Celebrating the successes and challenges of working women 

The recently held Washington Women in Trades “Dream Big Dinner” honored the legacy of “Rosies” – a nickname for “Rosie the Riveter” – women who worked in factories during World War II. The award ceremony recognized the successes and challenges of working women, as well as students, advocates, and workplace leaders.

The event was attended on behalf of King County by Joe Baca, a Community Workforce Agreement Administrator in the Department of Natural Resources and Parks’ Wastewater Treatment Division, and Samantha Kealoha, Labor Equity Program Manager with the Department of Executive Services Finance and Business Operations Division. The two were seated with Georgie Kunkel, a 98-year-old comedian and honorary “Rosie” for the night, who participates in talks and poetry readings at open mic events across the region. Joe and Samantha enjoyed being able to represent King County at the event as it gave them insight into the history of these amazing women.

“It gave me an opportunity to witness all the achievements these proud women shared from their lives during World War II,” said Joe. “Without them, the foundation for bringing the country together during turbulent times would not have happened so early in our history.”

Pictured: At this year’s Washington Women in Trades “Dream Big Dinner,” King County employees Samantha Kealoha and Joe Baca were seated with Georgie Kunkel, a 98-year-old comedian and honorary “Rosie” for the night.

The event also highlighted the current status of women, and others, in the trades industry. It shared information about the efforts of King County and surrounding areas to diversify the industry and include underrepresented workers.

“This event represents the sisterhood within the industry and how we are changing the face of the industry,” said Samantha. “Data shows that our region has surpassed the national average for women representation in this industry and events like this [dinner] recognize that push and those women and individuals who are part of this effort for change. “

King County looks forward to continuing this work, building a brighter, better future grounded in the passionate, capable work of those women and others who came before, like Georgie. Joe captures the sentiment of the evening for him and Samantha below, and how exciting it is to be part of that change.

“The event allowed me to be a witness to the achievements and honors bestowed on the women in the construction trades of today, and continue to marvel at their strength, abilities, and courage to be leaders,” he said. “I have no doubt the perseverance of the women in trades today will leave a shining example for new generations to follow, and I hope to be a part of this for many years to come. “

The “Dream Big Dinner” was well attended by public agencies, a host of “Rosies,” labor unions, contractors, apprentices and journey workers, and other honored guests. For more information about the Women in Trades Fair and the Dinner visit www.wawomenintrades.com/dream-big-dinner.