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WoW Blog (Woman of the Week)

Each week this blog will feature a prominent woman who made significant contributions to engineering or science. If you have any women you'd like us to feature please let us know and we'll do our best to include them.

Do you know of a great woman in engineering that should be recognized? Let us know! Submit a few paragraphs about that person and we'll add her to the blog. Please provide a citation for the material that you submit so that we can verify it. Please note - it has to be original material. We cannot publish copywritten material or bulk text taken from books or other sites (including Wikipedia).

Woman of the Week – Megan McCoy Jones

Posted December 04, 2017 4:45 PM by lmno24

Megan McCoy Jones is the Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer at McCoy’s Building Supply. She’s been around the business her whole life, as it’s been her family’s livelihood for more than 90 years.

During her summers as a kid, she’d spend time at the company shadowing her father and learning all she could about the company.

McCoy served as Director of Field Support at McCoy Corporation from August 2008 to December 12, 2011. In August 2007, she began a one-year term as Assistant Store Manager of McCoy's Manchaca, Texas store.

Source: McCoy’s Building Supply

In an interview with, she discusses the issues women in the construction industry often face. She prides herself with always asking good questions and trying to get a good understanding of all parts of an issue.

“I’m working hard to ask as many of our crew members as possible, and also customers, what’s working in their job, what frustrates them, what’s hard on customers to deal with, what’s making it easier for them to want to buy from us. I know what I know and I don’t know what they know. I want to ask good questions,” she said in the interview.

She noted that one of her biggest areas of growth is trying to fully understand the perspective of everyone and not just listen only to convince someone of her perspective.

Upon graduation, she joined McCoy's full-time in the Corporate Development department with the specific goal of learning all facets of the company's headquarters operations.

At the same time, she also worked with the Texas Legislature on behalf of McCoy's to revise the Business Franchise Tax, Lien Laws and tax exemption procedures for agriculture and timber industries.

She also serves as a Trustee of LUMPAC, LAT's political action committee, and a Member of the Board of Directors for the Home Builders Association of Greater Austin.

To read the full interview, click here.

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Woman of the Week – Danielle Dy Buncio

Posted November 13, 2017 4:30 PM by lmno24

Danielle Dy Buncio is the co-founder and CEO of VIATechnik, a construction and engineering services firm working to make the construction industry better. The company works through virtual design and construction by blending global human capital with construction technologies.

Dy Buncio leads the company’s strategic growth efforts and builds and manages client relationships with architecture, engineering and construction firms around the country. Her projects have included everything from a point cloud BIM of one of the world’s largest breweries to the creation of a virtual “gaming” environment of a nuclear power plant.

Source: Linkedin

The company name is a combination of Technik, the German word for engineering and via – which came out of a brainstorming session with her husband, who works alongside her at the company.

They help designers and construction firms envision and plan for large infrastructure through 3D virtual design modeling, scheduling, and estimating. Their projects are built by the company virtually before physical ground is actually broken. It’s typically large scale projects like convention centers and large buildings. The main goal is to save money for clients because they can pinpoint potential problems in the construction process before it happens, she noted in an interview on Bootstrapping in America’s YouTube channel. The models can also be 3D printed.

“The construction industry is historically slow to adopt technology, so we’re not necessarily a brand new business, we’re taking existing technologies and helping companies implement them faster or quicker. It’s not new technology, but it’s new to the industry,” she said in the interview.

Before to founding VIATechnik, she worked for general contractors in the Bay Area, Sydney, and Chicago. As a civil engineer and a LEED accredited professional, she has extensive commercial building, heavy civil, and marine construction experience.

Dy Buncio holds a BS in Civil Engineering from Stanford University and an MBA from the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University.

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Woman of the Week – Rosa Sheng

Posted October 23, 2017 4:30 PM by lmno24

Rosa T. Sheng, is a senior associate at Bohlin Cywinski Jackson, Founder and Chairperson for Equity by Design, an AIA San Francisco committee.

She’s worked as an architect for 21 years leading many different types of projects – perhaps most notably the glass structure for one of Apple’s original high-profile stores.

She’s led “The Missing 32% Project,” a 2014 Equity in Architecture Survey and research study, which launched a national conversation for achieving equitable practice in architecture. The study examined the reasons behind the staggering drop-off rate between women in schooling for architecture and women who went on to become licensed practicing architects.

Since the group launched its key findings, Sheng has been presenting in Boston, New York, Lisbon, Atlanta, Philadelphia and Seattle. The group’s outreach for equity in architecture has received national press in Architect Magazine, Architectural Record, Wall Street Journal, TEDxPhiladelphia and KQED/NPR.

In a TEDxPhiladelphia talk, she spoke about her dream to become an architect since she was 11. She recalled a family member discouraging her, saying architects work very hard for little money and how that might complicate her never-explicit-expressed “dream” to become a mother and wife. The anger she felt after hearing these comments resurfaced again as she was working in her first job and felt the desire to leave.

She said she struggled to see her own value. It took her many years to realize that she was, in fact, worthy and could, in fact, find a work/life/family balance. She has spoken many times on her project and her own struggles.

She currently serves as Treasurer on AIA San Francisco’s Board of Directors, a member of the AIA National Equity in Architecture Commission, AIA National Diversity Council, SCUP, USGBC, and NCARB Supervisor.

See her TEDx talk here:

1 comments; last comment on 10/25/2017
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Woman of the Week – Amber Peebles

Posted October 02, 2017 4:30 PM by lmno24

Amber Peebles is President of the woman- and veteran-owned Athena Construction company, based in Virginia.

She graduated from Park University with a B.S. in Human Resource Management, holds a Masters certification in Paralegal Studies from The George Washington University, and a Project Management certification from Villanova University. She’s also a veteran of the U.S. Marine Corps. She spent time as a Platoon Commander at Parris Island, an assistant Operations Officer with 3rd FSSG, and other billets with the 1st Marine Air Wing and Officer Candidate School.

Source: Linkedin

She joined fellow Marine Melissa Schneider when she opened Athena Construction company. Both women brought significant construction experience to the table, as well as project management skills and sales experience. The company is a general contractor focusing on interior renovations with self-perform in-house subcontracting for doors frames and hardware installation.

Before joining Athena, she worked at Blank Rome LLP, where she was responsible for human resources, security, facilities management, capital improvement projects, and the day-to-day operation of a 200-person office.

Currently, her customer base is mostly government contracts. In an interview with, she noted that having a strong employee base of veterans makes this a good thing for both parties. She also often takes a military-style approach to her work.

“For us, we like hiring veterans because we have common experiences and “speak the same language.” Our job offers aren’t necessarily predicated exclusively on someone’s veteran status, but it does give us insight as to the individual’s approach to accomplishing tasks,” she said.

She’s spoken on being a woman in a male-dominated industry many times, with some particularly good insight in an interview with Construction DIVE.

“It’s not a particularly attractive industry if you don’t know a lot about it. Everybody thinks of construction as dirty — and it is — dangerous — and it is. A lot of times, you have to move. You have to go where the work is, and that’s not necessarily ideal for a lot of folks. Women have to make choices. Sometimes they have to choose between career and family, so it may not be the most attractive career. I think for the women who are in it for a career and are good at it, they really enjoy it,” she told the website. “Construction is also an incredibly risky business. Women, by their nature, typically are geared toward mitigating risk. They’re risk-averse. I’m not saying that’s a bad thing or a good thing. But construction is a really risky business.”

She noted that in order to change the face of male dominated industry, the current leaders must engage with the potential leaders of tomorrow. Mentoring is a helpful tool that we all should do more of, she said.

1 comments; last comment on 10/03/2017
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Woman of the Week – Bessie Coleman

Posted September 18, 2017 4:30 PM by lmno24

Bessie Coleman was the first African American woman to stage a public flight in America and first to hold a pilot’s license.

Born to a family of sharecroppers in Texas, she went into the cotton fields at a young age but also studied in a small segregated school and went on to attend one term of college at Langston University. She couldn’t afford any more schooling, so she went to live with her brother in Chicago. Then, Chicago was hit with one of the worst racial riots in history. Her family was not involved or harmed, but it left a certain vibe within the city.

She had developed an early interest in flying, but there were no opportunities for a young woman of color. She decided now was the time to follow her dream and escape the violence in Chicago. So, she saved up money to go to France to become a licensed pilot.

She learned to fly in a Nieuport 82 biplane with "a steering system that consisted of a vertical stick the thickness of a baseball bat in front of the pilot and a rudder bar under the pilot's feet."

On June 15, 1921, Coleman earned an aviation pilot’s license and an international aviation license from the Fédération Aéronautique Internationale. Determined to polish her skills, Coleman spent the next two months taking lessons from a French pilot and in September 1921 she sailed for New York. She became somewhat famous upon her return to the U.S.

As well as fame, Coleman was also criticized by the press for her opportunistic nature and the flamboyant style she brought to her exhibition flying. However, she also quickly gained a reputation as a skilled and daring pilot who would stop at nothing to complete a difficult stunt.

In 1923 Coleman purchased a small plane but crashed on the way to her first scheduled West Coast air show. The plane was destroyed and Coleman suffered injuries that hospitalized her for three months.

She was on a speaking tour in Florida when she met the Rev. Hezakiah Hill and his wife Viola, community activists who invited her to stay with them at the parsonage of Mount Zion Missionary Baptist Church on Washington Street in the neighborhood of Paramore. The couple took her in, like a daughter, and encouraged her to work in a beauty shop to earn money for another plane.

Her flights, personalities, and fame gave her enough pull to save for yet another plane. She also had a lifelong dream of eventually opening an aviation school.

Tragically, however, she was never able to see this happen. On an exhibition flight in 1926, she took flight with her mechanic and publicist William D. Willis. The plane – a Curtiss JN-4 (Jenny) – had been flown to Florida from Texas by Willis and needed to make three emergency landings along the way. Upon hearing this, family and friends discouraged the flight. She went regardless. They took flight and she didn’t have her safety belt on, as she had planned a parachute jump for after the flight and wanted to be able to move about and see the terrain. The plane took an unexpected dive and she was thrown from the plane and was killed instantly. Willis attempted to regain control of the plane, but it fell to the ground and he too died upon impact. The wreckage was badly burned, but it was later discovered that a wrench used to fix the engine had jammed the controls.

3 comments; last comment on 09/22/2017
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