The Richmond, Virginia Chapter 141 was created on May 27, 1967 at The Jefferson Hotel with 40 charter members. This chapter was established largely due to the efforts of Margaret Watkins, now deceased, of the Richmond Builders’ Exchange. Eva Poling was the installing National Officer, and her chapter, Greater Washington, DC Chapter #67, in Region One, was our sponsoring Chapter. Chapter 141 was incorporated in 1969 as a nonprofit corporation. The Richmond Chapter celebrated its 50th Anniversary on April 28, 2017 at The Jefferson – back where it all began.
The Richmond, Virginia Chapter is a part of the South Atlantic Region (formerly known as Region 11). The South Atlantic Region encompasses Western and Central Virginia (Roanoke Valley, Richmond, and Greater Tidewater), North Carolina (Durham, Raleigh, Piedmont, Charlotte, Asheville, Fayetteville, Greater Greenville), and South Carolina (Greenville, Columbia, and Palmetto Chapter). The Richmond Chapter is one of the largest chapters in our Region. The Richmond Chapter currently meets at the Jefferson Lakeside Country Club on the 3rd Tuesday of each month.
We can’t talk about our history as a Chapter without including our founding principles handed down from NAWIC National. We are proud to be members of such a great organization and dynamic group of women.
The Richmond Chapter has chartered 3 other chapters in Virginia. Under the leadership of one of our past Charter Members, Augusta Nash, the Roanoke Valley and Tri-City Petersburg Chapters were established. Susan States was instrumental in chartering the Manassas-Bull Run, Virginia Chapter on January 27, 1990. Susan worked with women in the Fredericksburg and Charlottesville areas that were trying to establish new NAWIC Chapters in 2004-2005. Former member, Cynthia McGee, continued the process in Charlottesville for the 2005-2006 NAWIC year. These other chapters have since relinquished their charter with the exception of the Roanoke Valley Chapter which is still active today.
The first Regional Annual Planning Conference (APC) was held in Durham, NC in 1968. Now referred to as “Fall Conference,” our chapter has hosted five: 1970, 1981, 1988, 2006 and 2016. We hosted the 2018 Fall Conference jointly with the Greater Tidewater Chapter, in Williamsburg, Virginia.
The first Regional Annual Spring Forum was hosted by the Greater Tidewater Chapter in 1969. Our first, in 1972, was coordinated by Thelma (Bolton) Chandler, our attending Charter Member, who was twice a President of Chapter #141. Our Chapter has hosted 5 Annual Spring Forums to date: 1972, 1977, 1993, 2002, and 2011. We will be hosting the 2020 Spring Forum in Staunton, Virginia jointly with the Roanoke Valley Chapter.
The Chapter’s first Region Director was Thelma Chandler. She served as Director from 1974-76. Judee Lane, CIT also served as a Region Director from 2005-2007. Judee served as Chapter President from 2003-2005 and was a member of NAWIC since 1997. Sadly, Judee passed on February 8, 2017. Our Chapter was, once again, honored to have the 3rd NAWIC South Atlantic Region Director – Lorie Ann Lythgoe. Lorie served as Chapter President from 2014-2015 and has been a member of NAWIC since 2009.
From the Region: Darlene Johnson of the Raleigh, NC Chapter; Margaret Eure of the Greater Tidewater, VA Chapter; and Carol Chapman of the Charlotte, NC Chapter all served as Past NAWIC National Presidents; Dove Sifers-Putman of the Charlotte Chapter has also served on the National level as Secretary and served as the 2016-2017 Vice President. Dove is currently the 2018-2019 National President.
NEF Certifications: The Richmond Chapter, in the past, has sponsored and conducted Introduction to Construction Courses with people from all walks of life registering. Barbara McDonald was our guiding light in this undertaking. Arlene Paulette, one of our past members, was chosen to critique the CCA textbook before it was published for our membership. Not only did she do an exemplary job for the North Louisiana State University editors (along with other hand-picked members nationwide), but became the first member of our chapter to have been awarded the Certified Construction Associate Certificate (CCA). Currently we have 2 members who have achieved all certifications (CCA, CDS, CBT, CIT) – Chrissie Slater and Ann Vass. A new certification was recently introduced for our members. The Construction Industry Specialist (CIS) certification is now available.
The accomplishments of our members are constantly increasing. Many of our members have served on committees at the Regional and National levels. At the 2013 Annual Meeting & Education Conference (AMEC) held in Seattle, our own Amanda Jenkins won the National Award for Rookie of the Year for her outstanding volunteerism to enhance our Chapter, she is also on the National “Young Professionals Advisory Committee (YPAC).
The Richmond Chapter participates in WIC Week each year, which is a learning experience for all our members. During this week, which is the first week in March, our Chapter plans construction-related programs, community service activities, membership drives, and socials. Construction-related programs, education and service are the key objectives for the association’s projects.
We have given out many scholarships throughout the years. The funds for these scholarships are obtained from earnings at our Annual Golf Tournament, which is held each year on the first Thursday in May. Over the years, the Scholarship Committee has grown to the current scholarship program increasing the quantity and amount given. Special scholarships are awarded each year in memory of two former members – Judy Grigg, and Betty Morris. A new memorial scholarship was formed in 2017 after the passing of Judee Lane on February 8.
The annual golf tournament tradition began in 1979, and thus far, we have successfully continued the tradition every year since. The very first tournament was staged by Betty Morris and Wanda Davis. In recent years, our golf tournaments have continued to be successful by many chairpersons – and have surpassed the fundraising goals each time. This committee is referred to as “Ways & Means.”
A HUGE part of the reason for the Golf Tournament’s success in recent years cannot be overlooked. For many years in the past, we had the exclusive services of our own catering team of Elsie and Emmett Gray, along with the help of our – then Food Committee. Elsie passed away in 2014 – she is surely missed along with her dedication over the years. Our current Golf Tournaments have a catered vendor perform the food tasks for us – but we still do bring our own wonderful desserts.
Our progress has not stopped with just scholarships – In 1991-92, we had a National winner of the Block Kids competition – Jason Deane of Chesterfield County. This competition takes place at the elementary school level and encourages young students to use their imaginations to build their project using 100 Lego blocks, a piece of aluminum foil, a string, a rock, and a piece of cardboard. Their project is then judged by Chapter members with 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place winners. The 1st place winner is then sent to the Region level. We had the pleasure of having a Regional 1st place winner in 2015 – Zachary Verdi with Mary Munford Elementary School. The Regional Winner is presented at National for further judging.
We also have a Building Design competition which is conducted at the Middle School Level. The students are given either a garden shed or house project. They build a 3-D model based on special criteria and specifications. Several members of our Chapter are recognized for the success of this program – Susan States, Mary Ann Petry, and former members Ashley Hines and Becky Hansell. They all worked diligently to improve the program, originally provided by NAWIC National, by upgrading information, providing realistic budget allowances, increasing allowable square footage, and recommending and providing good reference sources, basic tools and materials to start the project. This project, even though it is no longer recognized within the Region or National levels, is a huge success for our Chapter and Henrico County Public Schools – which they have now made it a requirement for those schools utilizing the Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) program – thanks to Wendy McQuiggan and Amanda Jenkins for their effort in keeping this competition acknowledged. Other middle schools also compete, such as Hanover, Goochland and Chesterfield Counties. Our chapter has received, on the recommendation of Henrico County, an award from the Commonwealth of Virginia, Department of Education, Excellence in Career and Technical Education for our Building Design program.
At the High School and College levels, our Chapter also has a Design Drafting competition (formerly known as CAD Drafting). Students are given a storyline to form a team to produce plans and specifications in accommodating a family. This competition is also awarded at the chapter, region, and national levels. Josh Arthur of Cosby High School won the CAD Drafting competition in 2011 and went on to the regional level to win there as well. In 2015-2016, our CAD Drafting submission was also awarded 1st Place at the Regional level by Madeleine Henry of L. C. Bird High School.
Our Chapter contributes to various civic projects such as the VCU Hospital The Doorways, Yeshua House, Chesterfield GEMS (Girls in Engineering, Mathematics & Science), the Virginia Skills USA competition, and has participated in the past on VTCC Accessible Playground Project, Christmas in April, Habitat for Humanity, the Girl Scouts, Thrive!Moms, the Roc Solid Foundation, and other community organizations.
The Richmond, Virginia Chapter 141 has endeavored to maintain and project a professional business image throughout its history. We have tried to reach out to those organizations involved in and with the construction industry in order to promote our ideals and influence the industry by providing educational awareness. We have participated in many of the CSI shows over the past 3 decades. We have judged both the masonry and carpentry contests at the State Fair of Virginia for US Skills.
Our Chapter has grown from what was previously called “Bosses’ Night Annual Gala Celebration, which actually began in 1967. This event is now referred to as Industry Appreciation Night. We take this opportunity to invite our members, bosses, and guests from within the industry, to showcase our scholarship winners, Block Kids winners, Building-Design winners, and CAD Drafting winners. The students, parents and teachers also are welcome to this event. We display and report on our various civic projects, and NAWIC activities throughout the year. The event entails a special dinner, entertainment, and awards during the evening. As part of the Special Events committee, an IAN committee does a lot of hard work to ensure this evening is enjoyed by all.
As NAWIC Richmond, Virginia Chapter members, we also have membership in the Richmond Women’s Business Consortium (RWBC). This organization of 10 different women’s groups allow us to share networking opportunities, gain the potential for new NAWIC members, is a source for speakers and broadens awareness of NAWIC.
We are constantly moving forward with the Strategic Planning Committee’s recommendations for an ever successful NAWIC Chapter 141. We have more active members than ever before –other chapters look to us for direction with our success. Our talents and wisdom have grown throughout the years. We continue that growth as active NAWIC members. We advise new members to use all the tools available to learn – and encourage them to reach out to our elite members for guidance and direction – to learn more about this association. Our roster contains information needed such as calendar of events, list of standing committees, as well as special committees. Information on officers – past and present, member protocol, rules, other chapters in the Region and NAWIC facts can be found in the roster.
We encourage new members to read all newsletters, attend Conferences, share ideas, serve on committees, and participate in NAWIC programs. This is a great organization and we want you to “Become a part of the Chapter’s History.”