Groundbreaking Women in Construction

May 15-16, 2018

The Palace San Francisco

Presented By
Engineering News Record
In Partnership With
Peckar & Abramson, P.C.

Tuesday, May 2

Tuesday, May 2

7:30 am - 8:30 am - Metropolitan Foyer and Metro III
Registration, Breakfast, Exhibits

Networking tables will be available for attendees who are interested in an informal discussion of one of the following topics. Get a ribbon for your badge to indicate your interest!

Inclusion • Attracting Girls to Construction • Gender Pay Gap • Power of the Purse • Work/Life Balance

8:30 am - 8:40 am - Metropolitan Ballroom
Program Welcome & Introduction

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Janice L. Tuchman, Editor-in-Chief, Engineering News-Record Read Bio

Melinda Gentile, Partner, Peckar & Abramson, P.C. Read Bio

8:40 am - 9:10 am - Metropolitan Ballroom
Challenges and Opportunities for Women in a Changing Government Environment

Speaker: Carey A. Smith, President, Parsons Corp. Federal Read Biocarey smith

The highest ranking woman executive of this multi-billion-dollar engineer-contractor and a rising star in government contracting circles., Carey will share an “inside the Beltway” view for firms and women professionals in 2017—and beyond.



9:15 am – 10:15 am - Metropolitan Ballroom
Panel: The Diversity Dividend: the Power of the Purse

This dynamic panel will discuss the business case for diversity—the potential and realized economic benefits when businesses are diverse and, conversely, the detrimental long-term financial impact that a lack of diversity can have. Understand how the financial power of diversity incentive programs is evident through research and examples of companies that have women and minorities in their upper ranks.


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Laura Abrahamson, Senior Vice President, Associate General Counsel, Head of Litigation, AECOM

Lisa Mingoia, Corporate Counsel, Skanska USA Building Inc. Read Bio

Mara Johnston, Vice President Business Development, Star America Capital Read Bio

Jon Michael Pardo, Senior Vice President and CHRO, Dragados USA Read Bio


 10:15 am - 10:45 am - Metropolitan Foyer and Metro III
Networking Break, Exhibits

10:45 am - 11:45 am - Metropolitan Ballroom
Panel: Earn What You’re Worth—Closing the Gender Pay Gap

Panelists will share results of construction sector studies on gender pay gaps, their potential to increase throughout a career and their impact on industry retention and advancement. Learn strategies and innovative approaches that others have used to reduce actual and perceived pay differences and maximize total compensation and incentives to motivate future professionals and leaders.


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Kellie A. McElhaney, John C.Whitehead Adjunct Professor, University of California, Berkeley Haas School of Business and founder of Center for Gender Equity and Leadership Read Bio

Priya Kapila, Compensation Practice Leader, FMI Corp Read Bio

Angie Sommer, Associate, ZFA Structural Engineers and Co-Chair, Structural Engineering Engagement and Equity (SE3) Project Read Bio

Moderated by Kelli L. Kelly, Director of Diversity and Inclusion, PCL Construction Enterprises, Inc. Read Bio

11:50 pm - 1:20 pm - MaSo Restaurant, lobby level
Lunchtime Discussion Groups - Grab Lunch and Join A Facilitated Conversation Table of Your Choice:

Facilitated Conversation Tables

  • Construction Technology Careers-What’s Hot? In the country’s tech capital, learn key trends in industry tech areas and how women can excel as innovators

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Facilitators: Sarah Hodges, Director, Construction Business Line, Autodesk Read Bio

Danielle Dy Buncio, CEO, VIATechnik Read Bio

  •  Because of...In Spite of... Do you feel you got where you are because of being a woman or in spite of it? Exchange stories with other attendees about different leadership styles between men and women.

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Facilitator: Lori A. Simpson, Principal, Langan  Read Bio

  • Intrapreneurship: How to Turn Your Workplace into a Startup! How to spark changes in large companies.

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Facilitator: Giana Morini, Virtual Project Delivery Engineering Task Supervisor, Bechtel Infrastructure Read Bio

  • Project Managers as Teambuilders  With project managers in high demand, exchange ideas on skills women bring and how to boost yours!

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Facilitators: Natasha Smith, Project Manager, P.J. Dick, Inc. Read Bio

Tamara Yang, National Learning and Development Director, Balfour Beatty Construction Read Bio

  • Innovative Safety Solutions -Hear the success story of how Ashly developed Fluor’s new Safety Pin program

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Facilitator: Ashly Coggins, Construction Area Manager, Fluor Corp. Read Bio


1:25 PM – 3:10 pm -Metropolitan I & II
Breakout Sessions
1:25 PM – 2:15 pm
Track A - Metropolitan I
What You Don’t Know WILL Hurt You: WBE/DBE Certification and The False Claims Act 

This session will offer an overview of changing requirements to become a certified Womens’ Business Enterprise-Disadvantaged Business Enterprise, followed by an in-depth review of how to prevent accusations of WBE/DBE fraud and claims against a firm under The False Claims Act, which allows private citizens to bring fraud claims and gain a percentage of monetary recovery—fertile ground for disgruntled employees or competitors.


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Lorraine D'Angelo, President, LDA Compliance Consulting Inc.

Margery Newman, Partner, Bryce Downey & Lenkov LLC  Read Bio


Track B – Metropolitan II
Women in the Trades, Women in the Field

Women have always been underrepresented on construction industry jobsites, which often are perceived as uncomfortable and unwelcoming. Women with jobsite experience will discuss the pros and cons of site work—from finding a bathroom to overcoming intimidation tactics and harassment. Learn how male peers and senior management can support their women colleagues in creating and maintaining an environment that will benefit all.


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Kathleen Dobson, Safety Director, Alberici Constructors, Inc.  Read Bio

Helen Robinson, Senior Project Manager, GEI Consultants Read Bio

Blue Coble, Journeyman Ironworkers’ Union Local 75, Phoenix Read Bio

Moderated by Patti Morgan, Continuing Lecturer, Purdue University Read Bio

Track C - Concordia
Tennis Anyone? A Networking-Teaming Exercise

Join a team at “National Tennis Ball Inc.’s” manufacturing plant to help the struggling company speed production and stay competitive. In this interactive session, you and your team of 10-20 will learn how innovative ideas can forge strangers into a collaboration engine. Discover your own creative spark while problem-solving with other construction professionals.


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Gretchen Gagel, President, Continuum Advisory Group  Read Bio

Kelcey Henderson, Operations Manager, Continuum Advisory Group  Read Bio

2:20 PM – 3:10 pm
Track A -  Metropolitan I
She Negotiates – Effective Negotiation Techniques and Skills

Negotiation is at the heart of most, if not every, business transaction. Learn essential negotiating techniques to maximize your effectiveness and take control of a negotiation.


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Amanda Goldsmith, Senior Estimator, Avalon Bay Communities Read Bio

Brenda Radmacher, Partner, Wood Smith Henning & Berman LLP Read Bio


Track B - Metropolitan II

ray kristenHow Failure Helps Women Succeed

This interactive session will explore why a lack of confidence widens the gender gap and how to move on from failure. Gain insights and tips from a veteran construction project manager and dispute resolution expert.

Facilitator: Kristen Ray, Manager, Exponent Read Bio

Track C - Concordia
"Yes, And": Three Improv Concepts that Inspire Thought Leadership

Notorious in comedy, improvisation highlights in-the-moment creativity. This interactive workshop will demonstrate techniques to help you create a safe environment for the professional and personal growth of team members. The skills will help with difficult conversations, strategy meetings and creative problem-solving.


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Will Hightower, Creative Content Producer and Performer  Read Bio

Jennifer Giralo, Marketing Coordinator, Archer Western Construction  Read Bio

3:15 pm - 3:45 pm - Metropolitan Foyer and Metro III
Networking, Refreshments, Exhibits

3:45 pm - 4:45 pm - Metropolitan Ballroom
Panel: Attracting Construction’s Next Generation of Women

How can construction professionals use their skills, experiences and voice to show girls and young women that they, too, can enter the field, and succeed? We will see a clip from a new IMAX film—“Dream Big: Engineering Our World” —that highlights inspirational stories of young women engineers improving our world; one of them will join other panelists to share their career passions.

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Samar Bedran, Project Manager, SBI Consultants Read Bio

Tannis Liviniuk, Construction Academy Director, Bentley Systems Read Bio

Menzer Pehlivan, Geotechnical Engineer, CH2M Read Bio

Moderated by Hilda Espinal, Senior Vice President and Chief Technology Officer, CannonDesign Read Bio

4:45 pm - 5:15 pm - Metropolitan Ballroom
Keynote: Turn Up the Volume on Your Inner Cheerleader

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Speaker: Monique Tallon, CEO, Highest Path Consulting, Los Angeles Leadership Development Firm Read Bio

Founder and CEO of this executive coaching firm and a Silicon Valley veteran, Monique will tell us how to make confidence matter as much as competence at all career levels and how women can communicate their unique strengths to best advantage in current jobs and future roles.



 5:15 pm - 6:30 pm - Metropolitan Foyer and Metro III
Reception, Networking, Exhibits




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