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
“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
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.
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.
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
“They have a smooth ride, not jerky,” said
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
• The promotion of fellowship and goodwill among members of
• The promotion of education and services to the
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 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
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: