SMART members win NABTU Tradeswomen award 

April 25, 2022

SMART Local 66 member Vanessa Carman, left, operates a Trimble to do layout for Hermanson Company at the Harrison Hospital Acute Care project in Silverdale, Wash., in 2019. 

In January 2022, journeyperson Vanessa Carman of SMART Local 66 (Seattle, Wash.) won the North America’s Building Trades Unions (NABTU) Tradeswomen Heroes Award — a monthly recognition of tradeswomen who lead by example and perform their duties at an outstanding level.

“It is a great honor to nominate Sister Vanessa Carman, member of SMART Local 66, for the NABTU Tradeswomen Heroes Award,” read the press release announcing Carman’s nomination. “Sister Carman is a consummate trades-woman leader and a tireless advocate for her sisters.”

Vanessa Carman

A detailer with Hermanson Company in Kent, Wash., Carman has worked in sheet metal for 18 years, advancing quickly from apprentice to journeyperson to foreperson after discovering her interest in the trades while helping her brothers repair a furnace. Along with her skill and experience on the job, Carman helped create the SMART Local 66 Women’s Committee and advocated for the implementation of a mentoring program for women sheet metal workers in her local union — an initiative that gives women in the trade, especially apprentices, a reliable support system. The mentoring program has led to significant growth in the number of women in Local 66.

Carman is also a trustee on the Western Washington Sheet Metal JATC and a member of the SMART Women’s Committee, where she has worked to champion constitutional amendments and resolutions to combat discrimination and harassment; to promote the recruitment and retention of women members; and to support a mentoring study for apprenticeship programs similar to the one at Local 66. As a complement to those efforts, Carman works as a trustee of the SMART Recruitment and Retention Council, helping SMART better recruit, retain and promote diverse groups at all levels in our union.

“Due to her drive, generosity, and courage, [Sister Carman] is a role model for many women in SMART and has made a tremendous impact on this union.”

– NABTU press release

Carman’s commitment extends to career fairs and outreach events, where she volunteers to recruit more workers into the sheet metal trade, and to community service. Throughout it all, she manages to find time for powerlifting, walking her dog and raising her three sons.

“Due to her drive, generosity, and courage, [Sister Carman] is a role model for many women in SMART and has made a tremendous impact on this union,” the NABTU press release concluded. “SMART is indebted to her for all of the selfless work she does to improve the conditions for all of our sisters in SMART — we are incredibly fortunate to have her as a leader and member.”

Kimberly Mann

Another SMART member won the Tradeswomen Heroes Award in October 2021: Kimberly Mann of SM Local 20 (Indianapolis, Ind.), a journeyperson at Poynter Sheet Metal with more than 35 years of experience in the trade.

“Kim is a great honoree for this award because she never backed down from any adversity that she faced as a minority in her field,” read the press release announcing Mann’s nomination. “In fact, she flourished as a leader and business owner.”

Sister Mann began her career in the Local 20 pre-apprenticeship program in 1985, before serving an apprenticeship and graduating at the top of her class in 1994. Shortly afterwards, her perseverance and hard work earned Mann a leadership role as a site supervisor at Apex Industries, where — as she has done throughout her career — she gained the respect of contractors, operations teams, end users, journeymen and the apprentices and pre-apprentices she continues to mentor to this day.

In 2001, Mann formed her own company, K&M, which she successfully ran until 2014. During that time, Mann took on a variety of notable projects, working as one of the installing contractors on Indianapolis’s crown jewel and home of the Indianapolis Colts, Lucas Oil Stadium, during the initial build, and working as fabricator and installer on portions of the award-winning Indianapolis International Airport. After closing her business, Mann joined Poynter, where she is currently leading the HVAC sheet metal installation on a new hospital in Bloomington, Ind., valued at $460 million.

“Even with such an incredible resume, Kim remains humble in her accomplishments. She is generous with not only her knowledge and willingness to teach anyone about our industry, she also has a giving nature to anyone who needs a hand-up,” the NABTU press release added. “Kim is the total package!”