Two Hard Hats: Infrastructure Prep Onsite & In-House

by Diana Barnum

Central Engineering and Construction Assoc., Inc (CECAI) not only preps infrastructure sites, they prep their employees with an infrastructure of people sympathetic to their cause. CECAI is a member of the National Association of Women in Construction (NAWIC), a national group established to benefit women employed in the various phases of the construction industry. NAWIC participants Karen Horth Powers, owner of CECAI, Bettie Mitchell, CECAI assistant and president of their NAWIC chapter #34, and Li-Ching Wu, a CECAI engineer, enjoy wearing two hard hats — promoting the construction industry in their community and building new communities.
“We’re building housing sites - all earth moving and infrastructure, water lines, road prep, building pads,” said Karen Horth Powers. “And we’re involved in NAWIC. We’ve been with NAWIC for 20 years.”
An in-progress 5-year $5 million project at Hamilton Proper involves establishing housing sites around the golf course. Several pieces of equipment are favorites onsite- Terex TS14 specialty scrapers, dozers, excavators, Cat 815 compactors, John Deere 310 rubber tire back hoes and Cat C963 track loaders, popular for being durable workhorses.
Favorite small dozers are the hardy John Deere 550 and RoadGrader 570B. Workers like their maneuverability, small size and easy maintenance. Holt Equipment Company of Indiana is their John Deere dealer.
For larger dozers, CECAaI has Cat D6s and D7s. The DC6 boasts a 3116T engine, yields 153 hp gross, and 140 hp flywheel. While the DC7 carries a 3306T engine, yields 247 hp gross and 230 hp flywheel. MacAllister machinery Co., Inc. is their Cat dealer.

Top excavators are the Komatsu PC 400 and PC300, chosen for their ease of operation.
“They have a smooth ride, not jerky,” said Powers.
Other excavators are the John Deere 450 and smaller Case 1080.
In addition to using their equipment for infrastructure site prep work, the women at CECAI network with NAWIC’s infrastructure to promote the construction industry. NAWIC industry objectives focus on:
• Encouraging cooperation and a better understanding in the construction industry
• The promotion of fellowship and goodwill among members of the organization
• The promotion of education and services to the construction industry.
Block Kids
NAWIC President Bettie Mitchell described several programs that they participate in. Block Kids is designed to create an awareness and promote an interest in the field of construction for all elementary children in grades 1 - 6. Children are given 100 Lego blocks, and a choice of three items - string, foil, a rock or posterboard. Then they are given 45 minutes to build something. Contests are sponsored on a local level at NAWIC Chapters. Local winners advance to Regional competition. And one semi-finalist from each Region competes at National level.
CECAI gave a presentation to their local Girl Scouts, discussing women in construction opportunities. The Girl Scouts in turn hosted Block Kids. More than 40 children enjoyed the educational event. During the main construction event activities, there were side-liners, like a nailing contest and a toothpick and gumdrop construction contest. Children could pound nails in wood and construct unique “creations” with toothpicks and gumdrops, if they finished their Block Kids project early.
Scholarship Programs
NAWIC offer scholarship opportunities on both national and local levels. CECAI helps generate funds for these programs through events like their annual golf outing in July. They award six or seven scholarships to Indiana college students in a construction-related field, depending on need and money available.
For more information about the dual hard hats of CECAI, contact them at Central Engineering and Construction Assoc., Inc., 3862 N. Commercial Pkwy, Greenfield, IN 46140. Call: (317) 894-1990, or fax inquiries to: (317) 894-1890. To learn more about the NAWIC, write to National Association of Women in Construction, 327 S. Adams St., Fort Worth, Texas 76104. Call: (817) 877-5551, toll free (800) 552-3506 or fax inquiries to: (817) 877-0324. E-mail: