The women rebuilding America's construction landscape

Females are expected to make up 25% of the industry by 2020, and here are the ones leading the way

Allison Anderson-1

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, just 9% of the construction workforce is female. The number gets even smaller when it comes to workers on a front line of a job site, with only one woman for every 100 employees on the field. 

While the construction industry falls behind in terms of gender equality, positive changes are being made. Last year, nearly one in three companies promoted women to senior roles, 4% of new construction firms were launched by women and companies continued and initiated diversity and inclusion policies. As construction is estimated to grow by 3% in 2019, women are expected to make up 25% of the industry by 2020. 

Women in Construction USA shines a light on these trailblazing women, sharing their stories for how to shatter the glass ceiling. From entrepreneurs to project managers, here are some of the speakers making waves in the construction industry. 


Barbara Bouza, FAIA

Managing Director, Principal, Gensler

Barbara is Co-Managing Director, Principal of Gensler Los Angeles and is a global influencer for wellbeing through design excellence. Through her collaborative leadership style, she brings strategic design management to highly innovative clients such as Netflix, JPL/NASA, Amgen and the City of Hope.

A Fellow of the American Institute of Architects and member of the AIA California Council Board of Directors, Barbara will be 2019’s AIA Los Angeles Chapter President. She was recognized by the Los Angeles Business Journal as Executive of the Year: Women Making a Difference, Woman of Influence: California by Real Estate Forum magazine, honored by Girls Inc., and featured on National Geographic’s documentary, “Origins: The Journey of Humankind – Building the Future.” Barbara is on the Board of Directors of Imagine LA, a leading not-for-profit dedicated to mobilizing the community to end the cycle of homelessness. She is active with Dress for Success, The National Organization of Minority Architects and Women Presidents’ Organization.

She holds a Bachelor of Architecture degree from California State Polytechnic University, Pomona and studied in the Graduate Diploma Program at the Architectural Association in London. Her work has been published internationally.


Katie Coulson

Vice President - Account Manager, Skanska

Katie is a Vice President – Account Manager with Skanska in Portland, Oregon. She is the founding chair of the Skanska Woman’s Network (SWN) in Portland and is currently serving on the SWN National Board.

She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Civil Engineering from the University of Wisconsin – Madison and is on the Industry Board for Civil & Environmental Engineering there. She has served on numerous boards including Secretary of Oregon Tradeswomen and the American Heart Association focusing on healthy construction workplace. Outside of work, Katie enjoys reading, hiking, paddle boarding, traveling, and spending time with her husband Bob and daughter Taryn.


Jit Kee Chin

Chief Data Officer & Executive Vice President, Suffolk Construction

Jit Kee Chin is the Chief Data Officer and Executive Vice President at Suffolk and is responsible for leveraging big data and advanced analytics to improve the organization’s core business. Ms. Chin is also responsible for helping to position Suffolk to achieve its vision of transforming the construction experience while working closely with the company’s Innovation and Strategy teaMs.. to fundamentally reinvent the future of construction in the digital age.

Prior to her role at Suffolk, Ms. Chin spent ten years with management consulting firm McKinsey and Company where she counseled senior executives on strategic, commercial and advanced analytics topics. Most recently, she was a Senior Expert in Analytics in McKinsey’s Boston office where she specialized in the design and implementation of end-to-end analytics transformations. Prior to that role, Ms... Chin was an Associate Principal in McKinsey’s London office where she helped organizations drive multi-year business transformations and change prograMs.. and developing strategies for profitable growth. Ms. Chin holds a PhD in Physics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and a BS from the California Institute of Technology.


Esi-Kilanga Bowser

Director of Centralized Engineering, Turner Construction Company

Esi-Kilanga Bowser is the Director of Centralized Engineering at Turner Construction Company. She has been with Turner for 13 years and has been in the design and construction industry since 2001. She received her Bachelors of Architecture from the University of Miami and her Masters of Architecture and Urban Design from Columbia University.

She currently holds several professional industry accreditations such as DBIA, LEED AP BD+C and, NCARB, and is a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc., and National Organization of Minority Architects.

With Turner, Esi is honored to have worked on several notable projects around New York City such as Manhattan Cruise Terminal, NYU Energy Building, Brookfield Place’s Courtyard Renovation, Mt. Sinai Hospital KCC, One Court Square and Cadillac House just to name a few. She is currently working on projects at 375 Pearl St, Brooklyn Navy Yard, 230 Park Ave, Mt. Sinai Hudson Yards, and various other commercial and institutional fit-outs throughout New York City, as well as the lead for training and standardization for the engineering operations department within Turner’s New York City Office.

Esi is proud to exemplify Turner’s core values of Teamwork, Integrity, and Commitment and is excited to be here to help cultivate and inspire the panel discussion attendees. Esi lives in Brooklyn, NY with her husband of 12 years and three children.


Angela Cotie

Project Executive, Gilbane

A Project Executive for Gilbane, Angela has been involved with many high-profile projects during her 22 years that have received multiple local, national and international awards.

A Penn State graduate, Angela was an ENR Texas/Louisiana Top 20 under 40 in 2015 and a 2018 STEAM Role Model for Houston Women’s Chamber. She is working with the AGC starting a local Women in Construction initiative

Mrs Cotie is ACE Mentor Houston’s Chairman of the Board, a board member for PSU’s Architectural Engineering Program, a Galveston Career Connect leader, HISD chamber member, and active with her children’s school, FFA and activities.


Noopur Jain

Regional Delivery Manager, California High-Speed Rail Authority

Serving the Transportation industry for over 20 years, Noopur Jain is the Regional Delivery Manager (RDM) for the California High-Speed Rail Authority. She brings leadership, management, and technical expertise from both public and private sectors as RDM, and previously as an engineer on the California High-Speed Rail program since 2015.

Noopur is a registered professional and structural engineer in multiple States including California, Washington, Utah, Illinois, Texas and Ohio. She is an active member of several professional organizations including the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE), Design-Build Institute of America (DBIA), American Segmental Bridge Institute (ASBI), and the Transportation Research Board (TRB). Noopur currently serves as the Pacific West Region Council Chair for Women’s Transportation Seminar (WTS), an organization dedicated to advancing women in the transportation industry.

Jain received a B.S. in Civil Engineering, and an M.S. in Structural Engineering, both with honors, from Universities in India.


Rebekah Morlock

Technical Marketing Engineer, Nucor Steel Yamato

Rebekah Morlock is the Technical Marketing Engineer for Nucor. She earned her Bachelor of Science Degree in Civil Engineering from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte in 2006. She has over twelve years of experience working in all facets of the structural engineering industry, including residential, commercial, industrial, and even software sales and development. She has sat at the design desk as well as worn the hardhat onsite. She has a true passion for building and pushing the envelope in terMs.. of design and structure.


Sophia Cavalli

President, Cavalli Solutions and Intuitive Mind Strategies

Sophia Cavalli’s continually expanding expertise comes as a result of more than 20 years of experience in the field of inclusion and diversity and unconscious bias. She has established herself as a sought-after speaker at US and European engagements in the construction industry and has lead inclusion and diversity programs for multibillion-dollar construction companies and nationally recognized programs for large public agencies in the US.

Sophia continues to further her mission by helping companies and organizations become more inclusive and move beyond existing biased perspectives and practices. She works with clients in the US and Europe at all stages of their inclusion and diversity journeys to help them achieve their business and operational goals. Sophia conducts insightful presentations and workshops and connects clients to tailored solutions that drive results. No matter where an organization is on its path, she can help enhance the values of inclusion and diversity by enlightening perspectives.


Allison Anderson

Project Manager, Turner Construction

With over 10 years in the Construction Industry, Allison is a graduate of Civil Engineering and a Project Manager with Turner Construction. She began her career at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center and later followed with various assignment rotations at Turner Construction. Her portfolio includes a variety of project types, including hospitals and medical office buildings, a higher education innovation center, and mission critical data center projects. Allison is involved in a number of industry organizations, and is the Board Chair of the Greenville ACE Mentor Program. Through her continued career growth and experiences, Allison has found her purpose and passion within the construction industry.


Ellen Yang

Senior Project Manager, Newmark Knight Frank

Ellen Haiying Yang is a senior project manager from global real estate services consultant Newmark Knight Frank / The CRE group now on assignment to a confidential fortune 50 technology client. She is managing several tenant improvement and office build-out projects as owner representative where her work ranges from project planning and permitting to design, construction and close out. Over her 11 years in project and program management, she also has worked on tenant improvement projects for other tech-sector clients like Google. Earlier, she worked on pharmaceutical, infrastructure, oil and gas, mining, and power construction projects for Cumming, Atkins and WorleyParsons in the US, Canada and Australia.


Vicki O’Leary

General Organizer, Ironworkers International

Vicki O’Leary joined the Ironworkers International in January 2016. Since that time she became Chair of the North American Building Trades Union (NABTU) Tradeswomen's Committee. She is a 34-year member out of Local #1 in Chicago. She completed her triple major Bachelor of Arts degree in Union Leadership & Administration, Labor Education & Labor Studies from the National Labor College in 2008 and her Master of Arts Degree at Gonzaga University in Organizational Leadership in 2012. In 2018 she graduated from the Harvard Trade Union Program and completed the Cornell National Labor Leadership Initiative (NLLI). As a General Organizer for Safety/Diversity, she passionately strives for equal opportunity for all minorities and women within the building trades as well as the safety and health for all ironworkers.


Cecilia Kucharski

San Diego Regional Executive, Kitchell

Cecilia Kucharski offers more than two decades of construction industry experience in a leadership role at Kitchell, where she serves as Regional Executive of the company’s San Diego contracting division.

Over the course of her career, Cecilia has held various positions including construction operations, estimating, preconstruction and business development, resulting in the successful award and delivery of signature projects throughout California.

Cecilia holds a Bachelor of Science in Construction Engineering and Management (CEM) from Purdue University and continues to contribute to the engineering program as a mentor with the Purdue Women in Construction Mentoring Program. She is a certified LEED® AP and DBIA Professional and serves on numerous boards including ACE Mentor San Diego and Urban Land Institute San Diego/Tijuana. She has been named one of San Diego’s Business Women of the Year by the San Diego Business Journal and was honored by the YWCA “In the Company of Women” tribute with a Mentor Award.

Outside of work, Cecilia enjoys swimming, cooking, Girl Scout leadership, and spending time with her husband Tom and three daughters Maya, Laura and Alina.


Bernadette Reyes

Vice President of Architecture & Design, Public Storage

Bernadette Reyes is Vice President of Architecture and Design at Public Storage. Ms.. Reyes brings more than 18 years of experience in the design and construction industry.

Ms. Reyes and her team lead the Company’s architecture, site planning, building system and interior design efforts. She ensures Public Storage standards are consistently applied to ground up and existing properties across the portfolio.

Since joining in May 2017, Ms. Reyes has led the design strategy for our portfolio, providing support of architectural design, site planning, procurement, design specifications, branding and material selection. Ms. Reyes has also led the development of the reinvestment design and rebranding strategies for our capital reinvestment efforts.

Prior to joining Public Storage, Ms. Reyes worked at Austin Commercial as the Western Region Director of Preconstruction, establishing Austin’s expansion office in California. Prior to joining Austin Commercial, Ms.. Reyes was a Senior Design Manager for Clark Construction, one of the largest general contractors in the United States and led over $3 billion of Design/Build and LEED projects.

Ms. Reyes holds an MBA from the Ross School of Business at the University of Michigan, B.Arch. in Architecture and a B.A. in Political Science from the University of Southern California.


Laura Aiken

Workface Planner, Bechtel

Laura is an engineer, yoga teacher, speaker and workplace diversity and inclusion champion. Her mission is to empower women to thrive in work and life.

As Workface Planning Manager, Laura leads a team responsible for constraints management and sequencing of construction execution for Shell’s world-scale multi-billion dollar Pennsylvania Chemicals project. Laura joined Bechtel in 2011, and has worked across design engineering, construction, commissioning and start-up, in the UK, USA and Australia.

Alongside her work for Bectel, Laura is the Global Chair of Women@Bechtel, Bechtel’s Business Resource Group for Women, and is passionate about inspiring the next generation of engineers, encouraging more women to stay and thrive in STEM, and exposing the inherent biases facing women in male-dominated industries.


Danielle Edberg

Senior Manager Industry Advancement, Procore

Danielle is a multi-functional leader with 10+ years of experience developing strategic cross-channel programs focused on industry development, marketing, and technology. With a history of proven success in business development, intrapreneurship, product marketing, content, and digital, Danielle specializes in small to mid-growth companies.

In her current role, Danielle is responsible for developing and evangelizing a new benchmark for modern construction industry. She runs Procore’s Women in Construction initiative and oversees the tracks and session planning for Groundbreak, Procore’s annual industry conference. Danielle is also an officer and founding member in Procore’s Lean In ERG (Employee Resource Group) and the Procore Council for Diversity & Inclusion.


Laura Jay

Deputy Regional Director, North America, C40 Cities

Laura Jay serves as a Deputy Regional Director for North America & Head of the New York Office at C40 Cities where she works with C40’s 15 cities in the US and Canada to help advance climate actions, from policies to mitigate emissions to strategies for adapting to climate impacts. Previously, Laura managed the Land Use Planning Network at C40, working with urban planners in C40 cities globally to support the development of land use policies to address the creation of more compact, connected and resilient cities. Laura holds a Master's degree in Urban Planning from Columbia University.


Nancy Novak

SVP of Construction, Compass Datacenters

Nancy Novak, Compass Datacenters’ SVP of Construction, has over 25 years of construction experience and has overseen the delivery of over $3.5 billion in projects during that time. Prior to joining Compass, Nancy was the National Vice President of Operations for Balfour Beatty Construction which she joined after serving in a variety of executive positions for Hensel Phelps Construction Company. Ms. Novak is actively involved in a number of organizations dedicated to the advancement of woman in business including Above the Glass Ceiling (AGC) who are working with Fortune 500 companies to aid in the advancement of women in STEM, Women in Government Relations (WGE), Women Construction Owners and Executives (WCOE), The World Trade Center Initiative, Fortune Media’s Most Powerful Women and the National Women’s Party. Nancy is a frequent speaker on the topic and has participated in the White House Women’s and Diversity in STEM forums. Nancy holds a degree in Construction Engineering and Management from San Diego State University.


Shannon Peloquin

Partner, McKinsey & Co.

Shannon is a leader in McKinsey’s Capital Projects & Infrastructure, Electric Power & Natural Gas, and Sustainability Practices. She brings extensive experience serving both public- and private-sector clients in infrastructure, transportation, and utilities. Prior to re-joining McKinsey, Shannon worked in the Office of the Chairman of the New York Metropolitan Transportation Authority. Outside of McKinsey, Shannon serves on the University of Minnesota’s Carlson School of Management Undergraduate advisory board as well as the San Francisco Center for Economic Development.


Holly Frantz

Senior Director of IT, JGC America

Holly is the Senior Director of IT, JGC America. She works with senior business leaders to craft and implement the technical strategy to move JGC America to the forefront of EPC, utilizing cloud technologies. Holly describes herself as "a technology leader, geek, food historian, and champion of women in technology, oil and gas."


Ashlynn Dolcini

Environmental Health & Safety Manager, Lendlease

Overseeing Environmental Health and Safety operations for Lendlease in San Francisco is 10-year industry veteran Ashlynn Dolcini. Ashlynn began her career in construction as a job site administrator for Cahill Contractors where she supported both field and safety teams onsite. Upon joining Southland Industries’ Safety team in 2013, Ashlynn found that her passion for people, health, wellness and safety would serve as the ultimate synergy in her career path and also bring a different level of value to the teams she worked with.

Ashlynn leverages a very diverse portfolio of project experience, which include healthcare, life science, high-rise residential, and higher education. She is fully versed in local, statewide and federal health and safety regulations and is a certified Construction Health and Safety Technician. She holds a Bachelors in Business Administration and will be receiving her Masters in Occupational Health and Safety at the end of this year.


Anna Jacobson

Senior Preconstruction Manager, Morley Builders

A nineteen-year veteran of the architecture, engineering, and construction (AEC) industry, Anna Jacobson has collaborated on some of the most complex and culturally significant new projects in Southern California at Morley Builders, an ENR Top 400 general contractor based in Santa Monica. She currently provides leadership and direction in all phases of preconstruction, engaging with new and existing clients to secure opportunities, providing technical expertise and oversight in cost estimating, and managing a diverse portfolio of other preconstruction functions including proposal and interview preparation, construction scheduling, BIM coordination, and design and constructability reviews. She also founded and leads Morley’s peer mentoring group for women in construction operations. Ms. Jacobson holds a BS from USC in Structural Engineering and is currently pursuing a Masters of Information and Data Science at UC Berkeley.


Kira Jungfleisch

Founder & Director,

Kira Jungfleisch is a registered architect (Chamber of Architects Saar (AKS)), Int’l. Assoc. AIA and project manager with more than ten years of professional experience in the fields of design and project management for the industry as well as the public sector. She has built projects in different countries of the world and has gained important experience in managing multinational project teams. Currently, Kira runs her own consultancy in Seattle, WA, and also works on a book project. The different markets in construction are one of her central areas of research. Furthermore, she is a lecturer with the University of Applied Sciences Saar, School of Architecture and Civil Engineering, providing her students with key skills to successfully start a career in construction.


Claudette Moody

Director - Policy, Strategy & Government Relations, WSP USA

Claudette has 35 years of experience in infrastructure-related government relations. She has served as staff for a member of Congress and led the government relations team at the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority and its predecessor agency, LACTC. For the last 11 years, Claudette has been lead government relations professional in WSP’s Los Angeles Office, now Southwest District, serving as the firm’s senior liaison with Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (Metro), Southern California Association of Governments (SCAG) and Southern California Regional Rail Authority (Metrolink). Claudette has a passion for mentoring, is active with CORO Los Angeles and strongly supports STEAM education. She received her MA in Government from the College of William and Mary in Virginia and a BA in Government from California State University, Sacramento.


Priscilla Chavez

Diversity & Inclusion Manager, PCL Construction

As the manager of diversity and inclusion at PCL Construction, Priscilla oversees all aspects of government and labor relations, supplier diversity, and targeted workforce development. As a certified Master Compliance Administrator from Morgan State University, Priscilla is recognized as one of the industry’s leading compliance professionals in Southern California. She’s passionate about discovering and creating unique ways to make a difference in the construction industry and in the community in which she lives and works. Recently, Priscilla was recognized as one of L.A’s Most Outstanding Women in Construction & Design by the Los Angeles Business Journal.


Eloïse Allsop

Senior Structural Engineer, Fast + Epp

Eloïse Allsop is a senior structural engineer at Fast + Epp in Seattle. With over ten years’ experience in engineering, she has managed structural projects ranging from small, moving art installations to large metro stations with teaMs.. spanning multiple offices and geographies. Eloïse is a Chartered Structural Engineer in the United Kingdom and has a postgraduate certificate in BIM technical management. Most recently, she is working on a mass timber project that, when completed, is expected to be the tallest mass timber building in the United States.

These women, along with others, will be speaking at Women in Construction USA. The conference takes place on 18-19 September 2019 at Hyatt Regency, San Francisco.