Today, women play numerous roles in Virginia’s asphalt industry. These roles include company owners, management, accountants, human resources managers, project managers, and engineers. But did you know many companies have women working on paving crews, at asphalt plants, and in the labs? The opportunities provided by the asphalt industry are numerous. For those in the industry, this should come as no surprise. However, for women not in the industry and looking for a career, these opportunities may not be apparent.
In 2017, a group of women in the asphalt industry had an idea to start an organization to support women in or looking to enter the profession. Their idea turned into Women of Asphalt with a mission to “support(s) women in all aspects of the asphalt industry through mentoring, education and advocacy, and by encouraging women to seek careers in the asphalt industry.”
At the March 3 meeting of the VAA Board of Directors, the board unanimously voted to establish a Women of Asphalt (WofA) branch in Virginia—Women of Asphalt Virginia. Virginia joins approximately ten other states supporting the national organization. According to WofA board member and leader of the Branches Working Group Kirsten Fowler, “Women of Asphalt branches are being established to connect and empower women at the state level in the asphalt industry, from entry-level to executives and for both women in the field and office roles. Our hope is that WofA Virginia will become a community of women to uplift and inspire one another.”
By VAA teaming with the national organization, Women of Asphalt Virginia, chaired by Blair Williamson—President of S.L. Williamson Co., Inc., will be bringing opportunities to women already in the industry as well as those considering a career in the asphalt industry. Williamson had this to say, “It is my hope that by joining the WofA we can collaborate with other branches and foster opportunities for women at all levels to enter the industry. There are so many interesting careers in asphalt and heavy highway construction for women to pursue, but historically there has not been an obvious entry point. I hope we can create some pathways for young women to enter our industry and excel.”
Now that WofA Virginia has been established, plans are underway for virtual, hybrid, and in-person events. As these events are finalized, look for emails from VAA and posts on Facebook and LinkedIn. Make sure you like the VAA pages on these social media platforms to get updates.
Lastly, there is no cost to join WofA Virginia. Join the national organization and then click on the WofA Virginia under the Branches section of the Get Involved menu item. By joining the national and Virginia organizations, you will be kept up to date with relevant information and upcoming opportunities.
VAA looks forward to this partnership with Women of Asphalt. Watch for more information coming soon.