Members from the City of Seattle represented PROTEC17 at the Tradeswomen Build Nations conference this fall. The annual conference, held from Oct. 28-30 this year, is put on by the North America’s Building Trades Union (NABTU), a labor organization representing more than three million skilled craft professionals in the United States and Canada. 

The conference brought a record 3,100 tradeswomen to Las Vegas – representing 48 states and 10 Canadian provinces – to share experiences and best practices, learn about new programs and opportunities in the industry, and engage with leaders from government, industry, and different trades unions. 

The three-day event featured plenary sessions, workshops, and a banner parade on the Las Vegas strip. Workshops addressed a range of topics that are unique and critical for tradeswomen in the workforce. 

The four PROTEC17 members who attended the event – Saada Brown, Michelle Minto, Lauren Salter, and Liana Woo – are Electrical Service Representatives at Seattle City Light. They found the workshops and the banner parade to be very inspiring. 

“It was energizing to be at the largest conference in the construction trades industry, and to be surrounded by so many accomplished women, many of whom had to overcome many barriers to be where they are today,” said Woo, who works with commercial customers on utility projects that involve changes to their electrical service. 

“We were surrounded by trailblazers in the industry who fought for the rights that we have now,” she continued. “They were able to accomplish what they did with the support of strong unions and other members alongside them – not just other women, but men and other allies in the union and community.” 

As for the parade, Woo said: “It was an awesome sight to look behind you and see the wave of others in the parade route stretch down the whole street with banners and posters supporting the trades unions, and chanting in support of women, the trades, and unions!” 

One of the speakers at the conference included NABTU President Sean McGarvey who said: 

“Trailblazing tradeswomen among our ranks are leading the future of our industry, and NABTU is committed to empowering them as we increase opportunities for and retention rates of women in unionized trade careers. Every day, inspiring tradeswomen advance and recruit more women into the family-sustaining unionized construction careers our affiliates provide. This conference is a celebration of these sisters and a testament to the growth of tradeswomen in our ranks.” 

NABTU is dedicated to creating economic security and employment opportunities for its construction workers. You can learn more about NABTU at