Winners announced for NAWIC Excellence Awards

From managing directors to apprentices across the country, this year’s finalists and winners universally impressed judges in the National Association of Women in Construction (NAWIC) Excellence Awards, in partnership with BCITO.

“Speaking to the nominees and hearing about their careers in ways that they can’t describe on paper was inspiring,” said one judge. “We heard their passion and dedication, their modesty and humility; most thinking they’re just doing their jobs. They don’t realise how extraordinary they are.”

“I think as women we accept there is a lot to juggle with family, kids and our individual challenges,” agreed another. “We strive to do our best and to varying degrees make a success of whatever we’ve turned our hand to. [But these] women are exceptional - women who are using their skills, knowledge, influence, voice and passion to make a quantifiable difference to the wider construction industry, the community, and numerous people around them.”

NAWIC President Jenny Parker was delighted with the achievements of all entrants as well as the event itself, which was held on Friday evening, 27 September in Auckland. “Every one of these women is remarkable,” she said. “They’re succeeding in what has been a man’s world for so long, and doing a wonderful job. We also acknowledge and respect the men who are helping us to change this.”

BCITO Chief Executive Warwick Quinn said, “We are extremely proud to partner with NAWIC to support these Awards for the first time.  On behalf of BCITO, we’d like to give a very big thank you to the judges, organisers and other partners who have contributed in one way or another to make tonight’s event such a stand-out occasion. Well done to all award recipients, you all shine brightly and you should be enormously proud of your achievements.”

Guest of honour at the event was Nancy McConnell, whose work has been closely aligned to NAWIC’s values. From her early days as CommunicationsManager at McConnell Dowell to her current role as Strategic Advisor for the Hawkins-Downer Group, Ms McConnell has always focussed on building better communities through better communication and networks.

She works collaboratively with educators, trainers, community, iwi and business to develop talent and provide leadership opportunities, especially in the construction space.

Helen Tippett’s eldest daughter Victoria Quade presented NAWIC’s premier award, the Helen Tippett Award and cup to Colleen Upton, General Manager-Director of Hutt Gas and Plumbing in Lower Hutt. Victoria is an English language and media literacy educator in Wellington and lives in an inner-city warehouse conversion that her mother developed.

Colleen loves the plumbing and gas fitting industry and is passionate about making it a better place. When she employed her first female apprentice, the girl had been rejected by 25 other companies in the area, and Colleen decided things had to change. Since then, both male and female staff are treated equally, and she makes a point of mentoring the girls who see her as a strong female role model thanks to her wide-ranging experience.

Award recipients

The Helen Tippett Award, the supreme award which celebrates an organisation’s or individual’s achievement in advancing the interests of women in the construction industry:
Colleen Upton, G/M-Director, Hutt Gas & Plumbing, Lower Hutt.

Tradeswoman of the Year, celebrating the contribution tradeswomen make to the industry:
Elizabeth Watson, Cladder, Stone Roofing Ltd, Hamilton. 

Professional Woman of the Year, honouring women who have made a significant contribution to our sector:
Joint winners: Erin Black, Associate Business Development Team Leader, Beca, Christchurch and Kathryn Kitchen, Manager-Director, Fisher Aluminium, Gisborne.

Rising Star, which celebrates women who demonstrate future leadership skills:
Site winner: Morgan Raby, Project Engineer, HEB Construction, Auckland.
Joint Office: Lisa Mace, Senior Process Engineer, Beca, Christchurch and Neha Sharma, Transport Engineer, Jacobs Ltd, Wellington.

Excellence in Construction Administration, which honours the contribution of women in administration, sales/marketing and operational roles:
Joint winners: Tracy Shaw, People and Performance Advisor, Higgins, Hawkes Bay and Kylie Wech, Contract Manager, Downer Group, Whangarei.

Outstanding Achievement in Design, which recognises an individual’s contribution to the design aspect of construction projects:
Hedda Oosterhoff, National Architectural Manager, T&R Interior Systems, Wellington.

Student/Apprentice Excellence Award, celebrating female students/apprentices who show lots of potential and commitment to the industry:
Student Joint:  Danielle Platt, Quantity Surveyor, Rider Levett Bucknall, Christchurch and Anna Winskill-Moore, Apprentice Builder, Osborn Bros Construction, Dunedin.

Apprentice:  Corinna Bohny, Apprentice Carpenter, Contract Construction, Christchurch.
Special Merit, Apprentice: Paris Ternent-James, Apprentice Carpenter, M B Brown, Masterton.

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