For Women’s History Month we’re highlighting a few of the many women at SDOT who inspire us, like Patricia Westsik and Annya Pitack. Next up: Angee Louman.
Angelina Louman, known as Angee by most, is a strong, motivated, and compassionate crew chief on our bridge maintenance team.
The answer: D! Yes, Seattle owns or manages 330 bridges!
Often we only think about the movable bridges like the Ballard Bridge, University Bridge, and Fremont Bridge, or huge bridges like the Magnolia Bridge and West Seattle Bridge. But there are over 300 other bridges that we regularly inspect and repair.
In addition to the
bridges, this team works on stairwells, retaining walls, and underground walls
holding up our roads – think Seattle Underground.
As a crew chief, Angee, and her fellow crew chief Ryan Carter, supervise a team of 20 carpenters and finishers. On any given day her team is out at 5-7 projects across the city. They could be repairing cracks on an overpass, power washing a moveable bridge, or replacing glass bricks on the seawall.
Over a decade ago Angee set out to be a carpenter.
She joined a carpentry
apprenticeship through Renton Technical College where she worked for a company
that built bridges. It was hard. She was one of only a couple women and was
made to feel that the only reason she was there was because they needed to fill
a “girl quota”.
I had to fight for every project I worked on. The guys would rather I just sit in a chair and watch, but I pushed. When people put me down, it made me want to work harder. – Angelina Louman
She pushed through, finished her
apprenticeship, and became a Journeyman in the Carpenter’s Union.
One day she had
enough. She couldn’t take the culture and decided to change career paths. She
went to the Gene
Juarez Academy of cosmetology,
became a stylist, and then embraced time at home with her young children.
After almost 5 years away from hardhats and
cement mixers, she decided to give it another try.
She worked on high-rise buildings with Sellen and then made her way back to bridges.
When she was first approached about a job working on SDOT’s bridge team, she was very hesitant. The bridge team manager, Paul Jackson, assured her that SDOT’s culture was different, and that they were actively working to make the bridge maintenance team more welcoming to women.
Angee started as a temp Bridge Carpentry Maintenance Lead, and
soon was hired on as a fulltime staff member. Paul and others recognized her
leadership potential, and a little over a year later, she was promoted to Crew
Angee, along with Ryan, Paul and others, work hard to maintain healthy work environment – both for women and men. Angee values listening and making sure her crew members feel heard.
Trust and respect is key. It’s my job to listen and give them a voice. Often they come up with ideas to do a job better, and I trust them. – Angelina Louman
Angee’s crew reflects
the respect and trust back to her.
Angee’s advice for women entering the carpentry field is that you have to know yourself.
She shared that as a woman you have to show up and give 110% every day to prove yourself to some of the guys. But if you know yourself and your strengths, then you know you can do it. She is grateful that she found a job where she is valued and that the culture is shifting.
We are grateful to have Angee on our team.
Stay tuned for more Women at SDOT stories, and check out Annya and Patricia’s stories if you missed them.
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