On July 2, 1983, eleven women came together from across the nation to discuss the formation of a new organization to serve women construction owners and executives.

The women were all members of various construction-related groups and organizations. But the feeling among them was unanimous. The organizations to which they belonged were all valuable in some way. Yet none filled the single need to further the goals of women owners and executives in construction.


At that meeting and the next one, the eleven women came together and developed these principles:

  • To promote the role of Women Business Enterprises (WBEs) in the construction industry
  • To assist women in executive management positions within the industry
  • To provide resources to enhance the professional development of every member
  • To create a legislative network to monitor and pursue legislation advantageous to the business community and the construction industry
  • To encourage professional standards and member responsibility within the industry


On January 20, 1984, the Articles of Incorporation of WCOE, USA, a non-profit organization, were filed in the state of Washington.

Less than one month later, the new WCOE, USA Executive Board held its first meeting, where the organization's Bylaws were approved and adopted, and its officers were elected.

At the Charter Meeting and Conference in October 1984, 69 women signed the WCOE, USA charter. Representatives from the White House, Department of Transportation, Department of Housing & Urban Development, Department of Energy and many successful business owners attended the program.


  • Joanne Blystone, CEO, Blystone Equipment, Spokane, WA
  • Barbara Bryant
  • Jan Burger
  • Carol Burhoe, CEO, DW Burhoe Construction, Santa Paula, CA
  • Dorothy Erickson, President, Nationwide Construction, Inc., San Francisco, CA
  • Marjorie Herter, President, VeeSee Construction, Oak Lawn, IL
  • Donna Meidling, CEO, Meidling Concrete, Spokane, WA
  • Judy Schuh
  • Nina Tate, President, NCCI, Paramount, CA
  • Myrtle Willey, President, TW Dick Company, Gardiner, ME
  • Michelle Zoerner


1984-1986Nina Tate
1986-1988Dorothy A. Erickson
1988-1989Marjorie L. Herter
1989-1991Judy Grammer
1991-1993Carolyn A. Stradley
1993-1995Rebecca Llewellyn
1995-1996Rosemary Breiner
1996-1999Patricia Magill
1999-2001Carole Bionda
2001-2002Rose Girard
2002-2003Marjorie Herter
2003-2005Karen Husky
2005-2007Ida Brooker
2007-2009Deborah Wilder
2009-2011Theresa Kern
2011-2013Rosana Privitera Biondo
2013-2015Lee Cunningham
2015-2017Caryn Boisen
2017-2019Theresa Kern
2019-2021Sheila A. Ohrenberg