Celebrating Women in Construction image
Celebrating Women in Construction image

Caterpillar celebrates women in construction


For Release Worldwide: March 2024
Release Number: 114PR24

Caterpillar celebrates women in construction

The Women in Construction Celebration included operator skills challenges, peer networking and industry updates

Dubuque, Iowa’s Kait Burds took home top honors at Caterpillar’s first Women in Construction Celebration March 13-14 in Clayton, North Carolina. Burds successfully demonstrated her advanced machine operator skills by maneuvering difficult work site challenges in record time with extreme precision.

Burds was one of 18 women—representing Cat® dealers throughout the Americas—who gathered at Caterpillar’s Edward J. Rapp Customer & Training Center to compete in the state-of-the-art skills tests, learn about the latest industry trends and network with peers.  

“I feel really good; the competition was pretty stiff. It’s good affirmation of the hard work I put into my career,” said Burds. “I hope this event gives women in construction more exposure and gives them the confidence to go out and do things that scare them.”

The skills tests included expertise in the following areas:

  • Small Wheel Loader: Move material through the course to achieve 7.0 -7.5 tons; then change to forks and use them to move a pallet.
  • Compact Track Loader: Navigate an obstacle course using multiple machine functions.
  • Small Hydraulic Excavator: Load truck to achieve 10.0-tons payload.

Along with the tests, the competitors participated in a panel discussion where they shared best practices, discussed managing a successful career in a male-dominated industry and talked about the importance of recruiting more female operators and technicians into the workforce.

“The event is a celebration of female machine operators who build our world, advocate and drive awareness for their trade, and highlight solutions that address jobsite needs,” said Caterpillar marketing manager, Chrissy Metz. “Each competitor demonstrates advanced abilities operating the latest Cat construction machines and technologies, showing the world the invaluable role women play in the construction industry.”

Renowned Air Force fighter pilot, retired Lieutenant Colonel Tammy Barlette, delivered a powerful and inspiring keynote during the opening lunch where she shared lessons learned from her years in the cockpit that she now applies to everyday life.

The event concluded with an awards ceremony where the overall skills test winner and others were recognized:

  • Overall Skills Test: Kait Burds, Dubuque, Iowa
  • Small Wheel Loader Skills Test: Kait Burds, Dubuque, Iowa
  • Compact Track Loader Skills Test: Kenzi Tackett, Ray, Ohio
  • Small Hydraulic Excavator Skills Test: Azaria Biven, Indianapolis, Indiana

The list of participants in Caterpillar’s first Women in Construction Celebration and their supporting Cat dealer is below: 

  • Kait Burds, Ziegler Cat
  • Daiane da Silva Candido, Sotreq
  • Jordyn Ledford, Stowers Cat
  • Shayla Sublette, Warren Cat
  • Azaria Biven, MacAllister Machinery
  • Ana Gonzales, Thompson Machinery
  • Misheala Brozovich, Wagner Cat
  • Amanda Miles, Gregory Poole
  • Rondalee Wilke, Ring Power
  • Letti Ortiz, Holt Cat
  • Miranda Menchaca, Holt Cat
  • Mackenzie Tackett, Ohio Cat
  • Chelsey Holdosi, Carter Machinery
  • Rachel Riggs, Empire Cat
  • Megan Riley, Empire Cat
  • Alexandra Smith, Milton Cat
  • Whitney Poulin, Milton Cat
  • Carla Vitoria de Araujo Marques, Sotreq

Complete details of Caterpillar’s Women in Construction Celebration can be found at https://www.cat.com/WomenInConstruction.

For more information on careers at Caterpillar or the construction industry, please click here.  Caterpillar has also been the proud host of the Global Operator Challenge which has brought together the world’s best machine operators—both men and women—to compete against each other in various work site challenges. Click here to learn more about past Global Operator Challenges and watch for updates on future Global Operator Challenges.


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L-R: Azaria Biven, Kait Burds, Kenzi Tackett

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Shayla Sublette participating in the Small Wheel Loader Skills Test.

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The Small Hydraulic Excavator Skills Test included loading an Articulated Truck to achieve 10.0-tons payload.

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Our Celebrating Women in Construction event was the first of its kind. From competitive stick time to networking opportunities – it was a memorable experience for us all. Together, we can support one another as skilled operators making our mark in the industry.

Biven Burds Tackett Winners image
Shayla Sublette Small Wheel Loader
Women In Construction Small Excavator
Celebrating Women in Construction Event Recap

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