Beneath the Hard Hat
C.D. Smith Company Blog

Virtual Design & Construction + Skilled Trades | Women in Construction Week™

Date: Mar 7, 2023 11:07:06 AM | Author: Molly Haack

Happy Women in Construction Week™! This year's WIC Week™, theme is 'Many Paths, One Mission.' We're embracing the different journeys, skills and contributions of women in construction.

Diana Lee joined C.D. Smith's Virtual Design and Construction [VDC] team in 2022. Previously Diana worked as a skilled tradesperson, a BIM coordinator, VDC lead, and VDC manager for trade partners in Wisconsin.

In her current role as a VDC Manager, Diana manages trade coordination of projects, photo/video documentation and security/EarthCam accounts, and trains on the use of construction technology in the field and in the office.

Encouraging interest in the skilled trades and sharing career options with students is a passion of Diana’s.

  • Why it matters: Students want to learn how things are built as part of becoming self-sufficient and independent adults. Meeting the students where they are with their knowledge and interest in technology and sharing how rapidly that is progressing in construction is an eye-opening experience. 

Diana-Lee-Virtual Design and Construction Manager at C.D. Smith with AEC Students sharing Virtual Reality

Recently, Diana shared more about her role in the construction industry with young men and women at FDL High School Ace Academy. Students are fascinated by 3D technology, META, drone and virtual scans that offer tools never before available to builders and construction experts.

Diana Lee Virtual Design and Construction Manager teaches young women about her role and opportunities in the construction industry

Learning about careers in the construction trades and understanding what is being accomplished in roles is inspiring. “It’s interesting to share my story and see their reactions," says Diana. "The whole concept of construction has so many puzzle pieces that it would take hours to go through opportunities for what each trade offers. That’s probably my favorite part."

“When I asked the young women what drove them to participate in the Academy, they unanimously responded that a huge factor was knowing they have a great opportunity to succeed in the construction industry," Diana shared. "Most of them have already planned on pursuing AEC careers.”

Encouraging an inclusive culture where our differences are celebrated is critical to attracting the wide variety of talents and skill levels for success. We're proud to be on a journey of diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI), creating more stories to celebrate in the future!

Date: September 15, 2022 | Author: Molly Haack


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Wisconsin Center Women in Construction | Field Careers Features


LaSonya Donald | C.D. Smith Journeywoman Carpenter

WOMEN IN CONSTRUCTION WEEK 2023: Meet LaSonya Donald, a journeywoman carpenter at C.D. Smith Construction working on the Wisconsin Center Expansion Project. To learn more about LaSonya Donald, watch the video embedded below or visit the Women in Construction Week page at

LaSonya Donald went to school for human services and to become an auto technician before falling in love with carpentry.

Today, she's a journeywoman carpenter on the Wisconsin Center Expansion Project.

HER BACKSTORY: LaSonya took a carpentry course at Milwaukee Area Technical College on a path to becoming a construction flagger. Her instructor expanded her vision with a belief in her while teaching Donald the skills she needed to become much more.

ZOOM OUT: LaSonya currently serves on a Sisters in the Brotherhood Committee of the Carpenters Union. Her confidence in herself and her work inspires beyond the jobsite.

Thank you, LaSonya, for sharing your story and impacting the future of our industry during Women in Construction Week and beyond!

#dei #wicweek #wisconsin #milwaukee #construction National Association of Women in Construction


ashley sZweda | C.D. Smith Labor Journeywoman

WOMEN IN CONSTRUCTION WEEK 2023: Meet Ashley Szweda, a labor journeywoman at C.D. Smith Construction working on the Wisconsin Center Expansion Project. After finishing not one, but two degrees, Szweda decided to explore a career in construction after a friend encouraged her to do so.

“One of my girlfriends was a sheet metal worker. I had just moved back here from Texas, and she’s like ‘Ashley, go take the test! Just be a laborer, go make over $21 an hour, you’ll be fine. Then you’ll figure it out,’” Szweda said. “After you start out making over $21 an hour, now it’s a lot more. It’s hard to go back. I have two degrees, and this makes good money for the hours.”

To learn more about Ashley Szweda,
watch the video embedded below or visit the Women in Construction Week page at


Ashley Szweda has two degrees but has grown the most in her eight years as a female laborer in the construction industry.

Today, she's a labor journeywoman on the Wisconsin Center Expansion Project.

EMBRACING THE CHALLENGE: Szweda encourages new apprentices to stick with it. She enjoys new challenges and sharing tricks of the trade from learning by doing.

THE BIGGEST THING: Ashley talks about showing up, working hard and finding a mentor. She cites mentorship as a big part of her success and suggests giving everyone a fair shot to make construction a more inclusive industry.

Thank you, Ashley, for sharing your story and inspiring others with your success during Women in Construction Week and beyond!

#dei #wicweek #wisconsin #milwaukee #construction National Association of Women in Construction



WRTP | BIG STEP is addresses a growing skills shortage by connecting people to family-sustaining jobs.

In their quest to create opportunity for all, the Wisconsin Regional Training Partnership (WRTP) and Building Industry Group Skilled Trades Employment Program (BIG STEP) held a WOMEN IN THE TRADES CAREER FAIR during Women in Construction Week 2023.

THE BIG PICTURE: Underemployed and underrepresented people have to know about opportunities in construction and manufacturing before they can do anything to change their circumstances. Creating awareness of skilled trades opportunities is the first step. 

C.D. Smith Construction at Women in the Trades Career Fair in Madison Wisconsin

WOMEN IN THE TRADES CAREER FAIR DONE RIGHT: The career fair was open to the general public, and WRTP |BIG STEP shared the benefits of skilled trades career paths.

  • Competitive wages
  • On-the-job training
  • Paid apprenticeships
  • Experienced mentors
  • Advancement potential
  • Team of skilled professionals
  • Hard work with real-time results

Thank you to WRTP | BIG STEP for being the change-makers with impactful events for building connections between people and industry. 


Construction Trades | Field Careers


We Build Careers. Grow With Us.

C.D. Smith offers a wide variety of growth opportunities in the construction trades. Start as a laborer and work your way into an apprenticeship program that best suits your interests and skills. Earn industry-leading wages and gain valuable trade skills through C.D. Smith Construction's apprenticeship career pathways. Learn more about field position wages, benefits, job training schedules, education hours, classroom requirements and the step-by-step stages of mapping out your apprenticeship program. Learn more by visiting our FIELD CAREERS page and exploring or inquiring about potential or current openings.

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