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Meet the Women Taking Center Stage in the Concrete Industry

Oscar Einzig & Associates/World of Concrete Women in the construction industry network at the 2023 World of Concrete show in Las Vegas.
As the construction industry observes the 25th annual Women in Construction Week, focuses on some of the women moving the industry forward.

Women often must overcome adversity to achieve business success in the construction industry, where they represent around 11% of the workforce, according to data from the U.S. Department of Labor. At this year’s World of Concrete show, held in Las Vegas, the role of women in the concrete industry was given heightened focus.

The Women’s Association of Concrete Professionals held its first educational event at WOC, titled “Women Construction Business Owners: Trends, Trials & Triumphs.”

At the event, the leaders of the WACP spoke to attendees about their journeys in the concrete industry and shared some of their insights.

“To me, success is getting through the day,” said Sarah Bryan, who founded the WACP last year. “It’s having a horrible day and saying, ‘I got this stuff.’ It’s getting a cup of coffee. It can be taking your kids to school and picking them up.”

Bryan, who serves as the executive vice president of SlurryMonster, introduced industry leaders Lee Ann Harris, co-owner of the Decorative Concrete Institute, Rebecca Fuscardo, owner of Fuscardo Concrete, and Crystal Ploszay, owner of Unicorn Epoxy.

Harris, who also serves as president-elect of the WACP, said the concrete industry is dominated by men, who have a key role to play as allies.

“We need to learn from them. That’s why we encourage the men to support us, so we can support other women and be their mentors as well,” she said.

Fuscardo, a director for the WACP, said while the industry is slowly changing, she sees more women at World of Concrete shows than she did 15 years ago.

“Now we got them out there with hard hats and work boots and it is just an awesome thing—it truly is,” she said.

Fuscardo said she’s read many times that the key to success is growth.

“I do believe in that statement wholeheartedly,” she said. “If you become goal oriented you’ll hit your goal and be satisfied where you are. However, being growth oriented, you will never meet your maximum potential. The goals will be higher and higher.”

Ploszay, who is also the organization’s vice president, said Unicorn Epoxy’s “team of ladies are rocking it.”

She’s writing a memoir about how she went from sleeping in her car with her two kids to making her first million dollars.

“It hasn’t always been roses for me,” she said.

Ploszay said she gained creativity and resilience through her young adult life.

“That’s something I have to lean on,” she said.

Ploszay said she is an artist, an entrepreneur, a fabricator and the founder of her company, which is an all-female installation team based in Florida. She said her team travels “pretty much anywhere for decorative installations of all kinds.”

Ploszay has more ambitious plans as well and said she’s working with chemists to develop oil contamination remedies.

“We have numerous exciting, creative projects lined up,” she said. “This year I’m diving into science and leaning into my microbial business.”

Week of reflection

The construction industry will reflect on the pivotal role women play in construction as the National Association of Women in Construction marks its 25th annual Women in Construction Week March 5 to 11.

Many local chapters hold WIC Week events, including making presentations to high school classes, jobsite tours, luncheons and virtual events, the organization’s website says.

According to the U.S. Department of Commerce, women make up less than 10% of trades workers. An initiative called Million Women in Construction, launched in 2022, hopes to change that by bringing 1 million women into the industry by the end of the decade.

Announced by U.S. Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo at North America’s Building Trades Unions’ Tradeswomen Build Nations 2022 Conference, the initiative, if successful, could double the number of women in the construction industry.

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