Students from Bronx Design & Construction Academy on a PWC Mentorship tour at Kemper System America, West Seneca, N.Y. (L-R) are Chaira Mejia, BDCA teacher; Sunelly Olivares, BDCA; Kathleen Courteau, Kemper System; Felicia Monds, BDCA; Dorothy Wasiak, PWC
On May 22, Professional Women in Construction (PWC) in conjunction with Kemper System America led a group of teenage girls and a teacher flown in from the Bronx Design & Construction Academy (BDCA), a high school located in the South Bronx, on a tour of the company’s production facility in West Seneca, N.Y. The tour is part of PWC’s new mentorship program that introduces young women to career opportunities in the nontraditional fields of construction, design and related industries.
Since PWC President Lenore Janis and a committee launched the mentorship program in the fall of 2012, the organization has taken groups of girls to a variety of job sites in New York City and introduced them to executive women and entrepreneurs working in the field. On the tour, they applied a test of the company’s “odor-free” Kemperol 2K PUR (two-part polyurethane) liquid-resin waterproofing membrane system.
Richard Doornink, managing director, Kemper System said, “The mentorship program opens up opportunities to show young people possible future career choices.”
Mentorship Committee Chair Dorothy Wasiak of PWC, vice president of PCGNY Corp., an exterior restoration and waterproofing company, said, “This tour has empowered tomorrow’s women to know that they can enter the world of construction.”
Kathleen Courteau, chief administrative officer, Kemper System, said, “There is a great demand for women in construction …We hope to convey the message to the next generation that they should ’go for it.’”
Chaira Mejia, the BDCA teacher who accompanied the girls on the tour said, “This visit allowed the students to obtain a better insight of what the construction world entails and empowered them to strive for success in a male-dominated field.”
The students’ response was enthusiastic. Chelyn Fabian said, “Why are all different trades male-dominated? It’s time for me as a woman to make a change.”
Sunelly Olivares enjoyed the hands-on opportunities the tour provided, such as a waterproofing demonstration they were able to participate in. She said, “It’s not only what we are told… we have to see and be exposed to opportunities like these trips … We not only saw things but we made them.”
Kemper System America Inc. is a worldwide leader, innovator and manufacturer of the high quality, cold liquid-applied, fully reinforced waterproofing and roofing membranes. With offices in 10 countries, Kemper System membranes protect over two billion square feet of surfaces under the most adverse conditions.
The West Seneca production facility was opened in 2010 to meet the increasing demand for liquid-applied waterproofing systems with a U.S. based manufacturing operation.
“The mentorship program is the perfect means for PWC to let young women know that they belong in this industry in every way, laborer, craftsman, construction manager, owner — every path is open to pursue,” said Janis.
For more information, visit www.pwcusa.org.