In July 2022, yet another SMART sister earned recognition from North America’s Building Trades Unions (NABTU) for her hard work and proven track record: Annet Del Rosario, a journeyperson out of SMART Local 206 (San Diego, California).

“Her positive attitude and relentless work ethic are infectious to those around her,” said Local 206 in the NABTU press release announcing Del Rosario’s Tradeswomen Heroes Award win. “I can’t think of anyone that deserves more accolades for everything she means to our local and those lucky enough to be around her.”

Del Rosario joined Local 206 in March 2002, committing to the union’s five-year apprenticeship program in August 2003 and turning out as a journeyperson in 2008. Since then, she has worked in the field as well as the shop on the HVAC side; she’s also served several terms as a trustee and an e-board member. In her current position, she is the shop foreman at Able Heating & Air — the first female to fill each position in the local’s history. Del Rosario’s tireless advocacy continues outside of work as well: She created and is president of Building Trades Sisters, an all-female union trades group in San Diego.

“Annet is the shining example of what can be done when someone puts their mind to it,” added the Local 206 press release. “She has always wanted to put in the work to receive the rewards.”

SMART congratulates sister Annet Del Rosario for this well-deserved recognition!

General President Joseph Sellers accepts the George Meany Award.

The National Coordinating Committee for Multiemployer Plans (NCCMP) presented SMART General President Joseph Sellers with the George Meany Award on Tuesday, September 20 – recognizing Sellers’ contributions to the welfare of pension funds that SMART and other union retirees depend on.

“President Sellers has been a champion within the multiemployer community, fighting for the legislative wins we have seen and fighting against unfair attacks that would further undermine our plans,” the NCCMP announced.

The NCCMP’s mission is the advocacy and protection of multiemployer plans, their sponsors, participants and beneficiaries, working since 1974 “to assure an environment in which multiemployer benefit plans can continue in their vital role of providing retirement security and health and welfare benefits to working Americans and their families through negotiated benefits with a minimum of regulatory or other interference.”

With the George Meany award, the NCCMP honors those who have fought to aid that mission, including last year’s co-recipients: Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer. As a stalwart advocate for retirees across the country who helped push the Sheet Metal Workers’ National Pension Fund into the Green Zone earlier this year, General President Sellers was a worthy beneficiary of the 2022 award. He accepted the honor, presented by North America’s Building Trades Unions (NABTU) President Sean McGarvey and NCCMP Executive Director Michael D. Scott, during a lunch on September 20.

Local 18 (Milwaukee, Wis.) fourth-year apprentice Nicole Severson always knew she wanted to be part of a trade. Her father was a diesel mechanic, her brother a sheet metal worker, and her uncles worked as an elevator operator and a heavy equipment operator, respectively – giving her a thorough knowledge of the trades from a young age. Now, she’s making her family and her union proud as the latest SMART winner of the NABTU Tradeswomen Heroes award.

“As her employer has noted, Nicole is a huge asset to [her] team,” Local 18 wrote when nominating Severson for the award. “She is extremely detailed, has a great attitude, and is always willing to give a helping hand.”

Despite her family background, Severson took an uncircuitous route to the unionized sheet metal trade. She initially worked in the finance world, completing an apprentice program in high school and spending 15 years working in various finance positions. At that point, though, she began to feel she had achieved all she could in that sphere; she reached out to her brother and began working as a dispatcher with a contracting firm.

“This opportunity gave her great insight into plumbing, electrical and HVAC,” said the NABTU press release announcing Severson’s award. “Her work on a daily basis with the commercial HVAC service technicians made her realize the diverse skill set of a service technician was what she was looking for in a career.”

Now, four years into her new vocation, Severson has proven herself to be a skilled, reliable and tenacious worker.

“Nicole is always looking for ways to improve her skillset through new challenges and asking questions,” Local 18 added. “Unlike some apprentices, Nicole is never intimidated by the equipment. Her background as a dispatcher has really helped us as an organization improve communication between the field and the office.”

SMART congratulates Nicole on this well-earned recognition!

Fourth-year SMART Local 18 apprentice Angela Poore received the September North America’s Building Trades Unions (NABTU) Tradeswomen Heroes award – a recognition of the Milwaukee, Wisconsin sheet metal worker’s perseverance, skill and dedication to her craft.

“She is hard-working, shows up on time and soaks things up like a sponge,” the Local 18 Milwaukee Joint Apprenticeship Committee said when nominating Angela for the award. “Angela…exemplifies a great employee.”

Angela’s journey to the unionized sheet metal industry was an unorthodox one. Born and raised on military bases, Angela and her family spent 11 years driving from state to state, including Kansas, Alaska and Texas – finding adventure on cross-country odysseys. After settling in Waukesha, Wisconsin, Angela eventually moved out of her family home at 17 years old, working at two chiropractic offices for 15 years and starting her own cleaning business.

Like many workers in 21st century America, though, an economy devoted less to working families and more to Wall Street made economic stability hard to find, and while researching other career options, Angela was introduced to sheet metal by her stepfather, a Local 18 business agent. She spent some time honing her math skills, then signed up as a pre-apprentice at 34 years old.

“We would be lucky to have more apprentices, and future journeyworkers, like Angela.”

“It’s very intimidating being a female going into a ‘Man’s World,’ but I realized that the guys I was working with were like anyone else at a job,” Angela said. “They taught me so much, they showed me the wrong and right ways of doing things.”

Having spent all four years of her apprenticeship at JM Brennan Co., Angela has been able to experience the camaraderie of working in a union shop – and she’s taken advantage of every mentorship and learning opportunity that has come her way.

“The best part, so far, is working with so many different foremen/journeyen and learning their ways of doing things,” she noted. “It helps you find what way works best for you. I cannot wait to become a journeyperson or a foreman and see where this road takes me.”

The Local 18 Joint Apprenticeship Committee clearly feels the same way.

“Angela is always willing to take on new challenges,” the committee wrote in Angela’s nomination. “When Angela’s employer challenged the employees to differentiate themselves from others, she was the only one who approached her superintendent seeking guidance on improving her welding skills. Angela had always shown signs of success as a welder, but with this challenge took the opportunity to really focus and hone those skills.’

“We would be lucky to have more apprentices, and future journeyworkers, like Angela,” the committee concluded. Congratulations, sister!

In early June, SMART Local 16 (Portland, Ore.) journey-worker Lisa Davis was named one of the winners of the June NABTU Tradeswomen Heroes Award, which “honors two apprentices and two journey-level workers in the United States and Canada that set an exemplary example both on and off the jobsite.”

“Sister Davis is leading the industry as the first female HVACR Education Specialist for SMART International Training Institute [ITI],” read the press release announcing Lisa’s win. “Sister Davis’s passion for moving the industry’s direction to increase safety, diversity, equity, and inclusion standards in the workplace is nothing short of what she has been able to accomplish to reach those goals.”

In 2005, Lisa graduated from the University of California, Davis, solely committed to one goal: becoming a surgeon. Having graduated with a bachelor’s degree in biology, Lisa moved to Oregon to attend Oregon Health and Science University — but she soon realized a life in medicine wasn’t her calling.

Sister Davis is leading the industry as the first female HVACR Education Specialist for the International Training Institute.

The next three years found Lisa exploring what that calling might be. She worked as a barista, in an operating room and on a farm in Hawaii. After those disparate and exciting experiences, though, it was ultimately something much simpler — a job working as a mechanic in a bowling alley — that changed her life. It was there that she realized working with her hands with mechanical tools, rather than a scalpel, was her ticket to happiness.

Following that epiphany, Lisa sought out Oregon Tradeswomen and completed the organization’s training before she was accepted into the apprenticeship at Sheet Metal Workers Local 16 in Portland. There she completed a building trades apprenticeship and service program. A passionate advocate for education, recruitment, retention and diversity, Lisa worked her way up to become Local 16’s first female instructor. She also helped form a diversity committee and served on the ground floor of the local’s mentoring program, both of which continue to this day.

In 2019, Lisa furthered her role as a mentor by joining the ITI as a heating, ventilation, air conditioning, and refrigeration (HVACR) service and testing, adjusting and balancing (TAB) specialist. She also serves on SMART’s International Women’s Committee, where she helped craft resolutions and amendments leading up to the union’s 2019 national convention.

“Sister Davis continues to elevate all members by devoting her extra time to actively working with her peers to create and implement DEI and safety language within government laws, initiating mentoring programs, training and educating members, and simply ’Doing the Right Thing,’” the press release concluded. “[Her] commitment, dedication, and hard work have proven that opportunity is a viable pathway for members to reach their fullest potential. Sister Davis is a true HERO for all members of SMART.”