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Altorfer CAT Hosts Women of Asphalt Illinois Meet and Greet

Wed November 10, 2021 - Midwest Edition #23
Katherine Petrik – CEG Editorial Assistant

Altorfer CAT hosted the Women of Asphalt Illinois Meet and Greet at its Mokena, Ill., facility on Oct. 26.
Altorfer CAT hosted the Women of Asphalt Illinois Meet and Greet at its Mokena, Ill., facility on Oct. 26.
Altorfer CAT hosted the Women of Asphalt Illinois Meet and Greet at its Mokena, Ill., facility on Oct. 26. Meredith Mills (L) of Champaign Asphalt Co. and Sara Carlson of Curran Contracting were in attendance for Women of Asphalt’s meet and greet at Altorfer CAT. (L-R) are Beth Conley of Superior Asphalt Materials LLC, and Janet Rivera, Vanessa Solano and Jessica Bedoya, all of A & A Paving. Untonisha Harper (L) of Let’s Pave and Claudia Tonelli of Altorfer CAT discuss how women contribute to the asphalt industry. Susan Green (L) of Caterpillar and Amanda Reyelts of Protack LLC shared their experiences. Dave Pawelek (L), president A & A Paving, catches up with Sally Gillan of Phillips 66 Asphalt. Kellen Harseim, field sales manager of Altorfer CAT, gives a tour of the new Altorfer facility in Mokena, Ill.

The Illinois chapter of Woman of Asphalt, a national coalition supporting women in all aspects of the asphalt industry, gathered on Oct. 26 for a Meet and Greet, hosted by Altorfer CAT in Mokena, Ill. Board members were on hand to meet with members and also to bring awareness to the new chapter and to build membership.

"We are kicking off our Women of Asphalt branch in Illinois, a division of the national Women of Asphalt," said Sara Carlson, of Curran Contracting in Crystal Lake, Ill.

The organization seeks to make women aware of the career options available in the asphalt industry through mentoring, education, advocacy and encouraging women to seek careers in the asphalt industry.

"One of the reasons this is important right now, is that there is a shortage in our labor workforce in general in construction," said Carlson. "So, this is a great opportunity to reach out to an untapped market — women. There are just so many opportunities in the asphalt industry from accounting to engineers to laborers to operators ... anything you want to do. The sky's the limit."

To continue the mission, Carlson and Sally Gillan of Phillips 66 Asphalt and co-chairwoman of WOA of Illinois, headed to the Illinois High School Councilors Association Convention in Tinley Park, Ill. They spoke with councilors to inform them of careers in the asphalt and construction industries.

"We encourage them to present to women who are going to college — or who may not be college bound — that there is an industry out here that women can get involved in," said Gillan. "We're bringing awareness and letting girls know that this is not just a ‘boy's' industry. There are a lot of jobs available to women at all levels. You can do anything from running an office to running a crew to running a plant to being an estimating engineer."

The goals of Women of Asphalt include fostering and promoting mentoring and networking opportunities; create professional development opportunities through education and training; advocate for women in the industry; and encourage women to join the asphalt industry.

"We need to get kids thinking at a young age. They need to know they can do anything, including construction," said Beth Conley of Superior Asphalt Materials. "It's a good paying job and supports lots of families, including ours. We can do anything and they need to know it, boy or girl."

According to Gillan, "in the construction industry, women are paid 85 percent comparable to men, but from an engineering standpoint or a union workers standpoint, they get 100 percent the same wage as men in the industry."

The vision statement of Women of Asphalt is to "lead and inspire women in the asphalt industry."

Conley is already putting this vision into practice with her own children.

"I've been bringing my kids to job sites since they were babies and I'm ecstatic that my daughter wants to build roads when she grows up — just like me." CEG

(All photographs in this article are Copyright 2021 Construction Equipment Guide. All Rights Reserved.)

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