to demonstrate that our jobs are high-paying across the board –— from journeyman level to corporate executive positions. Drawing public attention to the wide variety of career opportunities in our trades as well as the importance of these trades in providing comfort and good health helps promote a positive image of what we do.”

Michele Hudec
Senior Vice President and General Manager, 
Wholesale Channels
World and Main, LLC 

Currently serving as the highest ranking and first sales and marketing woman executive at World and Main, Hudec is directly responsible for the Jones Stephens Corporation. She is in charge of approximately 25 percent of the corporation’s top line revenue. Hudec has held corporate management positions in American Standard, The Chicago Faucet Company, and Moen. Colleagues describe her as a driven leader, teammate and mentor. Hudec is passionate about horses as well as service. She is a dedicated board member and volunteer for her local North Jersey chapter of Habitat of Humanity. A graduate of Bradley University, Peoria, Illinois, Hudec also studied at Harlaxton College, in Grantham, England, and is a Certified Age In Place Specialist serving as the highest ranking and first sales and marketing woman executive at World and Main, LLC, Hudec is directly responsible for the Jones Stephens Corporation. She is in charge of approximately 25 percent of the corporation’s top line revenue. Hudec has held corporate management positions in American Standard, The Chicago Faucet Company, and Moen. Colleagues describe her as a driven leader, teammate and mentor. Hudec is passionate about horses as well as service, as a dedicated board member and volunteer for her local North Jersey chapter of Habitat offor Humanity. A graduate of Bradley University, Peoria, Illinois, Hudec also studied at Harlaxton College, in Grantham, England, and is a Certified Age In Place Specialist (CAPS).

“It isn’t about attracting women to trade industries as much as it is about seeking them out. The world is filled with talented, professional and intelligent women across many different disciplines. Look for them in other durables industries, treat them as equals, place them in roles consistent with their skill sets, pay them fairly and most importantly, empower them. I recently said to a potential hire from a different, but similar industry, ‘The plumbing industry grabs you and keeps you. The people, the comradery, the opportunities for growth – all make you want to stay  isn’t about attracting women to trade industries as much as it is about seeking them out. The world is filled with talented, professional and intelligent women across many different disciplines. Look for them in other durables industries, treat them as equals, place them in roles consistent with their skill sets, pay them fairly and most importantly, empower them. I recently said to a potential hire from a different, but similar industry, ‘The plumbing industry grabs you and keeps you. The people, the comradery, the opportunities for growth –— all make you want to stay forever.’”   

Lyric Lain
Mechanical Designer
Burns & McDonnell

Lain is the first Certified Plumbing Designer at the employee-owned, design-build company Burns & McDonnell, which is located in Fort Worth, Texas. Published in Plumbing Engineer magazine and recipient of the 2015 Blue Quill Award, she is also an Envision Sustainability Professional who focuses on holistic environmental design approaches. Lain has served on the Dallas-Fort Worth American Society of Plumbing Engineers (ASPE) Board of Directors as corresponding secretary and newsletter editor. With more than eight years in the plumbing-design industry, Lain is currently seeking her mechanical engineering degree. She enjoys volunteering during Engineering Week by presenting basic plumbing design principles to students in the Architectural-Construction-Engineering (ACE) Mentorship Program, as well as other Give Back events in the community.

“There are many women with experience in the trade industries who can be great mentors to students and young professionals. It’s imperative that women in the construction-design industry become active in their communities and bring awareness to these critical and rewarding career paths. Professional organizations are a great place to network and for women to showcase their expertise. Running for officer positions, making presentations, and writing technical papers helps to highlight women and their proficiency in these industries.”

 

Robyn Brookhart
Chief Operating Officer and Executive Vice President
Liberty Pumps

Brookhart began her career in the pump industry in 1997 at her family’s business in the small town of Bergen, New York. After graduating with a marketing degree and beginning her MBA with a concentration in manufacturing, she took a marketing position at Liberty Pumps. Driven to challenge herself, Brookhart worked in several positions within the company to expand her knowledge of the entire business and industry. After working in marketing, she spent time in customer service, project management, plant supervision, and manufacturing management.  

In her current role, Brookhart helps to set the company’s strategic direction, provides input in all areas of the company, and is responsible for manufacturing. She serves on the Liberty Pumps Board of Directors and the Genesee Community College Foundation Board. Brookhart is a member of ASA’s Women in Industry and the Young Presidents Organization (YPO). In addition, she volunteers as a Wish Granter for Make-A-Wish.Brookhart began her career in the pump industry in 1997 at her family’s business in the small town of Bergen, New York. After graduating with a marketing degree and beginning her MBA with a concentration in manufacturing, she took a marketing position at Liberty Pumps. Driven to challenge herself, Brookhart worked in several positions within the company to expand her knowledge of the entire business and industry. After working in marketing, she spent time in customer service, project management, plant supervision and manufacturing management.  

In her current role, Brookhart sets the company’s strategic direction, provides input in all areas of the company, and is responsible for manufacturing. She serves on the Liberty Pumps Board of Directors and the Genesee Community College Foundation Board. Brookhart is a member of ASA’s Women in Industry and the Young Presidents Organization (YPO). In addition, she volunteers as a Wish Granter for Make-A-Wish.“We need to help women become aware of the occupations available in the trade industries, and then create work environments within these industries in which women feel welcome. This has been a male-dominated industry for so long, and it will require shifting well-established perceptions and letting go of stigmas. There are many talented and capable women who simply need to be given an opportunity.”need to help women become aware of the occupations available in the trade industries, and then create work environments within these industries in which women feel welcome. This has been a male-dominated industry for so long, and it will require shifting well-established perceptions and letting go of stigmas. There are many talented and capable women who simply need to be given an opportunity.”

 

Cynthia Buffington
Senior Executive Director 
Mechanical Contractors Association of America

Buffington joined the Mechanical Contractors Association of America (MCAA) 30 years ago as its first female leadership team member. She was hired to combine the positions of directors of Education and Convention. She moved on to become executive director of Strategic Events and executive director of the MCAA Manufacturer/Supplier Council. In 1994, she led the MCAA Manufacturer/Supplier Council in providing industry partners with the benefits of contractor members. In her current role, she is passionate about bringing the highest quality of education, services and events to members. Buffington has been instrumental in making the association’s annual convention a “best-in-class” event. A certified association executive, she’s been active in association management organizations as a chair of committees and speaker for contracts and negotiations. She also has been awarded the Rising Star award.

“The trades can provide women with an excellent opportunity to use their skills in organization, writing and interpersonal communication for a career with excellent salaries and benefits.  Recruiters need to let women know they want them as members of the team, not just “admin” personnel. They should participate in college and high school career events and let the women know it won’t be a hostile environment. Women can quickly take on the management of projects or develop the skills to become foremen.”

Laurie Crigler
Vice President 
L&D Associates, Inc.

Crigler is the national vice president of Plumbing Heating Cooling Contractors Association (PHCC) and the vice president of L&D Associates. L& D is a plumbing contracting company specializing in new construction that became a woman-owned business in 2009. Prior to joining L&D, she was an early childhood educator in Madison, Virginia for 12 years. Over her career, Crigler has dedicated a great amount of time to the PHCC. She was the first woman to serve as secretary for PHCC-NA. She was on the PHCC-VA Board of Directors, PHCC-NA By-Laws Task Force, PHCC-NA Mega-Task Force, and PHCC-NA Blue Ribbon Task Force. Crigler is currently on the PHCC-NA Apprenticeship and Legislative committees. Recently, she was named president of PHCC-NA and will assume the role for the 2017-2018 calendar is the vice president of L&D Associates, Inc., a plumbing contracting company specializing in new construction that became a woman-owned business in 2009. Prior to joining L&D, she was an early childhood educator in Madison in Madison, Virginia for 12 years. Over her career, Crigler has dedicated a great amount of time to the Plumbing Heading Cooling Contractors Association (PHCC). She was the first woman to serve in the roles of secretary and zone director for PHCC-NA. She was on the PHCC-VA Board of Directors, PHCC-NA By-Laws Task Force, PHCC-NA Mega-Task Force, and PHCC-NA Blue Ribbon Task Force Committee. She is currently on the PHCC-NA Apprenticeship Committee and is the chair of the PHCC-NA Legislative Committee. Recently, she was the first woman named to the role of president of PHCC-NA and will assume those responsibilities for the 2017-2018 calendar year.

“I think women have to understand that there are many facets of trade industries that may match their talents. You do not have to be a trained technician to get heavily involved in the plumbing and/or HVAC industry. We have to feature the facets of the industry such as apprenticeship, advocacy, HR, business management, architecture, and licensure to help women understand that they have talents that they can offer. Women are very talented people and we have much to offer our industrythink women have to understand that there are many facets of trade industries that may match their talents. You do not have to be a trained technician to get heavily involved in the plumbing and/or HVAC industry. We have to feature the facets of the industry such as apprenticeship, advocacy, HR, business management, architecture, and licensure to help them understand that they have talents that they can offer. Women are very talented people and we have much to offer our industry.”

Denise Dick
Owner
Signature Kitchens By Design Inc.

A cCertified mMaster kKitchen and bBath dDesigner (CMKBD), she has been active in the Kitchen and Bath industry since 1984. Earning her B.S.bachelor’s of science degree from Iowa State University along with a minor in design, she began her career in a design showroom and immediately began working towards certifications. She has used her array of skills and experience throughout the industry as a designer, trainer, training development writer and consultant. As owner of Signature Kitchens by Design LLC, in Dallas, Texas, she offers design and consultation services. Dick has served in her local chapter of the National Kitchen and Bath Association (NKBA) serving on the national level as a member of the eExecutive cCommittee, bBoard of dDirectors, and eEducation tTask fForce. She has also been a reviewer for the NKBA Professional Resource Library, chairman of the NKBA Certification Task Force, and a judge for the local NARI COTY awards.

“It is important to build relationships, collaborate and partner with the many women’s organizations that are available in the trades industries, such as National Association of Women in Construction, eWomen Network.com, and educational institutions. In joining forces with these women the opportunity arises to build awareness of the opportunities available. Breaking down the perception barrier allows companies to not only attract women, but also to attract clients by promoting them as a female-friendly business.”

Stephanie Ewing
Vice President
Marketing Programs & Strategy, PHCP Divisions 
Affiliated Distributors

Ewing joined Affiliated Distributors (AD) in 2015. She has 16 years of industry experience. Prior to AD, she served as director of strategic partnerships for Watts Water Technologies, where she received the “Eye On The Customer” and “Lead Free Collaboration & Teamwork” awards. She was also a national speaker for G.T.L.O.P. consortium focusing on education and market awareness specific to the National Reduction of Lead in Drinking Water Act. Prior to Watts Water, she served as managing director of the Residential Strategic Business Unit at Dormont Manufacturing Company. Ewing serves on ASA’s Women In Industry Division Executive Advisory Council and is a member of Women in HVACR. She graduated from Indiana University of Pennsylvania with a Bachelor of Science in business management. She also received MBAE certification from the Center for Executive Education at the Joseph M. Katz School of Business, University of Pittsburgh.Ewing joined Affiliated Distributors (AD) in 2015. She has 16 years of industry experience. Most recently, she served as director of Strategic Partnerships at Watts Water Technologies. At Watts Water, Ewing was the recipient of the “Eye On The Customer Award” and “Lead Free Collaboration & Teamwork Award.” She was the national speaker for G.T.L.O.P. consortium focusing on education and market awareness of the National Reduction of Lead in Drinking Water Act. Prior to Watts Water, she served as managing director of the Residential Strategic Business Unit at Dormont Manufacturing Company. Ewing is currently serves on ASA’s Women In Industry Division Executive Advisory Council. She graduated from Indiana University of Pennsylvania with a bBachelor’s of sScience degree in business management. She also completed the MBAE certification program by the Center for Executive Education at the Joseph M. Katz School of Business, University of Pittsburgh.

“The trade industries can continue to make it known that they value the contributions of women. This Industry Leading Ladies series helps communicate that, however, I also believe companies must continue to set an example by promoting and hiring women who deliver results in leadership roles. If those things happen it sends a message that career paths are available in our industry and may encourage more women to join us.The trade industries can continue to make it known that they value the contributions of women. This Industry Leading Ladies series helps communicate that, however, I also believe companies must continue to set an example by promoting and hiring women who deliver results in leadership roles. If those things happen, it sends a message that career paths are available in our industry and encourages more women to join us.”

Merry Beth Hall
Assistant Vice President
Workforce Development 
Plumbing Heating Cooling Contractors 
Educational Foundation

Hall is the aAssistant vVice pPresident, Workforce Development for the Plumbing Heating Cooling Contractors Association (PHCC) Educational Foundation. She was recently promoted from the position of director of Apprentice & Journeyman Training. In her new role, Hall is responsible for the development of plumbing and HVAC apprentice training textbooks and numerous online courses including pre-apprenticeship and apprentice training for plumbing and HVAC. She also manages two national apprentice competitions and the SkillsUSA national plumbing contest each year. In addition, Hall is responsible for developing partnerships within the industry to encourage new talent to enter the plumbing and HVAC trades.

“To attract women, the plumbing and HVAC trades need to emphasize the diversity of career opportunities within our trades. We also need to demonstrate that our jobs are high-paying across the board –— from journeyman level to corporate executive positions. Drawing public attention to the wide variety of career opportunities in our trades as well as the importance of these trades in providing comfort and good health helps promote a positive image of what we do.”

Michele Hudec
Senior Vice President and General Manager, 
Wholesale Channels
World and Main, LLC 

Currently serving as the highest ranking and first sales and marketing woman executive at World and Main, Hudec is directly responsible for the Jones Stephens Corporation. She is in charge of approximately 25 percent of the corporation’s top line revenue. Hudec has held corporate management positions in American Standard, The Chicago Faucet Company, and Moen. Colleagues describe her as a driven leader, teammate and mentor. Hudec is passionate about horses as well as service. She is a dedicated board member and volunteer for her local North Jersey chapter of Habitat of Humanity. A graduate of Bradley University, Peoria, Illinois, Hudec also studied at Harlaxton College, in Grantham, England, and is a Certified Age In Place Specialist serving as the highest ranking and first sales and marketing woman executive at World and Main, LLC, Hudec is directly responsible for the Jones Stephens Corporation. She is in charge of approximately 25 percent of the corporation’s top line revenue. Hudec has held corporate management positions in American Standard, The Chicago Faucet Company, and Moen. Colleagues describe her as a driven leader, teammate and mentor. Hudec is passionate about horses as well as service, as a dedicated board member and volunteer for her local North Jersey chapter of Habitat offor Humanity. A graduate of Bradley University, Peoria, Illinois, Hudec also studied at Harlaxton College, in Grantham, England, and is a Certified Age In Place Specialist (CAPS).

“It isn’t about attracting women to trade industries as much as it is about seeking them out. The world is filled with talented, professional and intelligent women across many different disciplines. Look for them in other durables industries, treat them as equals, place them in roles consistent with their skill sets, pay them fairly and most importantly, empower them. I recently said to a potential hire from a different, but similar industry, ‘The plumbing industry grabs you and keeps you. The people, the comradery, the opportunities for growth – all make you want to stay  isn’t about attracting women to trade industries as much as it is about seeking them out. The world is filled with talented, professional and intelligent women across many different disciplines. Look for them in other durables industries, treat them as equals, place them in roles consistent with their skill sets, pay them fairly and most importantly, empower them. I recently said to a potential hire from a different, but similar industry, ‘The plumbing industry grabs you and keeps you. The people, the comradery, the opportunities for growth –— all make you want to stay forever.’”   

Lyric Lain
Mechanical Designer
Burns & McDonnella

Lain is the first cCertified Pplumbing dDesigner at the employee-owned, design-build company Burns & McDonnellalds, which is located in Fort Worth, Texas. Published in Plumbing Engineer magazine and recipient of the 2015 Blue Quill Award, she is also an Envision Sustainability Professional who focuses on holistic environmental design approaches. Lain has served on the Dallas-Fort Worth American Society of Plumbing Engineers (ASPE) Board of Directors as corresponding secretary and newsletter editor. With more than eight years in the plumbing-design industry, Lain is currently seeking her mechanical engineering degree. She enjoys volunteering during Engineering Week by presenting basic plumbing design principles to students in the Architectural-Construction-Engineering (ACE) Mentorship Program, as well as other Give Back events in the community.

“There are many women with experience in the trade industries who can be great mentors to students and young professionals. It’s imperative that women in the construction-design industry become active in their communities and bring awareness to these critical and rewarding career paths. Professional organizations are a great place to network and for women to showcase their expertise. Running for officer positions, making presentations, and writing technical papers helps to highlight women and their proficiency in these industries.”

Johnette Rosenbalm
President 
TWC the Valve Company 

Rosenbalm is the first woman to hold a C-level position at TWC. Her background includes more than 20 years of leadership roles in several industries including hHospitality, cConsulting and pProfessional sServices. Rosenbalm has also served as an adjunct professor at her alma mater, University of Houston, teaching cContract mManagement. She is a cCertified sStrength cCoach from Gallup and a cCertified tTrainer. She has been honored at past companies as “Manager of the Year,” “MVP of the District” and the “President’s Choice Award” for her leadership contributions. Rosenbalm is currently a member of Women Energy Network, and served as a mentor to five women in the Mentee Program last year.  In addition, she is a bBoard mMember for the Coalition for the Homeless Houston and a member of ASA’s Women in Industry Division.

“Strong leadership is needed for the trade industries to attract women. Servant leaders mentor and support their team and this builds the company culture. Great companies will attract more women to our industry. It is my responsibility as a servant leader to be a mentor and to provide opportunity for the rest of my team to also be mentors.” 

Monica Ryan
Owner and President
Village Plumbing and Home Services

 

Ryan’s ccareer at Village Plumbing began in 1984 as a temporary secretary position. After three weeks, she decided to stay because she found it to be fun and challenging. In 1985, Ryan went back to school for her masters. After gaining her degree, she was promoted to service manager of 21 employees at the age of 27. Eight years later, Ryan purchased Village from her parents, becoming owner and president. She also studied and became a master plumber. Ryan is a member of the Houston Area Association of Plumbing Heating & Cooling Contractors and has served a four-year term on the board. This year marks Village’s 70th anniversary, an achievement that Ryan is particularly proud of, as the achievement reflects the company’s commitment and a lesson Ryan learned from her father: Behave in a way that leaves a positive areer at Village Plumbing began in 1984 as a temporary secretary position. After three weeks, she decided to stay because she found it to be fun and challenging. In 1985, Ryan went back to school for her masters. After gaining her degree, she was promoted to service manager of 21 employees at the age of 27. Eight years later, Ryan purchased Village from her parents, becoming owner and president. She also studied and became a master plumber. Ryan is a member of the Houston Area Association of Plumbing Heating & Cooling Contractors and has served a four-year term on the board. This year marks Village’s 70th anniversary, and achievement that Ryan is particularly proud of, as the achievement it reflects the company’s commitment and a lesson Ryan learned from her father: Behave in a way that leaves a positive impression.

“One important factor that draws men to the trades is the wages. This is something the trades can boast that most fields of work can’t. Women make the same as men in this industry, which should be a selling point, considering the disparities elsewhere. Secondly, we need to establish a female apprenticeship program. If women had a program designed for them to train them in the ways of the trades that would definitely attract them and increase theimportant factor that draws men to the trades is the wages. This is something the trades can boast that most fields of work can’t. Women make the same as men in this industry, which should be a selling point, considering the disparities elsewhere. Secondly, we need to establish a female apprenticeship program. If women had a program designed for them to train them in the ways of the trades, that would definitely attract them and increase the representation.”

Pauli Undesser
Deputy Executive Director
Water Quality Association

 

Undesser brought a vast knowledge of water treatment technologies, standards, codes and regulations, along with high-level leadership skills, to her role at the Water Quality Association (WQA). She joined the WQA team in 2007 and was named deputy executive director in May 2014. Prior to her current role, she served as WQA’s director of Regulatory and Technical Affairs and as executive secretary of the Water Quality Research. Under her leadership, WQA has successfully coordinated a coalition to re-write and simplify industry product certification laws in California, launched an unprecedented capital campaign for its foundation, and established a new governance platform for the association. Undesser is a cCertified aAssociation eExecutive (CAE) and mMaster wWater sSpecialist (MWS). She holds a bachelor’s degree in Chemistry from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and a master’s degree in bBiochemistry from Northern Illinois University.

“More women would be attracted to the technical, male-dominated trade industries if we would just … ASK! Research has shown time and time again that people are more likely to get what they want if they ask. I have yet to see a serious effort to recruit women done. But if we try asking, like the research conclusions have shown, we just might get what we want, too.” 

Rosenbalm is the first woman to hold a C-level position at TWC. Her background includes more than 20 years of leadership roles in several industries including hHospitality, cConsulting and pProfessional sServices. Rosenbalm has also served as an adjunct professor at her alma mater, University of Houston, teaching cContract mManagement. She is a cCertified sStrength cCoach from Gallup and a cCertified tTrainer. She has been honored at past companies as “Manager of the Year,” “MVP of the District” and the “President’s Choice Award” for her leadership contributions. Rosenbalm is currently a member of Women Energy Network, and served as a mentor to five women in the Mentee Program last year.  In addition, she is a bBoard mMember for the Coalition for the Homeless Houston and a member of ASA’s Women in Industry Division.

“Strong leadership is needed for the trade industries to attract women. Servant leaders mentor and support their team and this builds the company culture. Great companies will attract more women to our industry. It is my responsibility as a servant leader to be a mentor and to provide opportunity for the rest of my team to also be mentors.” 

Monica Ryan
Owner and President
Village Plumbing and Home Services

 

Ryan’s ccareer at Village Plumbing began in 1984 as a temporary secretary position. After three weeks, she decided to stay because she found it to be fun and challenging. In 1985, Ryan went back to school for her masters. After gaining her degree, she was promoted to service manager of 21 employees at the age of 27. Eight years later, Ryan purchased Village from her parents, becoming owner and president. She also studied and became a master plumber. Ryan is a member of the Houston Area Association of Plumbing Heating & Cooling Contractors and has served a four-year term on the board. This year marks Village’s 70th anniversary, an achievement that Ryan is particularly proud of, as the achievement reflects the company’s commitment and a lesson Ryan learned from her father: Behave in a way that leaves a positive areer at Village Plumbing began in 1984 as a temporary secretary position. After three weeks, she decided to stay because she found it to be fun and challenging. In 1985, Ryan went back to school for her masters. After gaining her degree, she was promoted to service manager of 21 employees at the age of 27. Eight years later, Ryan purchased Village from her parents, becoming owner and president. She also studied and became a master plumber. Ryan is a member of the Houston Area Association of Plumbing Heating & Cooling Contractors and has served a four-year term on the board. This year marks Village’s 70th anniversary, and achievement that Ryan is particularly proud of, as the achievement it reflects the company’s commitment and a lesson Ryan learned from her father: Behave in a way that leaves a positive impression.

“One important factor that draws men to the trades is the wages. This is something the trades can boast that most fields of work can’t. Women make the same as men in this industry, which should be a selling point, considering the disparities elsewhere. Secondly, we need to establish a female apprenticeship program. If women had a program designed for them to train them in the ways of the trades that would definitely attract them and increase theimportant factor that draws men to the trades is the wages. This is something the trades can boast that most fields of work can’t. Women make the same as men in this industry, which should be a selling point, considering the disparities elsewhere. Secondly, we need to establish a female apprenticeship program. If women had a program designed for them to train them in the ways of the trades, that would definitely attract them and increase the representation.”

Pauli Undesser
Deputy Executive Director
Water Quality Association

 

Undesser brought a vast knowledge of water treatment technologies, standards, codes and regulations, along with high-level leadership skills, to her role at the Water Quality Association (WQA). She joined the WQA team in 2007 and was named deputy executive director in May 2014. Prior to her current role, she served as WQA’s director of Regulatory and Technical Affairs and as executive secretary of the Water Quality Research. Under her leadership, WQA has successfully coordinated a coalition to re-write and simplify industry product certification laws in California, launched an unprecedented capital campaign for its foundation, and established a new governance platform for the association. Undesser is a cCertified aAssociation eExecutive (CAE) and mMaster wWater sSpecialist (MWS). She holds a bachelor’s degree in Chemistry from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and a master’s degree in bBiochemistry from Northern Illinois University.

“More women would be attracted to the technical, male-dominated trade industries if we would just … ASK! Research has shown time and time again that people are more likely to get what they want if they ask. I have yet to see a serious effort to recruit women done. But if we try asking, like the research conclusions have shown, we just might get what we want, too.”

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