Business Icon Angie Simon Paves the Manner for Ladies within the Sheet Steel Business

Business Icon Angie Simon Paves the Manner for Ladies within the Sheet Steel Business

Angie Simon will get amusing from family and friends every time she tells folks she retired from Western Allied Mechanical in Union Metropolis, California. In spite of everything, the previous president of Western Allied and previous president of SMACNA — the place she was the primary feminine president — nearly appears busier now than ever earlier than. 

Her subsequent chapter started when she was nonetheless working at Western Allied, and as we speak, she’s fostering the following era of sheet metallic and mechanical trade employees by means of the non-profit Heavy Steel Summer season Expertise, which she co-founded in 2021. 

“I used to be at Western Allied and on the similar time I used to be nationwide president and COVID hit, and I used to be speaking to my associate about his son who was scuffling with faculty slightly bit,” Simon says. “He was excellent together with his arms and liked the humanities class he had taken on welding, and so my associate was capable of arrange our outlets to show welding in the summertime after faculty and after work was accomplished.” 

Her enterprise associate stated it could be nice if they may educate different children in regards to the trades, an thought clicked in Simon’s head. Along with Rick Hermanson, Simon fashioned a committee to design the summer time camps and Heavy Steel Summer season Expertise was born. What began with two camps has grown exponentially and is anticipated to proceed its progress within the years forward. 

“This previous summer time in ’23, we had 21 camps throughout the USA and one in Canada, and we had 325 children, and I feel one factor that exhibits how nice the camps have been is that each one 21 hosts are working camps once more this upcoming summer time. All of them love doing it. It means quite a bit to their staff. However we’re additionally seeing nice numbers — we’re averaging nearly 30% ladies and about 50 to 60% minorities. However on high of that we’re seeing a good variety of the youngsters very within the trades.”

Elevating consciousness and sparking curiosity within the commerce trade is a precedence for Simon, who strives to create a extra numerous workforce. 

The way it began

In 1986, Simon graduated from California Polytechnic State College in San Luis Obispo with a level in mechanical engineering. She took a job at a small mechanical contractor and a 12 months later, she began her job at Western Allied the place she would proceed to work for 35 years. 

Simon turned associate in 1996, president in 2008 (she was additionally the president for the Bay Space SMACNA that very same 12 months) and CEO in 2019. That longevity was not unusual for workers at Western Allied, Simon says. 

“It is superb how long-term our staff have been. All our younger companions all just about began their profession at Western Allied, they usually’ve all been there like 20 years now at the least,” Simon says. “We now have discipline union personnel that began their apprenticeship with us after which they retired with us. One of many focuses we have had, significantly from the time I turned president, was actually targeted on tradition and the folks. It’s actually the folks that make the corporate,” she says. 

Every month, Simon would host one-on-one conferences with the following era of companions to reply any questions and discuss totally different issues that would come up. These conferences impressed two companions to begin their very own mentoring and mushy expertise program for mission managers. 

SMACNA and the following era

It’s no secret that the trade is male dominated. When Simon joined SMACNA’s nationwide board in 2008, she found that she was the primary feminine in 65 years.

“That was a watch opener for me,” she says. “I do not actually assume I assumed a lot about me being a girl and being totally different within the trade, primarily as a result of I bought fortunate Western Allied was very inclusive.”

Western Allied has at all times had numerous companions and staff and the corporate has attracted ladies due to it. Every summer time, Simon says Western Allied brings in 6-10 interns they usually at all times obtained quite a lot of feminine candidates for his or her internship program.

Variety apart, Simon targeted on constructing group camaraderie — and that began early on in her profession.

“My very first 5 years I used to be at Western Allied, I realized extra from the sector of us than I did anyone else. And sure, they have been all guys just about, however I additionally got here in to work as a younger engineer, not with a cocky perspective that among the man engineers got here in with,” Simon says. “I instructed my foreman, ‘Pay attention, I do know you guys know what you are doing. You have been doing it eternally. You are nice at it. We’re a group, so simply inform me what you want, and I am going to get it for you. However you’ve bought to vow me if I care for you, you’ll educate me,’ and I feel that perspective helped quite a bit.”

Fostering the long run

As Simon continues her work with the Heavy Steel Summer season Expertise, it’s clear she has no plans of slowing down.  

“Our objective is to attempt to make it a full MEP trades — that means that sheet metallic, plumbing, piping and electrical. For instance, Western Allied, Silicon Valley Mechanical and Hermanson Firm all ran {an electrical} part of their camp this previous summer time,” Simon says. “So, we have added that into the plumbing, piping and sheet metallic. I feel subsequent summer time we’ll be over 40 areas and hopefully three or 4 in Canada which is able to put us upwards of 600 children.”

Now in her third 12 months of “retirement,” Simon is not only serving to Heavy Steel, both. She teaches strategic planning for companies, is the vice chair of New Horizons, facilitating Peer teams and continues to be closely concerned in SMACNA. 

It’s protected to say that she is going to proceed to have a significant impression on the trade and ladies within the trade. 

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