The Women in Concrete Alliance (WICA) - a networking organization for women in the concrete industry – has announced the winner of their first Woman of Distinction Award.

Rosa Olivia Becerra, owner/president of Cortamex, a diamond blade supplier in Tijuana, Mexico, was voted the winner of the first Award for her dedication to her customers. “This is a touching and proud moment in my career,” said Becerra, “The success I have had is founded on the beliefs that if you work hard and are passionate about what you do, you will be rewarded regardless of gender. Combine this thinking with exceeding customer expectations and you have my formula for running my company.”

Becerra began her construction career as a bookkeeper for her brother’s concrete cutting company and eventually took over when he left. An example of her dedication is shown during the initial blade testing of a project. Several competitors, manufacturers and representatives visited the job and dropped off sample blades for testing. The next morning the competitors arrived “early” with coffee in hand and after a good night’s rest. Becerra was already on the job. She had never left, and had been at the facility all night. Needless to say, she was awarded that job and many more. Her tireless devotion to her company and her clients make her a Woman of Distinction.

When asked about her success in the male-dominated construction industry, Becerra responded, “Take the time to find out where your customer feels he or she needs improvement. Then go out and find a way to help that situation. Resolve the issue one time and then they are happy. Do it a second time and they are surprised. Do it a third time and you have a loyal customer.”

The Women of Distinction Award was voted on by the participants of the Women in Concrete Luncheon and Forum at the World of Concrete in January. Honorees of the Award include Lori Tiefenthaler, vice president - sustainability and marketing communications at Lehigh Hanson, Inc., Martha VanGeem, a principal engineer and manager at CTLGroup, and Jo Coke, an early founder of Women in ACI and the first woman president of ACI.

According to Kari Moosmann, co-founder of WICA, the Award was created to celebrate women in the industry.

“It was so encouraging to see how involved the women were with choosing the recipient of the Award,” said Moosmann. “This Award really means a lot to the women who voted and the nominees. I believe it will help reinforce that women are a valued resource in the concrete construction industry.”

WICA co-founder Kimberly Kayler noted that Becerra truly signifies the spirit of the Women in Concrete Alliance.

“Rosa Olivia Becerra embodies the true meaning of this Award and WICA – forging the way so other women will have opportunities and sharing the experiences to make a better marketplace for us all,” said Kayler. The Woman of Distinction Award gives us a chance to celebrate heroes such as Becerra.”

To submit a nomination for next year’s Woman of Distinction Award, visit the News/Events page at Voting will occur at the 2012 Women in Concrete Luncheon.

The WICA was started by co-founders Moosmann, former managing editor of Concrete Construction magazine, and Kayler, president of Constructive Communication, Inc. The idea for an ongoing network began with Hanley Wood’s Women in Concrete (WIC) event at World of Concrete. The spirit of Women in Concrete was kept alive through the year by profiles of readers that appeared in a regular column in The Concrete Producer and Concrete Construction magazines. Requests for a more continuous connection sparked the idea for the Alliance. WICA strives to go beyond these initial efforts and reach women on a continuous basis to create an industry alliance that serves the needs of all women in concrete.

The Advisory Board that directs the focus of the Women in Concrete Alliance consists of Diana Sanicki, Marketing Manager, Doka USA, Ltd.; Janet Ong, Marketing Director, CTS Cement Manufacturing Corporation; Jenne Imholte-Decker, Paving Sales Manager, Simplex Construction, Supplies, Inc.; Patti Flesher, Media Relations Manager, Portland Cement Association; Kitty Hoyle, President, Wellington Hamrick, Inc.; Anne Ellis, PE, Vice President, AECOM; and Shelby Mitchell, Associate Editor, The Concrete Producer magazine.

For more information on the Women in Concrete Alliance, e-mail [email protected], or go to, Women in Concrete facebook fan page, Women in Concrete group on LinkedIn, or follow Women in Concrete on twitter.