Mentors

Please note the Mentor page and  list are being updated. Please check back as it is being repopulated.

   Our Mentors are intended to be there for questions, be that getting into the trades, or issues you run into while you are working your career.
   All volunteers have at least 8 years experience in the industry, have volunteered time mentoring prior, and many have taken mentoring training.
   They can give you a wealth of advice, but they are not attorneys, phycologists or doctors. Please give them time to respond to you as we all get overwhelmed with working, overtime, family, and life. 
   This list of Mentors is being updated and will grow over this coming year.
   They are from every trade and craft and from all over the globe.
   North America will be listed first, and the rest of the world will remain in random order until it is filled in. 
   Please scroll down the list until you find one that you connect to and that may be able to help you. 

Washington State, Seattle, IBEW, Inside Wireman, Electrician 


Michelle North 

 

I’m a native city person of Seattle, WA. I started my first career at 17 as a franchise manager. At 23 I partnered with a 3rd generation carpenter, and my mom, a real estate agent, and opened a home improvement and remodeling company. The business dissolved after 3 years largely due to the abusive relationship I was in
which also ended.
I then got a job as a lead secretary at the department of corrections. In 2004 I went through a big life change when my mother passed away from breast cancer. I took some time off of work, and decided I didn’t like office work. I applied and was accepted to the Puget Sound Electrical Apprenticeship in 2005.
I am a journey level inside wire electrician out of IBEW Local 46. I am also a union officer, county labor delegate, secretary of our chapter Frederick Simmons Electrical Workers Minority Caucus, and treasurer of Electrical Sisters United. 
I’ve been happily married for over a decade, and have a 22-year-old son, and 8-year-old daughter.
I like reading, shopping, cooking, and being an activist for labor and feminism in my city.

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Los Angeles, California

Retired, Past Vice President International Union of Operating Engineers, Local 501

Kick Ass Careers

Tradeswomen Memorial Project

Tradeswomen Archives 

 

Pat Williams

 

 

I began my career as a member of the International Union of Operating Engineers (Stationary) Local 501 in Los Angeles, as one of the first female apprentices in 1979. Prior to IUOE I earned my Bachelor's Degree of Arts in Sociology at the California State University Los Angeles in 1974 and an Associates Degree in Science from Los Angeles Trade Technical College. I served as a District Representative and Vice President of Local 501. I am a retired assistant chief engineer. In 2009-10 I contributed to the Tradeswomen's Archives with relevant papers and artifacts that document my career, technical training, and activism as a union member spanning from the eighties to the present. 

I have been an activist for tradeswomen’s groups most of my career. Partnering on Kick Ass Careers, doing youth outreach. Working with the Rosie the Riveter Park for the Tradeswomen Memorial Project coordinating with Tradeswomen on marble tiles to commemorate and memorialize tradeswomen. Maintaining the Blue Collar Tradeswomen Distribution list, sending tradeswomen information to coordinate the Los Angeles Blue Collar picnic. Collecting Tradeswomen articles, photos, stories, mementos, and documentation for the Tradeswomen Archives. 

I am active in working on the Annual Women Build Nations, Tradeswomen Inc., Sisters in the Building Trades, Pride and a Paycheck and the Tradeswomen Archives. I would be glad to help and answer questions from someone wanting to become a stationary engineer. 

 

Pride and a Paycheck 

Tradeswomen Inc. 

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Mississippi, Vancleave, Woman Owned Electrical Contractor

 

Debra Matthews

 

Owner: Matthews Electrical Consulting, LLC; ICC Master Electrician; NFPA CESCP: Certified Electrical Safety Compliance Professional; Electrical Trainer/Consultant for Shell Oil Company
Bio: Became the first female graduate from Industrial Electricity program in 1979 with a 4.0 GPA. The college celebrated my success with a newspaper article leading to a job offer from Chevron Oil Refinery. I went on to become a fully qualified I&E mechanic and cross crafted as an inside/ outside machinist to become a refinery mechanic. The opportunity came up to go back and teach the electrical program I graduated from and did that for the next 25 years. I also tested and got my contractor's license and did that on the side for 18 years. I ran an all-female crew on my jobs. Very successful part-time business! After retiring in 2011, I opened a full-time art studio and did that until 2014 when Shell offered me a consulting/training job that I couldn't refuse. I train offshore electricians and authorize them to work on equipment up to 13.8KV. I also train electricians for refineries and chemical plants. It is a rewarding job and I have the most incredible students. I'm currently serving on the NFPA team to write questions for the certification exams on the 2018 NFPA 70E. There are 12 of us on the team and I'm the only female. I am the administrator of the FB pages called Female Electricians Support Group and the associated private discussion board. I'm a willing mentor and will help any lady looking to go non-traditional. 

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E-mail Debra
228-219-1364

 

 

 

 

North Carolina, Central, Retired Journey(wo)man Ironworker - Locals 793 (ND) and 377 (San Francisco, CA)

 

Jan Jenson


 I was the FIRST woman accepted into the ironworker's apprenticeship in 1976 (when I was 32) - and until about 5 years ago, I was STILL the only woman in the ND local, which has now been merged into Local 512 in MN. I worked on 3 HUGE double-unit powerhouses and a gasification plant in ND during my apprenticeship, learning ALL phases of ironwork, and after completing my JIW with the highest score ever recorded in that local, I "boomed out" to work on a new coal mine in Montana for 6 months, then on to San Francisco for 10 years, Maui for 3 years and even worked on 5 jobs in North Carolina before I retired in 2002. 
My daughter is also a JIW out of Local 377. No ironwork in ND for a while, so Shelly has been building new base housing at an air force base.
I do some volunteer work for Habitat for Humanity (and will be doing more when it warms up) and also help "Rowan Prevent Child Abuse" in their office and doing photography and PR. I've helped my Mom publish 3 books, laid out a 60-100 page magazine for 3-1/2 years, have been a professional photojournalist since 1958.  www.vizualexplorations.smugmug.com and publish my own books on photography www.picturetrail.com/vizualexploratins, raw foods and nutrition, environmental issues and organic gardening and farming. I've also been a health coach since 1968. www.wellthychoices.net

I am available by email for women who need advice on how to handle harassment or job-related problems! 

E-mail Jan
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