Bunny in the City: Women in Construction full of Savannah style
The National Association of Women in Construction celebrated a Mayoral Proclamation for NAWIC Week at Johnny Harris on March 6.
With female owners and executives leading construction companies, appliance centers, stage design and plumbing companies, I know I am in good hands when I arrive at the historic Johnny Harris restaurant.
The first person I see is curvy and gorgeous Tonya Reed, NAWIC’s director and a third generation plumbing and electrical owner who has saved my house from internal flooding three times this past year.
Tonya and her attractive husband Todd are used to interviews so they don’t mind me asking questions about last weekend’s Shriner’s Gala.
“There were over 600 Shriners and ladies at the Savannah Alee Temple to welcome new Potentate Charlie Brewer and his wife Sandi,” shares the five-year Shrine member.
With more ladies arriving, I snag Spero’s Heather Radtke for a pic with pink hardhat-wearing April Cowart; meet Laurie Belsham’s friend of 25 years Lorie Westmoreland; and meet new faces Whitney Shepard and Ashley Sebring.
Whitney tells me she is representing Society of Women Engineers and is the owner of Transport Studio, a local planning and engineering firm. Always curious about job details, I ask her to give me three examples of what she does.
“I work on everything from pedestrian and bicycle planning to traffic signals and bus planning — we were recently selected for the I-16 Ramp Removal Project for the Metropolitan Planning Commission,” shares the transportation engineer.
Her friend Ashley, who runs the Savannah office of Sebring Engineering, is wearing a gorgeous iron work necklace and recently returned from a cruise to the Bahamas with marketing genius Cari Clark Phelps.
After a quick photo session, I chat with city of Savannah civil engineer Christy Lawrence and the always-gracious Alice Jean, learn that supermodel Lashonda Robinson is working on her MBA and meet Rob and Nancy Videon of Foundation Repair Company in Rincon.
Rob shares that foundation repair means anything from basements to crawl spaces. He has been in business for 14 years and fervently proclaims, “I absolutely love my wife — she is my glue!”
Hearing this love proclamation are sexy single ladies Denise Kelly, Cynthia McKinney and Doris McCray. The close friends share with me their love of wine drinking sessions downtown, laughing and their “search for a good man like Rob!”
When I ask the ladies to tell me gossip on each other, Cynthia, the mother of six, whispers, “Doris is Mrs. Sherlock Holmes. She has to know who, what, when and where and Denise is Mrs. Face. Everything she thinks is all up front for us to see!”
After spending time with these magnificent women, I take a seat next to “unmarried” Tricia Larson and listen to how she and “single” Leigh McMillan spent last weekend “checking out dive bars, throwing darts and arm wrestling.”
Picturing the arm wrestling saga makes me giggle, and seeing Liz Thompson arriving makes me even happier! Sporting her own wine logo for “Thompson Legal Cellars,” I tease Liz on her play on words and commend her donating a percentage of her closings to different nonprofits every month.
The next lady I meet is memorable! Carolyn Stewart of ABC Waste of Savannah is tall, vivacious and proud to tell me about her family’s fourth-generation 178-acre farm in Claxton where “women are in charge and we just bought a tractor.”
Next, NAWIC’s iconic and powerful TJ Baggett presents checks to Savannah Engineering Academy and the Society for Women Engineers, reads Mayor Edna Jackson’s proclamation for NAWIC week and “encourages men to attend any of our meetings.”
After the mini introductions from each member and guest, I pull TJ over for a hug and somehow end up talking about her and Laurie’s 1999 wedding ceremony. She shares that although this ceremony wasn’t legal, the April 2013 ceremony in Washington, D.C., was. The “love of her life” Laurie simply smiles and says, “What took you so long?”
For the rest of Savannah: Don’t take too long to meet, attend or join the women who run this town. From kitchen designers, bankers and fencing experts to architects — the ladies are looking for more businesses to join their ever-expanding ranks. For me, it only proves that women really do rule the world!
Invite Bunny to your gathering, gala or other social event. Contact Bunny at 912-844-1122 or email her at [email protected].