Tradeswomen Archives

Jan Jenson and Shelly Postlewait Roberts - first mother-daughter Ironworkers in the USA - for over 20 years!

Dublin Core

Title

Jan Jenson and Shelly Postlewait Roberts - first mother-daughter Ironworkers in the USA - for over 20 years!

Description

First Mother-Daughter Ironworkers in the United States!!??

Jan Postlewait Jenson discovered she couldn’t raise a daughter
on minimum wage after a divorce in 1974, so when a powerhouse
started in central North Dakota in 1975, she started working on the
dirt crew, counting loads... then upgraded to the underground pipe
crew, driving a scraper, push cat and backhoe ... and in 1976 was
accepted as the first woman ironworker in North Dakota!

She achieved JIW (journey(wo)man) card in 1979 and decided to
become a “boomer” after working with so many men from all over
the world on 3 powerhouses and a coal gasification plant in North
Dakota between 1975 and 1980. In April 1980 Jan boomed out to
Montana and worked on a new coal mine for 6 months. A half hour
after that job finished, she called the union halls in Anchorage and
San Francisco — both states had LOTS of work, so after a coin
flip - she headed to San Francisco!!

10 years in the Bay Area were “the best years of my life” recalls
Jan. Shelly decided to follow in “mom’s footsteps” and was
accepted into Ironworkers Local 377 apprenticeship in San
Francisco in 1983, graduating in the summer of 1986.
The HUGE earthquake in 1989 spurred an urge to “boom out”
again - this time to Maui, where Jan worked on the Maui Airport
then the Grand Hyatt.. with more than 50 women from almost
every trade! “We hardly ever saw each other - that job was so
HUGE.... but we DID manage to take this picture at the topping
out party! 20+women worked at night and missed our photo op.
Jan is now happily retired, lives in central North Carolina andworks
3 days a week, does ad sales & marketing for several publications,
does website order fulfillment for Breathing.com and has
launched an rawfood potluck discussion group, newzine and website: www.WELLthyChoices.net.

Shelly worked 5 years for Carolina Steel & Stone (Charlotte)
before moving to Tacoma, WA in summer 2003 where she helped
build 2 prototype barges for the Navy. She’s making new friends
among tradeswomen in greater Seattle and wants to meet more!

Now she's "retired" from ironworking and working as flagger on road and railroad construction in North Dakota (2014).

We both attended the National Tradeswomen's Conference in Sacramento in April 2014 (Shelly for the first time) and she was blown away by all the wonderful women she met! Like me... she would have given anything to have that kind of sistership and moral support when we were both still ironworkers!

Thanks TONS to Jeanne Park, Local 377 for the FABULOUS Ironworker Women's calendars she's been putting together for MANY years! I, and many times a joint pic of us both, has been in every issue of the calendar since it started being printed! THANKS Jeanne!!!

Files

J&S-1986.JPG

Citation

[Unknown User], “Jan Jenson and Shelly Postlewait Roberts - first mother-daughter Ironworkers in the USA - for over 20 years!,” Tradeswomen Archives, accessed December 14, 2017, http://tradeswomenarchives.com/items/show/295.