Amanda Romano WIC

Amanda Romano

Pipefitter Journeyperson, Local 51
Arden Engineering Constructors

Amanda is in her ninth year of pipefitting, and six months into a new VDC/fabrication position. She studied art and anthropology in college, but got into the trades after becoming interested in learning the art of welding. She says, “The positives usually outweigh the negatives, but it’s not an easy career. You must be able to wake up early, be on time, work hard, and get dirty, without much time off (unless there is little work). If you’re cut out for that type of work, generally, women make great workers in the trades. We pay attention to detail, work safely, and communicate well.” She adds, “There is a lot to learn in the trades, which is very useful. I don’t need to call a plumber when redoing my bathroom or replacing my water heater. It has been rewarding to grow independently, and I think a lot of women would enjoy seeing the fruits of their hard labor.”

Danielle WIC

Danielle Cruso

HVAC/R Apprentice, Local 51
Arden Engineering Constructors

Danielle comes from a background of working with her hands on project cars as a hobby. She researched the trades, and found that HVAC sparked an interest that she wanted to pursue for her career without giving up her hobby. Julie says, “The most interesting thing about being a service tech is that we are the jack of all trades. We become the masters of our craft.” Her advice for women in the trades is to “dive in, and don’t be afraid to get your hands dirty. No one can tell you what you can and can’t do; you can do anything you put your mind to.” Danielle believes seeing more and more women getting into the industry and taking the lead will take away the stigma about women in the trades. She comments, “It’s a lifelong, rewarding career, having knowledge and skills that can’t be taken away.”

Vicki Cataldo, WIC

Vicki Cataldo

Pipefitter Foreman, Local 537
Corporate Mechanical of New England

Vicki has been in the pipefitting trade for 20 years, and her interest in pipefitting was initially sparked by family involvement in the business. Her biggest challenge as a woman in the trades was being the only female when she first joined the union. She says, “Twenty years ago, it was very different from how it is now.” Her best experience is all the great people she met along the way – the ones who have taught her and the ones she has taught. She advises other women in the trades to “learn the trade so that no one can ever say you can’t do the job. And don’t take any crap from anyone. Learning your trade and doing it as well or better than anyone else is your best asset.”

Rose Connolly, WIC

Rose Connelly

Pipefitter Foreman, Local 777
MJ Daly

Rose joined the union in 2016 and MJ Daly in 2017, she has worked on various projects: big powerhouse jobs, small boiler jobs, and other projects in between. This has given her experience and interactions with people from across the country, and she says she truly never feels disrespected or looked down on because she is a woman. When Rose became a foreman in 2021, she noticed that many people would “test” her or try to gauge her knowledge and ability or how she would react to something. She says, “Now that we are a few years down the road, I’ve settled into my abilities as a foreman and genuinely don’t feel any different than the guys. Everyone treats me just like they would anyone else.”

Chloe Jackson WIC

Chloe Jackson

Pipefitter/Welder 5th Year Apprentice, Local 777
MJ Daly

Chloe joined MJ Daly in early 2021 as a third-year pipefitter apprentice. She says, “MJ Daly has given me the opportunity to obtain quality on-the-job training. Two years and two large projects later, I’m smarter and more skilled. I have gained the respect of my peers and mechanics. I have no issues pulling my weight. I am comfortable enough to crack jokes and have a good laugh. The job’s hard on everyone. Construction isn’t for everybody. Female or male: find what you’re good at and stick to it.”

Julie Figueroa

Pipefitter Journeyperson, Local 777
MJ Daly

Of her role, she says, “It’s like any other job. I go to work, pull my weight, and respect those who have taught me. That’s all it takes to earn the respect of whoever I’ve worked with. We are all there to make a living, earn that credit and get home safe to our families.”

Susan WIC

Susan Avakyan

Unique Metal Works

Susan has worked at Unique for 10 years, first as an office manager and now as a controller. “But really,” she says, “being that we are a small company with many different aspects, I’m involved in some manner or another in just about everything. If office staff or field or shop workers need help, they know I can help them.”  She continues, “It wasn’t always like that, especially being a female in a primarily male environment. I got pushback on procedures or comments that ‘they didn’t have to do what I told them. But with time and experience, that has changed. I have gained acceptance and understanding and now feel well respected.”

Any questions? Send us feedback here