For the first-time ever the Los Angeles Board of Public Works is celebrating Women’s History Month by recognizing the trailblazing women who are breaking through barriers with nontraditional careers throughout the Department of Public Works. As we close out Women’s History Month, women pioneers from each of the five Bureaus were honored at today’s Board of Public Works Meeting for their exemplary work and the example they are setting for the next generation of the City workforce.
“Women are closing the wage gap by tackling challenging job roles in what were once considered unconventional fields,” said Board of Public Works Vice President Cecilia Cabello. “It is an honor to celebrate the women of the Department of Public Works who work tirelessly to enhance the quality of life for all Angelenos. They embody the best of what Los Angeles has to offer.”
“Today’s presentation was about shining a spotlight on the unsung SHEroes in the Department of Public Works who deserve to be celebrated every day,” said Board of Public Works Commissioner Aura Garcia. “As Women’s History Month concludes, we are proud to recognize all the women in Public Works who are pursuing career paths in typically male-dominated fields and finding great success and purpose in the process.”
Women’s History Month is a time to celebrate women’s contributions to history as well as the valiant strides being made by women today. From building bridges and sewers, to filling potholes, collecting trash, and installing street lights, Public Works projects touch every Angeleno where they live, work, and play. Whether on the front lines or behind-the-scenes, the Department of Public Works “SHEroes” recognized today have made a significant impact in their respective fields:
- Nellie ‘Seffy’ Wiles, Bureau of Contract Administration: the first woman to be appointed as Chief Construction Inspector and serves as the Division Manager for the Metropolitan Construction Division - East.
- Natalie Moore, Bureau of Engineering: a Civil Engineering Associate IV who plays a vital role in the project and construction management team for the Sixth Street Viaduct Division.
- Jonelle Gardea, LA Sanitation and Environment: a Superintendent in the Livability Services Division who oversees the development of the regional facilities and deployment of the Clean Streets Teams. She is the first woman to rise through the ranks to this classification in over 30 years.
- Shabnam Shahriari & Melissa Wemesfelder, Bureau of Street Lighting: Shahriari is a Street Lighting Engineering Associate III who oversees the LED Conversion Project and Bid and Award program. Wemesfelder is a Geographic Information Systems Supervisor who manages and maintains the Street Lighting Geographic Information System.
- Gabriela Ortiz, Bureau of Street Services (StreetsLA): a Service Coordinator whose duties include supervising the StreetsLA Call Center and Level 2 Help Desk, monitoring incoming requests from constituents, handling all social media platforms for StreetsLA, and resolving constituent concerns directly with Division Managers, Council Offices and other city agencies.
“We are excited to bring attention to the amazing women from each of the five Bureaus who are doing extraordinary work in their field. We hope that this recognition will inspire more women to join us in delivering core services that make our communities more livable,” said Board of Public Works Commissioner Jessica Caloza.
Additionally, the recent appointment of Commissioner Jessica Caloza creates a female majority on a Board that is committed to delivering projects and programs that enhance quality of life, economic growth, public health and the environment to all Angelenos. These women leaders join their colleagues in prioritizing equality and diversity in the workplace and celebrating women who are shattering the glass ceiling.