Modern-Day Rosies


Today, Ami works on the Interior 2 team, with seven other men. “We probably touch the trains more than anyone else,” Ami says.  “There is no typical day, here.  We install seats, the rear locker, grab bars, pretty much anything you grab onto inside the train. We’ll build the actual locker, and others will install the electrical components.  The tools I use vary, from screwdrivers to torque wrenches, to drills, to rivet guns.” Continue reading this article here.

Ami Rasmussen is an interior assembly foreman at the Kinkisharyo railcar factory in Palmdale, CA.
Ami Rasmussen is an interior assembly foreman at the Kinkisharyo railcar factory in Palmdale, California.


Transit and manufacturing are both very male dominated fields. When I first started in the transportation industry, female transit manufacturers were very rare. They’re still a minority in the industry, but I’ve seen very encouraging growth in the past two decades. This is a trend that needs to continue and grow, and the way to do that is to catch women when they’re young. Continue reading this article here.

Dr. Beverly Scott is the General Manager of Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA) in Boston, Massachusetts.
Dr. Beverly Scott is the General Manager of Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA) in Boston, Massachusetts.


Brenda is much happier now that she and Jeff both work at New Flyer and are proud members of the Communications Workers of America (CWA) Local 7304.  Brenda works on the “audit line” part of the factory which quality-checks subcomponents of the buses, while Jeff works in the “warehouse section” where parts are sorted and distributed to different parts of the production line. Continue reading this article here.

Brenda Martinez Shroeder is an audit line worker at the New Flyer Industries bus factory in St. Cloud, Minnesota.
Brenda Martinez Shroeder is an audit line worker at the New Flyer Industries bus factory in St. Cloud, Minnesota.


I learned how to weld in an autobody course I took during college but really had no idea where I was going to end up after that. Given my studies, I ended up working in the automotive industry where I got my first job welding. A few years later though, I saw an opportunity to move into the transit side of things and got a job at the New Flyer plant in Minnesota. Continue reading this article here.

Chancy Davis is the only woman welder at the New Flyer Industries bus factory in St. Cloud, Minnesota.
Chancy is a welder at New Flyer bus factory in St. Cloud, Minnesota.


Now, I’m the only woman in the traction motors department. I’ve really enjoyed working there.  The men are really helpful to me. I’ve never had a problem working with men, although some of them are kinda old-fashioned.  I knew going in that they were gonna show me what to do but not do it for me. And I didn’t  want them to! Continue reading this article here.

Connie McCoy is a Traction Motors Assembly Technician at Siemens Plant.
Connie McCoy is a Traction Motors Assembly Technician at Siemens Plant.


Since March 2012, I’ve worked at the Nippon Sharyo railcar assembly plant in Rochelle, Illinois.  I started out when a temp agency assigned me to write down defects for the customer of the cars in the Quality Assurance (QA) department, and after 90 days, I was hired full time as an inspector. Continue reading this article here.

Donna Comp Penwarden is a Quality Assurance Inspector with Nippon Sharyo Railcar Assembly Facility in Rochelle, IL
Donna Comp Penwarden is a Quality Assurance Inspector with Nippon Sharyo Railcar Assembly Facility in Rochelle, Illinois.

It is incumbent on all of us to encourage young women to re-think about transit manufacturing and dispel any misrepresentation and stereotypes that are associated with the profession itself and the very women who are part of it. Continue reading this article here.

Hilda Solis was United States Secretary of Labor from 2009-2013 and the first female Latina member of the Cabinet. She is now a member of the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors.
Hilda Solis was United States Secretary of Labor from 2009-2013 and the first female Latina member of the Cabinet. She is now a member of the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors.

I started out when I was 19 years old. I was part of [federal program] Job Corps, I did OTJ (on-the-job) training for 13 months. I love hands on work.  My dad wanted me to be a doctor or a nurse like my sisters.  But I wanted to work outside. I loved construction, and I got my license. Continue reading this article here.

Jay Fatima Tapia is an Equipment Operator at Bombardier Railcar Maintenance Facility in Los Angeles, California.
Jay Fatima Tapia is an Equipment Operator at Bombardier Railcar Maintenance Facility in Los Angeles, California.

For over two years, Judith Melendez has been working as a bus painter at the New Flyer factory in St. Cloud.  Melendez made her transition into transit manufacturing when after 10 years of working at Electro Lutz, she decided to change jobs. “At that job, I felt trapped. I knew I could do something else,” she said.  When the opportunity arose to work in transit manufacturing, Melendez leapt at the chance. Continue reading this article here.

Judith Mejia Melendez is a painter at the New Flyer Industries bus factory in St. Cloud, Minnesota.
Judith Mejia Melendez is a painter at the New Flyer Industries bus factory in St. Cloud, Minnesota.

I work inside the garage, the Service and Inspection area called S&I. When Fatima moves the trains inside, we start working inside the cars. We do two cars a day -- the whole thing! It’s detailing, elbow grease, hard cleaning, hard work, not soft cleaning. Continue reading this article here.

Lilla Wallace cleaning specialist at a railcar refurbishment facility in Los Angeles, CA.
Lilla Wallace cleaning specialist at a railcar refurbishment facility in Los Angeles, CA.


#WomenCanBuild tells the story of the extraordinary women who are already doing these manufacturing jobs and have been for many years. The diversity of their capabilities is very telling.  These women are extremely capable, strong, and beautiful. What an honor to be in the same project alongside these powerful women. Continue reading this article here.

Maria Elena Durazo was the first female President of UNITE HERE Local 11 from 1988-2006. She was the first female Executive Secretary Treasurer of Los Angeles County Labor Federation from 2006-2014. She is now General Vice President for Immigration, Civil Rights, and Diversity at UNITE HERE.
Maria Elena Durazo was the first female President of UNITE HERE Local 11 from 1988-2006. She was the first female Executive Secretary Treasurer of Los Angeles County Labor Federation from 2006-2014. She is now General Vice President for Immigration, Civil Rights, and Diversity at UNITE HERE.

She first heard about the job at New Flyer Industries from her husband, who currently worked there. At first, she laughed when he mentioned the idea. She didn’t think she could do the job. After she was finally convinced by her husband to go for it, Maria started at New Flyer doing technical assembly. Every day, she helps prepare all of the brackets and hardware that the workers at the factory need to install in the buses. Continue reading this article here.

Maria Rothstein is a Technical Assembly Technician at New Flyer Industries Bus Factory in St. Cloud, Minnesota.
Maria Rothstein is a Technical Assembly Technician at New Flyer Industries Bus Factory in St. Cloud, Minnesota.


“I was a little intimidated with so many male coworkers,” Ruby says.  “But I thought, why not take the challenge.  I’m so small, I can actually walk under the [rail]car [when it is up on jacks, to be worked on the underside].  And maybe it was me being so little and young, but the guys look out for me, like brothers.” Continue reading this article here.

Ruby Diaz a quality control technician at the Kinkisharyo railcar factory in Palmdale, California.
Ruby Diaz a quality control technician at the Kinkisharyo railcar factory in Palmdale, California

Stacey works with the Electrical Team, about 50 people total.   Every day is different, Stacey says, “I have a specific area which I’m responsible for…. depending on which area I’m working in, I could be fixing a wire that got broken, doing the wiring from scratch, helping somebody.   As an electrical team, we try to always help each other. That’s the best part.  All the support means everything to me.” Continue reading this article here.

Stacey Corcoran is an electrician at the Nippon Sharyo railcar manufacturing facility in Rochelle, Illinois.
Stacey Corcoran is an electrician at the Nippon Sharyo railcar manufacturing facility in Rochelle, Illinois.


It’s an important effort to encourage women that they can do anything they put their minds to. In public service, women still have catching up to do. We make up about a quarter of the California legislature and even less than that in Congress. Just 4 % of Fortune 500 CEOs are women. But we see time and again that when we get the chance, we lead, we achieve and we succeed, even in non-traditional fields. Continue reading this article here.

Toni Atkins is Speaker in the California State Assembly in Sacramento, California.
Toni Atkins is Speaker in the California State Assembly in Sacramento, California.