This year’s World of Asphalt was a great success! We attended in support of Women of Asphalt, which organized several events during the conference. If you weren’t able to join us last week, here’s a recap of what you missed:
Women of Asphalt Forum
Things kicked off with a forum moderated by Rita Leahy, PhD, a 30-year veteran of the asphalt industry. The roundtable discussion centered on how women can and do thrive in the asphalt industry. Panelists included:
- Marquisha Williams, Safety Representative at Milestone Contractors
- Rebecca McDaniel, PhD, Technical Director at NCSC Purdue University
- Amy Schumacher, President at The Heritage Group
- Isabell Troxell, Project Engineer at Ajax Paving
- Jess Hughes, Strategy & Innovation Team Leader at Superior Bowen
Dr. Leahy asked the panel some probing questions related to the challenges women face in the asphalt industry. She also noted a recent increase in the number of women in the industry, and was heartened to see more women in diverse leadership roles in the material sciences and construction in general. When asked about the advice they would give to young people entering the asphalt industry, panelists emphasized being open-minded and willing to learn, grow and develop through cooperation with colleagues.
One important discussion stemmed from how important it is for women in the asphalt industry to have the support of their male co-workers, as men still outnumber women by a large margin. The panelists agreed that when men act as allies and advocates for their female co-workers, they can strengthen and encourage the bonds not only of friendship and camaraderie, but also the industry as a whole.
Women of Asphalt Mixer
Following a wave of enthusiasm from the forum, the Women of Asphalt mixer commenced. Dozens of men and women of asphalt stopped by for drinks (in Blacklidge-branded cups), networking and to hop into our sponsored Women of Asphalt 2019 photo booth! The pink feather boas and bright pink hard hat props were big hits again this year! New giveaways this year included Women of Asphalt trucker caps and T-shirts (that feature our logo on the back), which were all scooped up by enthusiastic supporters by the end of event! Check out our Facebook Album to see some of the fun photographs captured.
Keynote by Sarah Fisher
The final marquee event featured a keynote speech from renowned INDYCAR owner and race car driver Sarah Fisher! The fact that this year’s World of Asphalt was held in Indianapolis made her appearance even more relevant and meaningful. Fisher shared her experiences as a woman competing in a male-dominated sport, her journey from race car driver to entrepreneur, and how she’s fostering a love for racing in her children and others in the community with Speedway Indoor Karting.
The Many Faces and Stories of Women of Asphalt
Before World of Asphalt 2019 came to a close, Women of Asphalt such as Audrey Copland, PhD, P.E., Rita Leahy, PhD, P.E. and even Sarah Fisher shared their thoughts on being trailblazers in their professions and advice to women who want to follow in their footsteps.
Additionally, dozens of women stopped by the Women of Asphalt booth to proudly declare their solidarity with the group’s mission to lead and inspire women in the asphalt industry. See all the Women of Asphalt on the Women of Asphalt Facebook Album.
After two years of supporting Women of Asphalt, we’re in awe of how much the movement has grown. We believe women are essential to the success and advancement of the asphalt and road construction industries. By providing opportunities for support, networking and development in the field, Women of Asphalt is paving the way for the future of our industry. We are excited to continue supporting Women of Asphalt in their mission—at conferences, online and on the road!