From the Field, Our Story

Lessons Learned from the 2023 Tradeswomen Build Nations Conference

At Knutson, we know it’s important for us to recognize and remedy barriers our employees encounter within the work they do, especially for disadvantaged groups who may struggle to find their place in the industry due to preconceived notions and falsities.

We also understand the importance of truly seeing our employees and celebrating their accomplishments as they venture through their own professional journeys. That’s why we want to share today that two of our own went out to Washington D.C. earlier this month to attend the largest gathering of tradeswomen in the world: the Tradeswomen Build Nations conference!



Carolyn Wood, Labor Foreman, and Edina Brown, Minneapolis Laborer, went to the event to represent both Knutson and their union, Laborers Local 563, an affiliate of Laborers’ International Union of North America based in the Twin Cities. While at the conference, attendees came together to share their experiences as women working in a traditionally male-dominated industry, share resources, connect with local and international union members, and learn from various panel discussions.

“The Tradeswomen Build Nations conference recharged my battery,” Brown said when asked about her experience. “[Now,] I can continuously be an empowered woman who empowers women in the construction industry.”

After learning more about the importance of supporting, retention, and mentorship in the industry and for tradeswomen specifically, Wood’s sentiments about the impact of attending the conference were similar.

“Walking into a room with around 4,000 women in construction gave me goosebumps,” said Wood, who was a finalist for Finance and Commerce’s 2023 Top Women in Construction award for Outstanding Craftswoman/Tradesperson. “I’ve never been in the presence of so many tradeswomen at one time in my life. Being the only person that looks [a certain way] on the job for the majority of my career has made for some difficult days. But we met and heard the stories of so many other tradeswomen, and I really felt like I was hearing my own story echoed through [them]. It showed us how powerful our efforts and stories are to others in driving change and forging a path for those who will come into the trades after us.”

Wood, who has been in the construction industry for over seventeen years and has been employed at Knutson since 2020, believes the industry is changing and is excited to continue that progress as best as she can.

“[Since joining] Knutson, my experience has changed, because I’ve had the chance to work with more women on the job,” she said. “It goes a long way to help a person feel that they truly belong.”

Knutson Construction is deeply committed to cultivating and upholding diversity throughout our workforce, relationships, and communities. We embrace individuals from all backgrounds and nationalities and are steadfast in our pursuit of a workforce that authentically represents the diverse communities we serve, as we firmly believe that this inclusive approach enables us to produce work that is truly meaningful and impactful. To learn more about our dedicated diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts, visit our Diversity page.