VOL. 117 | NO. 173 | Friday, September 26, 2003
Tearing down, building up walls
Pitts Tears Down Walls, Builds Community Ties
The Daily News
When she was younger, Shirley Pitts wasnt necessarily handy
with a hammer or a paintbrush.
But, she had a knack for gardening.
My mom told me there was no better way to relieve stress
and get a good tan at the same time than gardening, she said, grinning.
Recently, Pitts president of commercial and residential
landscaping firm GreenScape Inc. was elected to serve as president of the
Memphis chapter of the National Association of Women in Construction.
Axing stereotypes. Pitts said the organizations
mission is to enhance the success of women in the construction profession.
Its effect, though, has been the dismantling of stereotypes
that construction is a field solely for men.
There may be some men who arent aware of our organization,
but most men especially those that are general contractors are definitely
aware of it, Pitts said.
You really do have a variety of women whether it involves
plumbing, sheet-rocking, painting, mechanical engineering or architecture.
In anything that involves putting up a building, theres a
The list of jobs for women in construction also includes
accounting and bookkeeping, the areas that led Pitts to her current place of
employment 23 years ago.
Providing resources. Since joining the NAWC after
first reading about it in The Daily News, Pitts has served as chapter treasurer
and secretary, and on the organizations board of directors.
She said the NAWC helps women in the field by offering
educational events, networking opportunities and other industry-related tools.
Memphis is a big construction town, so we try to pool an occupation
resource guide for any woman looking for a job, she said.
Pitts said the organization helps her, and other
construction company managers, by providing ideas she can apply to GreenScape.
She particularly mentioned a national NAWC convention held
recently in Salt Lake City that offered seminars on topics ranging from
blueprint estimating to Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) policy review.
A helping hand. The local chapter also emphasizes
philanthropic work, she said.
Each year, proceeds generated from a golf tournament and
poker run fund a college scholarship for an aspiring student (male or female)
who wants to work in the construction industry.
And in the spring, the members sponsor a career day, called
Block Kids, for a local elementary school.
Pitts said volunteers lead the students in mini-construction
We try to get children interested and familiar early-on
about the profession by giving them a hands-on project, she said.
Chapter goals. As chapter president, Pitts has two
overall goals: to increase the chapters membership by nine members and to
provide travel funds to send two members to next years national convention in
New York City.
She said many members want to attend, but cant afford to
make the trip.
Because of my personal success in this field, I want to
help mentor others, she said. Its about giving back.
Name: Shirley Pitts
Company: GreenScape Inc.
Basics: Pitts recently was elected president of the Memphis
chapter of the National Association of Women in Construction.