Sheet Metal & Air Conditioning Contractors’ National Association

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Episode #14: SMACNA Celebrates Women in Construction Week

Mar 11, 2021

In Episode 14 of Let’s Talk Shop, host Angie Simon, CEO, Western Allied Mechanical, celebrates Women in Construction Week by sitting down and speaking with two SMACNA women leaders, Carmen Koo, a partner at Applied Air Conditioning in California, and Sandra Mennino, president of Cambridgeport Air Systems in Massachusetts. Koo and Mennino talked about how they started in the industry, what challenges they’ve faced as women, and opportunities to bring more women into the fold.

When asked about the challenges they’ve faced as a women in a male-dominated industry, here’s what they had to say:

“Sometimes, I have to put the boots on and climb up on ladders. There was one instance where we were on top of a roof in downtown L.A., and I saw somebody secretly taking pictures of me while we were doing the job walk. That was odd and strange and uncomfortable. But, you know, for the most part, it’s been great. People, I think, are more open now to women in the trade, including different people who don’t look like the typical construction worker,” said Koo. “So I think it’s kind of opened eyes and opened doors for other people.”

It’s been less of a challenge for Mennino, who started at Cambridgeport as the controller. “I was very hands on in the factory floor at that time, and I knew a lot of the people, and most of our employees have been there a long time, and I had a good rapport with them,” said Mennion. “I go down to the floor, and they know I’m not afraid to go down there and get dirty.”

Listen to the full episode* to learn more about how women are strengthening the sheet metal and HVAC industry.

*Episodes of Let’s Talk Shop can be played on SoundCloud and iTunes.