Trailblazing carpenter wants more women to follow in her footsteps

Linda RomanovitchWhen Linda Romanovitch joined King County 30 years ago she didn’t consider herself a trailblazer but she unwittingly broke through a barrier that would make it easier for other women to follow in her footsteps.

Linda became King County’s first female carpenter on December 4, 1984. Her interest in carpentry grew while helping her grandfather, also a carpenter, complete odd jobs. At 22 she joined an organization in Seattle that helped women and minorities become successful in the trades and she completed a six-week pre-apprenticeship. She went on to complete a full carpentry apprenticeship and in 1978 she worked on the first remodel of Seattle’s Uwajimaya store.

Being the only female in a mostly male field was rough at times but she had a secret weapon that helped her get past workplace difficulties. “My best defense was to respond with humor,” Linda said.

In 1997 she was promoted to foreman and currently supervises a crew of five carpenters who maintain and remodel buildings managed by Facilities Management Division. She says that the interaction and relationships with co-workers and building tenants is her favorite and most fulfilling part of her day.

Linda uses her experience as a female carpenter with King County to encourage other women to seek careers in trades.

“One of my great passions is to help create an environment that gives women the opportunity to see the skilled trades as a viable career path,” Linda said. “I am very active in the Women in Trades Organization which facilitates access for women in non-traditional employment such as the trades.”

Linda is also part of a group from the Carpenters Union Local 131 called The Sisters in the Trade who use their carpentry skills to assist low-income residents and senior citizens in making sure their homes are safe and livable.