NAWIC 194 Highlights

April Job Site Tour of The Venue Towers

We took a guided tour of the Venue Tower Apartments, we have visited this job site previously-when foundations were being poured, then after all concrete and steel work was completed, now we were able to see finish work in the Apartment Towers.

The apartments were in various stages of work.  We seen everything from bare studs and electrical work to a finished display unit waiting for furniture.

The weather was even nice enough to enjoy the views of downtown from a few of the finished balconies.

March Membership Meeting-Speed Networking & Rob Pocock from Varnum Consulting

Rob Pocock with Varnum Consulting  presented a very informative lesson on networking.  The impact of your networking skills can help build mutually beneficial relationships.  After learning many tips and lessons from Mr. Pocock, we put our new skills to work during our Speed Networking Event.


Women In Construction Luncheon

Thank you for making NAWIC Grand Rapids’ Women in Construction Luncheon a great success!  We had a record setting 96 guests attend this year.Our guest speaker, Mayor Rosalynn Bliss, delivered a very encouraging presentation.  I hope that everyone is inspired to become active or stay active in our community.  Our voices cannot be heard if we do not speak.  Our ideas and suggestions are valid and valuable!

Thank you to our event sponsors!



Thank you to our Annual sponsors!







February Volunteering Event with Family Promise

Our Chapter had the opportunity to come together for our community and get our hands dirty! We had a great time volunteering at Family Promise yesterday! After all the hard work, we gathered at Perrin Brewing for dinner and socializing. Thank you to everyone who was able to join us!



Block Kids Event

Block Kids 2017 was a success!

We had 51 5th grade students participate this year. Thanks to our generous sponsors all of the kids received a Block Kids T-shirt, a Hard Hat and a gift bag. Our winners received a Lego Creator Set, a Barnes and Nobel Gift card and a Lego Mini-fig.

When the kids finished judging, they had fun at a mini photo booth with construction and Lego Themed props. We also had a marshmallow creation station!

Thank you to all of our sponsors:
Soils & Structures
Construction Workforce Development Alliance
Paradigm Design
GZA GeoEnvironmental Inc
John Walsh
Bill Hohmeyer
& an Anonymous donor!

Thank you to all of our volunteers, teachers and our photographer Photography By RaeJean! All of your efforts are greatly appreciated


January Networking Breakfast


Several ladies joined together at Anna’s house on the morning of January 12 for coffee, breakfast and networking. Looking forward to seeing more smiling faces at our next networking event!


December Meeting – Holiday Giving Event, supporting “Family Promise

This month we gathered at Bouma Corporation offices to celebrate the holiday season and support a great cause.

We had a chance to hear from the ladies at Family Promise, a local ministry that supports families in the Greater Grand Rapids area by supporting their transition into home ownership. Every year Family Promise purchases and rehabs mobile homes and places families in these homes. Through donations they also provide the basic supplies all homes require. This year our chapter was able to collect some of those supplies and at our meeting we put together baskets of laundry, cleaning, closet and other miscellaneous supplies like power cords, tool kits, flashlights, etc. All of these supplies will be placed in a rehab’d home and will help a new family care for their new home a bit easier.

Thank you to all who donated and showed up to help! Also, thank you to Bouma for providing a great meal for all of our attendees.

Happy Holidays!

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November Membership Meeting -“Workforce Development” with Jen Schottke, ABC Western Michigan

Thank you to Jen Schottke, Director of Workforce Development and External Affairs with ABC Western Michigan for speaking at our monthly membership meeting. She discussed how ABC is working to recruit, train and retain the next generation of construction professionals into the commercial construction industry. She shared with us ideas each of our companies can use to ensure a company culture ready for the next generation. It was a refreshing perspective on an age old question: how do we improve our work force?

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October Membership Meeting – The Venue/Venue Tower Jobsite Tour

Thank you to Jacōbus Mass with Orion Construction and Lacey Jansma with  Kent Companies for taking us on a tour of The Venue and Venue Tower projects.  The Venue will be a new entertainment complex, including an indoor amphitheater space.  The adjacent Venue Tower will include several Micro-Loft style apartments for Urban style living.  The project features a variety of construction materials and techniques.  The most abundant is the cast-in-place concrete that makes up a majority of the main structure.  There are also structural steel members, most notably  of which are the exposed beams supporting the upper seating area of the amphitheater.  The roof of The Venue amphitheater is a “living roof” system.  In addition to the environmental benefits of this type of roof, they are also using it to keep sound inside the theater space.   The project is schedule to be completed in the Spring of 2017, in which time we hope to be able to return to see the project fully completed.  This would bring our Spring 2016 job site tour and our Fall 2016 job site tour in full circle.


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September Membership Meeting – Breaking the Sound Barrier: How to Say What You Mean and Mean What You Say with Leslie Charles

Thank you to C. Leslie Charles for her always entertaining and informative lectures on “Breaking the Sound Barrier: How to Say What You Mean and Mean What You Say”. What people say—and how they say it—reveals a lot about their character and their intention. It would be a wonderful world if everyone communicated clearly, competently, and courteously but that doesn’t always happen. Here’s something to keep in mind: the person who controls the language controls the situation. Learn some secrets of effective communication and common pitfalls to avoid so you can be more effective in reading other people, stating your case, getting on their wave length, and gently correcting or altering their perceptions. This informative and practical session can make a difference in not only what you say, but how you say it, and when.

Leslie Charles is an award-winning speaker and nationally acclaimed author of seven books who has been educating and entertaining audiences for three decades. A popular speaker with professional women’s groups, Leslie offers “how to” information with enthusiasm and expertise. As a professional communicator she has honed her skills in self-expression and delights in sharing skills, stories, and samplings of how to get your point across with clarity, dignity, and wit.

Leslie was also the key note speaker at the WIC Week Luncheon


2016- Grand Rapids Chapter 194 Hosts Statewide Meeting- August 5th

We had the opportunity to host the Statewide meeting at The Mitten Brewing Co. followed by a breakfast the next morning. Fred Buetlmann from New Holland Brewery joined us for his presentation on “What’s Brewing in Grand Rapids.” The night also included dinner, entertainment, and networking.


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2016 NAWIC Golf Classic- June 17th

Our 2016 NAWIC Golf Classic on June 17th at English Hills Country Club was a success! Proceeds from the event benefited the NAWIC Grand Rapids scholarship fund which provides education to young students in the construction industry.

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June Membership Meeting: Dana Samardzich // Diving Deeper

Dana Samardzich is a life coach who specializes in working with professional women to help them achieve work/life balance using mindfulness.

Dana spoke on Diving Deeper – Setting and Achieving Goals while Finding meaning in your work. Thank you, Bouma Corporation, for hosting!



May Membership Meeting: Tammy Clark // Safety Culture

Tammy Clark presented some great information on construction industry safety.  We also presented our CAD competition winners with their awards-Josh and Ashley are both great students, ready to take on college next year!



North Central Regional Forum

Indianapolis, Indiana.  We had 9 members attend including:  Leslie Nelson, Lacey Jansma, Laurel Weber, Sarah Vlasblom, Hailey Savola, Carrie Jones, Char Terpmsa, Tammy Clark, and Jamie Sikkema.


April Membership Meeting: Jobsite Tour at ‘The Venue’

We had a great tour of The Venue in downtown Grand Rapids.  Thanks to Kent Companies for providing a tour of the job site!


March Membership Meeting

Chapter 194 gathered at Bouma for a few rounds of  speed networking.










WIC Week Luncheon- March 

This year’s WIC Week Luncheon was hosted at the David D. Hunting YMCA, downtown Grand Rapids. Our speaker, Leslie Charles, presented on Life is Not a Duress Rehearsal. Over 70 women from the construction industry joined us!

A huge thanks to our sponsors: BeeneGarter, Marshall & Wells Co., Pleune Service Co., and Rockford Construction.

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February Membership Meeting- Volunteering at Kids’ Food Basket

Several members joined with local volunteers to prepare lunches for Grand Rapids area students that participate with Kids’ Food Basket.  Every day 1 in 5 children face hunger.  Kids’ Food Basket is combatting that number by providing nutritionally balanced meals to nearly 6,000 Grand Rapids children daily.

When children experience a lack of nutrition they can experience limited cognitive development.  This can cause problems at school and home with concentration.  Through the programs at Kids’ Food Basket children are able to receive a sack supper to fill the nutritional gaps that schools and parents often can’t afford.

Volunteers helped prepare serval thousand sandwiches and meat rolls to be served this week.  Check out for more volunteer opportunities.  In addition to the Grand Rapids area they serve Muskegon and Holland areas.  Other ways to help Kids’ Food Basket are to host a fundraiser or wish list drive, volunteer as a driver to deliver sack suppers to local area schools, or connect and share Kids’ Food Basket on Facebook and Twitter.


January Membership Meeting- Women in Construction Panel

We gathered at Feyen Zylstra for a Women in Construction panel discussion. Our panelists were Tammy Sweeris, a long time NAWIC member and the VP of Construction and Facilities with Highmark Development, and Rita Brown, the Past Immediate President of Detroit Chapter 193 and President at BCC+.


Chapter 194 – December Meeting- Ringing in the Holidays!

This holiday season, Our NAWIC chapter had the important opportunity to spread a little Christmas joy and sponsor a family during the Season of Giving.

Every year, Bethany Christian Services elects several needy families for sponsorship during the Christmas season. These families are often struggling to make ends meet and the thought of being able to provide any presents for Christmas is unimaginable. This year we sponsored a family of five, a single mom who is in school full time and caring for her four children, two of which have special needs. Through the generosity of our members and supporting companies, we were able to meet this family’s needs and provide them with presents for under the tree. In total we were able to collect $1050! Thank you to all those who participated, allowing us to accomplish this great feat!

During last week’s meeting on December 9th, we celebrated the season by wrapping all the gifts that were purchased for the family while we enjoyed a meal, graciously provided by Bouma. We also discussed our upcoming meetings for the start of the new year. Our first meeting will be a Panel Discussion – Women in Construction on January 13th at Feyen Zylstra, 6:00PM. We will also be holding a networking lunch on January 20th at Cinco De Mayo, Noon. Keep an eye out for emails with more information.

Our wish is that everyone has a safe and happy holiday season! Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

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NAWIC North Central Region Annual Planning Conference, “Tap Into NAWIC” November 6-7, 2015 – Kalamazoo, MI

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NAWIC Chapter 194 Block Kids Competition October 5, 2015

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NAWIC Chapter 194 Membership Meeting September 2015 – Body Language Do’s & Dont’s

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NAWIC Statewide Meeting August 19, 2015 – MIX, MEET + CONNECT

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NAWIC Chapter 194 Membership Meeting May 2015 – Negotiation Skills and CAD Competition Winners


NAWIC Chapter 194 Membership Meeting April 2015 – Jobsite Tour at Ridges of Cascade


NAWIC Chapter 194 Membership Meeting March 2015 – Speed Networking & Installation of three new members


NAWIC Chapter 194 WIC Week Luncheon – March 4, 2014


NAWIC Chapter 194 Membership Meeting – Holiday Giving December 2014


NAWIC Joint Chapter Meeting November 2014 – Lansing, MI

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NAWIC Chapter 194 Membership Meeting and Jobsite Tour October 2014 – Hampton Inn

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NAWIC Chapter 194 Membership Meeting September 2014 – Installation of new officers

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NAWIC Chapter 194 Membership Meeting May 2014


NAWIC Region 4 Forum May 2014 – Columbus, OH


NAWIC Chapter 194 Membership Meeting April 2014 – Tour of Founders Brewing Company

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NAWIC Chapter 194 Booth at Blue Book Expo April 2014

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NAWIC Chapter 194 Membership Meeting March 2014 – The Dynamics Between Men and Women in the Construction Industry

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NAWIC Chapter 194 WIC Week Luncheon March 2014


NAWIC Chapter 194 Membership Meeting & Holiday Party December 2013 – Tour at the Downtown Market

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NAWIC Chapter 194 Women’s Build for Habitat for Humanity March 2013


NAWIC Chapter 194 Volunteer Day at God’s Kitchen December 2012


NAWIC Chapter 194 Women’s Building for Habitat for Humanity May 2012


NAWIC Chapter 194 Women’s Build for Habitat for Humanity March 2012

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Past Newsletters:

August 2015

July 2015

June 2015

March 2015

February 2015

January 2015

December 2014

November 2014

October 2014

September 2014

August 2014