The Fourth Annual Chix Dig It — Celebrating Women in Construction luncheon, presented by title sponsor SAS, was held on June 20, 2019, at Prestonwood Country Club in Cary, N.C. This much anticipated event drew over 200 attendees – a combination of women and men representing a wide variety of organizations with ties to the architecture, engineering and construction industry. Chix Dig It exists to attract the best and brightest women to the architectural, design and construction field – professional and craft.
The luncheon program was moderated by Adrienne Cole, President and CEO of the Greater Raleigh Chamber of Commerce. Themed “Men as Allies: Breaking Barriers and Leading the Way,” the program featured three panelists: David Park, Senior Vice President of Corporate Real Estate and Facilities Construction for Novant Health; Bobby Lewis, Chief Operating Officer of the N.C. Department of Transportation (NCDOT); and Rufus Jackson, Vice President of Delivery Operations – Carolinas East for Duke Energy.
Three special awards were presented to women who have helped pave the way for the next generation of women in the AEC industry. Sepi Saidi was honored with the Chix Dig It Trailblazer Award. Saidi is a visionary leader who founded SEPI Engineering & Construction, Inc. (SEPI, Inc.) in 2001 and has led the company to become a premier, full-service consultancy firm offering concept to completion services, technical solutions, and inspired design for the built environment. With more than 350 employees, SEPI is an ENR Top 500 ranked firm and has earned eight consecutive Zweig Group Hot Firm List Awards with $39.3 million in revenue in 2018.
Beth Sayman received The Warrior Award. A 30-year veteran in commercial construction management, Sayman is a project executive for Skanska USA in the North Carolina/Virginia region. In her current role, Sayman has overseen more than $260 million in high profile projects which include the new engineering building currently under construction at Duke University. Her service in various professional and community organizations includes the ACE-Girls in the Field Committee which exposes girls to career fields in architecture, engineering and construction.
April Larkins was presented the Emerging Leader Award. Larkins is a Senior Project Manager with The Christman Company. After studying civil engineering at Michigan State University, she began her career in commercial construction in Michigan. She joined The Christman Company’s Greensboro, N.C. office in 2015. She volunteers her time mentoring young engineers and is very passionate about the development of our future builders, designers and engineers.
Proceeds from the annual Chix Dig It luncheon provide scholarships to young women who are pursuing a career in the AEC industry. Past Chix Dig It scholarship recipients include North Carolina State University and North Carolina A&T University. Chix Dig It founder Patricia Lucas Smith noted that the 2019 Chix Dig It scholarship will be awarded to Wake Technical Community College and The Vernon Malone College and Career Academy (CCA). Wake County’s first Career and Technical Education (CTE) High School is located in the former Coca-Cola plant on South Wilmington Street in Raleigh. The Vernon Malone College and Career Academy is a collaborative endeavor between the Wake County Public School System, Wake Technical Community College and Wake County Government. Students at Vernon Malone CCA will be able to complete studies in one of the seven CTE programs as part of their high school graduation credits.
To learn more about Chix Dig It, visit www.serving4success.org. For future sponsorship opportunities, or related information, please contact Patricia Lucas Smith at firstname.lastname@example.org or 919.669.1208.