The Teamsters Union has several divisions, including a building material and construction trades Division. Members in this division are truck drivers who transport and haul material, merchandise, equipment or personnel between various locations-including construction sites, manufacturing plants, freight depots, warehouses and wholesale and retail facilities. They may also load and unload, make minor mechanical repairs and keep truck in good working order.
Meg Vasey is the Executive Director of Tradeswomen, Inc. (TWI). Meg Vasey has been a construction electrician since 1979 and has served as TWI’s Executive Director since 2009. She served her apprenticeship with the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) Local Union 302, Martinez, California and represented Local 302’s members as a retirement plan trustee for 30 years. Ms. Vasey worked with the tools as a journey-level electrician until 1998 when she enrolled at the University of California, Berkeley, School of Law, graduating and passing the California State Bar in 2001.
Since graduation, Ms. Vasey has used her legal and construction knowledge to increase the participation of women and other underserved populations and to promote apprenticeship and sustainable job opportunities in construction and related skilled trades. Ms. Vasey has worked with dynamic coalitions of local contractors, community groups, trade unions, apprenticeship professionals and public agency staff. These include coalitions to increase women mechanics and machinists in the Bay Area through Pre-apprenticeship. At TWI, Meg has revitalized the organization’s programs in direct services, technical assistance, and advocacy for women in the trades while expanding TWI’s staff and overall capacity.
Meg Vasey serves on several state and community boards as well as the National Taskforce on Tradeswomen’s Issues. She has been recognized as a Labor Visionary by the California AFL-CIO. In addition to her Juris Doctorate, she holds a Bachelor of Arts in Mathematics and Philosophy. As TWI’s Executive Director and as a woman who fed her family working on construction sites, Meg is committed to furthering women’s economic opportunities through careers in the skilled trades.
Esther Polk, Administrative Manager, provides administrative support to the Executive Director and Program staff. She maintains the Tradeswomen, Inc., website, and assists in event and conference planning. Ms. Polk comes to Tradeswomen Inc. with more than 25 years of experience working in both the nonprofit and public sectors.
Salafai ‘Susie’ Suafa’i, Program Manager, has been an advocate for women in the trades since 1974 at Women in Apprenticeship in San Francisco where she served as Director from 1976 -1986. From 1988-1993 she served as Women’s Program Coordinator for the Century Freeway Project in Los Angeles and from 1997-2009 she worked on construction sector workforce initiatives across the country for the National Economic Development and Law Center. Susie joined Tradeswomen Inc. in 2012 as Program Manager.
Ester Sandoval is a Native of Chile, there she ran her first backyard clean-up crew with her 7 & 8 year old neighborhood friends. By the age of 9 she was running her own “handy” crew but it wasn’t until the age of 29 that she decided to pursuit her dreams, Carpentry. Ester is a Journey level Carpenter who has a passion for educating women in pursuing a career in construction. Ester loves riding her bike as well as tinkering with minor repairs, you will see her throughout the Bay Area cheerfully getting to places.
Jessica Fontenot, is the Program Coordinator with Tradeswomen, Inc where she facilitates community engagement, coordinating workforce development opportunities, Outreach, Recruitment, Advocacy and frame work for women working in the non-traditional trades and blue collar careers.
Jessica has more than a decade of experience in leveraging public private partnerships through Community Outreach, Implementation of Public Relations Strategies, Stakeholder Engagement, Labor and contract compliance support and strengthen relationships between the community and public/private agencies.
Via a model that fosters public private Partnerships, Jessica has dedicated her career to advocating for resources and opportunities to remove barriers to gainful, sustainable employment for the residents of Southeast sector of San Francisco with a strong focus on the Bayview Hunters Point neighborhoods and West Bay communities.
Salena Durrell, Central Valley Program Coordinator, joined Tradeswomen Inc. in June 2019 to cover the Fresno, Sacramento and Stockton areas. Originally from San Francisco has lived in Stockton for over 15 years where she attended Delta College. She got into the construction Trades in 2016 where she indentured as an apprentice with the Carpenters Local 152 and eventually the IUEC Local 8. In her time as an apprentice, she organized a successful meetup group event for Central Valley Tradeswomen, that was sponsored by the San Joaquin County Construction and Building Trades Council. She has always been an active member in her union, by attending meetings at her local and participating in city and state PLA hearings. In 2018 she testified in support of AB2358 that now is a law that prohibits harassment and discrimination of apprentices. She works closely with apprenticeship coordinators as she continues her passion of outreach and solidarity. In May of 2021, she became certified by North America's Building Trades Union as an MC3 Program Coordinator, and concurrently works with the North Valley Building Trades. In her free time she loves to listen to 80s/90s music with her daughter and go fishing.
Sharon Golden is the internal and external communications project coordinator for TWI. She earned an AA in Labor Studies, and a certificate in Construction Project Management from Laney College, as well as a BA in American Studies with a focus on Public Policy from University of California, Berkeley. Coupled with her 18 years of campaign organization and social media campaigns, Sharon has both helped working families on the grassroots level, and help advocate policy advancements that families can feel.
Madison graduated her 5 year Apprenticeship program from District Council 16 Northern California Architectural Metal & Glass Workers program. During her 13 years in the field Madison ran work as a Superintendent, Foreman & Leadman. Over the last six years Madison has continued her path in her career as a Union member, a Community Leader and advocate for careers in non-traditional employment. In this time, Madison has served as Business Representative, Glaziers LU718 San Francisco, Communications & Political Director and currently Director of Service, District Council 16 International Union of Painters & Allied Trades.
Barbara Dees started her career in IBEW 595 in 1984. As a single mother and foster mom for the majority of her sons’ childhood, she has long understood the rewards of having a career as an electrician. After her sons became adults and started their careers in plumbing and the military, Barbara became a full time volunteer in her local. She was appointed to the 595 executive board in 2013, where she currently holds a position still. She chairs the Women’s Committee in Local 595, she is the President of the Northern California Electrical Workers Minority Caucus and is currently the Vice President of Tradeswomen Inc.
Since 2012, John Brauer has served California’s working men and women as the Workforce and Economic Development (WED) Program Director at the California Labor Federation. WED acts as a workforce intermediary on behalf of its 2,000 affiliated labor unions and 2 million workers throughout the state. For the past seven years, Mr. Brauer has served on the California Workforce Development Board and its Executive Committee. He has also served for 3 years as an appointee of Oakland Mayor Libby Schaff to the Oakland Workforce Development Board. In addition, Mr. Brauer serves on the board of the California EDGE Coalition whose mission is to advance state policy and investments that create and sustain pathways into the middle class for all Californians, including individuals facing barriers to economic and social mobility. Mr. Brauer is part of a blended-household, with 6 children that make him proud every day for their contributions to making the world a better place.
Olwyn Brown is a 25-year member of Carpenters local #713 in Hayward California. She serves as a Board Member of both Retention Apprentice Mentoring Program (RAMP) and Tradeswomen, Inc. where she focuses on workers who need support to succeed in apprenticeship, mentor peer relationships, group dynamics and comprehensive retention support. Tradeswomen, Inc. was one of California’s first organizations for women in the trades industry and continues to be one of the most active and effective organizations in the nation, focused exclusively on the needs of women in skilled trades. Olwyn recently became a board member of California Policy Center for Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities. (CPCIDD) this board was "Establish to take a strategic research and evidence-based approach to identify critical issues and program strengths with the system serving people with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities." (IDD)
Ms. Brown teaches carpentry for Jobs Corps Treasure Island in San Francisco, California.
Terri started her 5-year apprenticeship in 1992 as a Steamfitter with UA local 342. After turning out in 1997 Terri wore many hats in the field from Steward to Project Manager. In the past 30 years you could see Terri serving on the COPE, By-Laws, Work Preservation committees at her union. Terri has spoken at city council meetings, school board meetings as well state legislators as an advocate of women in non-traditional careers. Terri was a delegate and Executive Board Member of the Central Labor Council Contra Costa County AFL-CIO for 20 years and was awarded Labor Leader of the Year in 2019. During this time Terri also held the role as a Trustee.
Terri enjoys mentoring the women in UA 342, and women in other crafts she has met in the field. Terri always looks for opportunities to talk to women about getting into the building trades.
Jenn’s career path in construction finance began in 1994, helping facilitate construction of a restaurant chain. She briefly left construction to broaden her skillset at Gulf Coast Workforce Board, a Florida non-profit organization. After four years Jenn returned to her roots in construction. She took a controller position for an established California subcontractor company. After eight years, Jenn saw an opportunity with Swinerton to continue her career goals. Over the last eight years, Jenn amassed more experience, and supplemented that with further education, earning her master’s degree in Business Administration. She currently serves on the Women’s Business Resource Group Committee and passionately strives to enhance opportunities for women in business. Currently the Director of Accounting, Jenn will be transitioning to Human Resources in 2022. As Talent Solution Director she will impact the firm by focusing on employee talents and positioning the workforce to maximize efficiency and job satisfaction.
My name is Alicia Mijares. I was born and raised in San Jose, California and began my sheet metal apprenticeship with Sheet Metal Workers’ local 104 in 1995. I turned out journeyman in 2002. As a journeyman I worked in the field and shop fabricating and installing heating and air duct and architectural metal.
My passions are social justice and organized labor, so I naturally became active in my union. I served as a shop steward and was asked to assist to organize a women’s committee for our local which I gladly did. Our committee has focused on retaining female members in our local through outreach and mentoring.
I was elected to the executive board in 2018 and chaired the local 104 Women’s Coalition until I became a Business Development Representative in 2019. I look forward to reaching out to women and getting them into a career in the trades.