Meet our Leadership

NAWIC Buffalo Niagara

2021-2022 

Board of Directors 

Chapter President:  Jillian Penkin (RD Weis Flooring) 

Jillian has been in the industry for about 12 years.  She is currently and account executive with RD Weis, a commercial flooring contractor. 

She has served NAWIC for about 10 years, first in Rochester and now proudly in Buffalo.  Jillian also served on the board of the Women's Foundation of Genesee Valley and Women's Council, specifically the Young Women of Distinction committee. 

Jillian is the founder and backbone of the NAWIC Buffalo Niagara chapter and is proudly serving her second term as President.  

Jillian participates in all committees. 

Vice President: Jen Burton (Oaks Dumpster Rental)

Jen is the General Manager for Oaks Dumpster Rental for the past 3+ years, which is a quickly growing roll-off dumpster provider in NY and PA. Prior to this position, she was a Sales Manager for a large corporation in the travel industry for 20 years.    

Jen currently serves as Vice Chair for Aspire of WNY.  Aspire is an organization that works with children and adults with developmental disabilities that helps them realize their full potential and live as independently as possible.   She has humbly served this board for over 9 years, and is honored to help support the amazing people and families that rely on Aspire. 

In addition, she is a Girl Scout co-leader to 8 glorious, spunky 13-14 year old tweens!

She previously served as VP of Buffalo Executives Association. 

Jen serves on the Events, Sponsorship and Marketing committee. 

Recording Secretary: Lynsey Ross (Christa Construction)

Lynsey has been a part of the construction world for going on 7 years! She started as an Administrative Assistant for Christa Construction and has since been promoted to a Compliance Manager, handling all of the MWBE, SDVOB and Section 3 reporting for the various funding entities on a number of projects. 

She is also currently learning the skills and responsibilities that go with becoming an Assistance Project Manager and hopes to one day become a Project Manager herself.

Lynsey is currently serving her second year as Recording Secretary for the NAWIC Buffalo-Niagara chapter and is part of the Diversity Committee, which deals with workforce and MWBE education and the Events committee. 

Corresponding Secretary: Kristie Gerace (Construction Exchange-"CONEX")

Kristie oversees the CONEX online plan room operations and is responsible for building and maintaining relationships with architects, developers, owners, and government/municipalities to distribute project information to CONEX members. 

Kristie is also a liaison for Building WNY Magazine.

Kristie serves on the Board of Directors for Beam Buffalo (Buffalo Engineering Awareness for Minorities), is an Allied Member of the AIA (American Institute of Architects), sits as Co-Chair on the AIA Diversity Committee, is a member of APWA (American Public Works Association) and is an active member of the DAC (Development Advisory Council) through the Buffalo Niagara Partnership. 

This is Kristie's' second year as Corresponding Secretary of the NAWIC Buffalo Niagara board.  

Treasurer: Kelley Brewer (Kerr Industries) 

Kelley has been in the construction industry for just over 4 years now.  She started as an office manager for Kerr Industries and quickly moved up to estimator, project manager and steel detailer.   Kelley was thrilled to learn after a few year in the industry that she was following in her grandfathers footsteps, as we was an Ironworker in Buffalo in the '70's.

Kelley graduated as a certified drafter out of high school and is thrilled to be using that knowledge in her career now.  

This is Kelley's second year of service to the board and as treasurer.  She serves as Chair of the Finance Committee as well. 

Director: Megan Kreher (RP Oak Hill) 

Membership Chair

Megan has worked in the construction industry for 4 ½ years.  She started as an intern at RP Oak Hill while in college, and was hired full time as an Assistant Project Manager after graduating, and finally promoted to Project Manager last year. She also helps in the estimating department. In addition to her daily duties, she also has been on RP Oak Hills Safety Committee for the past 4 years. 

Megan is serving her second term on the Board and has works diligently as our Membership Chair.  

Director: Madalyn Murphy (Campus Construction) 

Madalyn has been in the construction industry for 7 years.  She is a Project Manager for Campus Construction Management Group; an employee-owned firm who specializes in education facility construction management throughout Western New York.  As a Project Manager, Madalyn manages the flow of communication between owner, design team, and contractors, while reporting on schedule and budget through all phases of construction.

This is Madalyn's second year serving the NAWIC Buffalo Niagara Board.

She currently sits on marketing, events and (future) scholarship committees for the chapter. 

Director: Michelle Gerace (J.W. Danforth)

Michelle has been in the Industry for more than 25 years. She has extensive experience in many facets of the construction industry having started in the field and continuing her career in various Leadership capacities. Michelle had key roles in both local and global companies that focused on construction, electrical utility, controls, contracting and electrical/mechanical service. She was on the leadership team for a large global company managing field technicians, engineers and service teams. Michelle currently works for JW Danforth. At Danforth, she now coaches the regional service sales & operations teams in the plumbing, HVAC and filtration areas including everything from field, to sales, to management.

She previously served on the Town of Wheatfield Business Development team, the membership committee for Buffalo Niagara Sales & Marketing organization and served on the USAF Color Guard. She is a Certified Energy Manager and Certified Demand-Side Management Professional.

Michelle is a proud veteran of the US Air Force. 

This is Michelle's second term serving the board. 

Director: Marie Patton (Active Workforce)

Marie has worked in the construction industry for 20+ years, both as an administrative and field worker.

Currently, Marie is the Director of Operations and Safety at Active Workforce, Inc.  Aside from managing the business operations, she also teaches OSHA10 and 30hr in Construction for her clients as well as a nonprofit construction training program (SACRA at Assembly House) where she also helps with soft skills and mock interviews.  She has been involved with 716 Ministries, and the BOCES program performing mock interviews for graduating classes and assisting with job placement in the construction sector.

Currently she is serving as Treasurer for the Black Rock Riverside Alliance and sitting on the BOCES Construction Advisory Boards for both High School and Post- Graduate Training Programs.

Director: Lynne Bona (Mallare Trucking) 

Lynne is the President of Mallare Trucking and has worked in the trucking part of the construction industry since 2013.  Mallare hauls construction material throughout WNY and heavy equipment and flatbed loads along the East Coast.                          She has served for two years as Secretary of NAWBO (National Association of Women Business Owners.   

Lynne currently sits on the Board of the Construction Exchange on Buffalo.

In addition to her logistics background,  Lynne is a licensed cosmetologist and has a masters degree in speech-language pathology.  

 Purpose and  Mission 

Our Core Purpose: To strengthen and amplify the success of women in the construction industry.

Mission Statement: The association committed to championing women to impact the direction of the construction industry.

National Association of Women in Construction Buffalo Niagara Chapter 388 was organized in September 2020 by NAWIC Rochester member Jillian Penkin. Jillian was a member of the Greater Rochester chapter for 10+ years and recently relocated to the Buffalo region. She quickly realized there was a tremendous opportunity to resurrect the Buffalo region of this organization. Along with 25 other active industry women in the Buffalo Niagara region, the new chapter was launched in January 2021.

The National Association of Women in Construction (NAWIC) originated as Women in Construction of Fort Worth, Texas. Sixteen women working in the construction industry founded it in 1953. Knowing that women represented only a small fraction of the construction industry, the founders organized NAWIC to create a support network for women working in a male-dominated field. Women in Construction of Fort Worth was so successful that it gained its national charter in 1955 and officially became the National Association of Women in Construction.

Today, NAWIC is still based in Fort Worth and has over 115 chapters throughout the United States that provide its members with opportunities for professional development, education, networking, leadership training, public service and more. NAWIC is present in 44 states & growing, Washington, DC & Guam.

Over $92,000 in scholarships have been awarded in 2019 to 72 recipients studying construction in college or trade school.

NAWIC continues the vision of its founding members by advocating for the value and impact of women builders, professionals and tradeswomen in all aspects of the construction industry.

NAWIC STRATEGIC PLAN GOALS

The industry is a safer and more productive place to work for everyone. It is reflective of the general population, with a more authentic, inclusive and diverse voice.

INDUSTRY Women are recognized as essential to the viability of the construction industry, providing leadership and technical expertise, while championing inclusivity and ushering collaboration forward to expand the industry.