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WofA Session at National Pavement Expo 2023: Women in the Workforce: Recruit, Retain and Promote
Thursday, January 26, 2023, 8:00 AM - 9:30 AM EST
Category: Events

WofA’s session, “Women in the Workforce: Recruit, Retain and Promote,” will take place on Thursday, January 26, 2023, from 8:30-10:00 a.m. A panel of industry leaders will address the importance of attracting qualified women and addressing the needs of women to keep them in the asphalt industry, while developing a culture of inclusivity. Key learning objectives include understanding why women are underrepresented in the industry, learning what organizations are currently doing for women in the asphalt industry, and best practices to apply in an organization’s recruitment and retaining efforts.

Panel speakers include Paul Battista, Founder and CEO of Brothers National, Latrell Cates, HR Business Partner and EEO Officer of Reeves Construction Company, Mary Katherine Harbin, VP Foothills Division of Maymead, Inc., and Ashly Rieman, Project Manager of Milestone Contractors. The session will be moderated by WofA Board Member Victoria Taffet, Corporate Social Responsibility Director of Colas USA. 

Paul Battista started building Brothers National in 1998, and has made critical decisions along the way including expanding its services offered, surviving the great recession of 2008, and expanding customer segments, which has led to the continued success of the company. In addition to the expansion of his professional networks while attending Harvard Business School’s OPM Program, Paul is significantly invested in the paving and concrete network including organizations like Women of Asphalt. Paul’s expertise has contributed to taking the small paving and concrete company from Manassas, VA, to expanding nationally by partnering with Trivest Partners, L.P. and creating the new Brothers National holding company. 

Latrell Cates graduated with a Bachelor’s in Interdisciplinary Studies with a focus on Business and Organizational Communication from USC-Upstate in Spartanburg, SC. Latrell is the HR Business Partner and EEO Officer for Reeves Construction Company, a Colas Company. She has been with the group for 17 years. Latrell sits on several committees within Reeves/Colas, including the Colas USA DEI Committee and the Women Enterprise USA Subcommittee, both focusing on building a more diverse and inclusive community at all levels of the organization. Latrell has been a proud member of WofA since 2019.

Mary Katherine has been with Maymead for 15 years, and currently serves as the company’s Vice President of the Foothills Division. During her time at Maymead, she has also served as the Assistant Area Manager, Area Manager, and EEO Officer. In 2016, in conjunction with Mitchell Community College, Mary Katherine developed the curriculum for Roadway Construction Basics—a classroom curriculum that was initially taught by herself and various Maymead managers and has been used throughout North Carolina by the Board of Workforce Development, to prepare individuals to enter the construction industry. In November 2017, Mary Katherine helped found Western Carolina Safety, LLC, to provide traffic control services for Maymead, Inc.’s highway construction projects. Since 2018, this company has been tasked with providing advanced work zone signs, highway closures, and traffic diversions on projects located throughout western North Carolina. Mary Katherine holds a Bachelor of Arts in English and Political Science from Furman University. She has found a passion for workforce development—specifically working to develop the role of women in the asphalt industry. Most notably, she started an all-women’s paving crew to help attract women into the construction trades and has become a nationally recognized speaker on the topic. Mary Katherine is an active member of the Carolina Asphalt Pavement Association Executive Committee, serving as its 2022 Vice President and 2023 President. 

Ashly Rieman graduated with a degree in Construction Engineering Management. Ashly started out interning for the Heritage Group in the asphalt mix design lab. She later transitioned to Milestone Contractors and became full time in 2018. Ashly is a Project Manager for the general construction division, and is currently working on the I-69 finish line project as the pavement coordinator. She enjoys working with every division in road construction, but holds a special place for asphalt. She advocates for those in the field any chance she gets.

Victoria Taffet graduated with a Bachelor’s in Organizational Management from Warner University in 2005 and a Master’s in Management & Leadership from Webster University in 2007. Victoria started her construction career in 2011 with Reeves Construction Company, a Colas Company, as their Continuous Improvement (CI) Manager and went on to become the Colas US CI Manager focusing on national strategic projects. Before starting with Reeves Construction Company, she was responsible for managing maintenance on Launch Pads A & B for United Space Alliance, contractor for NASA on the space shuttle program at Kennedy Space Center.  While there she earned her Lean Six Sigma Blackbelt certification and launched her career in change management and process improvement. Victoria was a founding member of the Colas Women’s Initiative to increase diversity within Colas and lead the team on creating Colas’ Mentorship Program. Victoria became a WofA Board member in March of 2022. In November of 2022, Victoria became the Director of Corporate Social Responsibility for Colas USA.