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r.o.i. Design joined over 200 other participants attending this landmark event hosted by Fishbeck and sponsored by the Professional Women in Building Council (PWB), West Michigan Women in Architecture, Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC) Western Michigan Chapter, National Association of Women in Construction (NAWIC), Architecture, Engineering, Construction (AEC) Group, and Commercial Real Estate Women (CREW) West Michigan. 

99% of the audience were women from all disciplines:  construction, architecture, engineering, mechanical services, design, and product representatives. We all recognized this was a “first of its kind” gathering and the organizers promised to make this an annual event. 

The keynote speaker was Katie Johnson, Treasurer of The House She Built and she passionately told us the story of how 4 leaders organized the effort to build a home in Utah with women-only builders, designers, and craftspeople.   

They researched the nation for female contractors (through social media and referrals) and folks came from across the nation to provide expertise and training in many categories of trades. Katie told stories about how these leaders and trade consultants became “family”.  

The outcome of the project was a home that was sold at top dollar and the developer that gave them the land bought the floor plan and specifications saying it was better than the project plans they had for the development. 

All the leaders donated their time, and much of the materials and subcontractors brought in their time at no cost, because everyone saw the goal of highlighting women as leaders in construction as an overdue spotlight.  

The Grand Rapids event proceeds were donated to West Michigan Construction Institute, which presented its goals and agenda, inviting the audience to continue to support its efforts. 

In addition to the building of a home, the effort caught the attention of Mollie Elkman and Georgia Castellano, and a children’s reader book, The House that She Built, was written and produced. While Katie was in town for the event, she visited Townline School and handed out these books to all the students.  

r.o.i. Design connected with so many companies we work with, meeting the women who make it all possible within those companies and we look forward to building on those relationships.