Written by Angelica Hermanto, PE, LC, LEED AP
I recently represented Altieri at the Construction Institute’s 2023 Women Who Build Summit held at UMass Amherst. A special shout-out to Donalee Drohen, Specification Sales at Illuminate, who has been attending the conference for years and recommended we try it out.
The 1 ½ day conference kicked off with pre-conference workshops and a tour of The John W. Olver Design Building, “the largest and most technologically advanced academic contemporary wood structure in the US” (https://bct.eco.umass.edu/about-us/the-design-building-at-umass-amherst/). The welcome reception afterwards gave over 200 construction industry attendees an opportunity to mingle and network with each other. Women (with a sprinkling of men) came from a range of backgrounds and jobs including owners, facilities directors, utility providers and representatives, architects and designers, engineers, construction managers, contractors, vendors, and manufacturers.
The Day Two agenda began with panel discussions and breakout sessions on topics ranging from sustainability designs and AI technology to networking and overcoming adversity. Panelists offered different perspectives and welcomed interaction with the audience. I particularly enjoyed Raising the Standard for Sustainable Building: Living Building Challenge which showcased the first LBC building in Connecticut, being built right here in Norwalk. Learning about the design process and challenges of LBC certification was an eye opener for all, but especially for those of us in the A/E/C field as we work toward designing and building a more sustainable future.
The afternoon brought all attendees together for two very different, yet inspirational sessions: An amazing keynote address by June Millington, Filipino guitarist and trailblazer; (any one of us could find parallels in her passion for educating young women and girls in rock ‘n’ roll music!), and a full-group workshop, Powerful Questions: For Collaborating, Connecting, and Building Confidence, providing tools and motivation for asking questions in the workplace that will enhance collaboration.
Based on my very positive experience as a first-time attendee, I have recommended that Altieri women engineers participate annually in the Women Who Build Summit. We all need the space and opportunity to meet other women in the field, catch up with colleagues, and share insights and experiences. Thanks, Donalee!