It all started when...

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Our focus it to highlight Women In Construction, Power UP Inc.'s monthly feature recognizes the success and diversity of the female workforce within the construction industry. Learn how these women, along with young students, continue to improve the diversity and status in the construction industry.


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Felicia Cullars

Felicia Cullars currently serves as the Georgia Department of Education STEM/STEAM Program Specialist and has also served on many panels advocating for STEM/STEAM education in Georgia schools. In addition to working with the Georgia STEM/STEAM programs, she works with Georgia CTAE to promote students in nontraditional careers.  One area of focus in that role is promoting females in construction, welding, engineering and many other STEM fields. Felicia has been an educator for over 15 years, and her primary areas of educational leadership are in the disciplines of mathematics and STEM education. She holds a master’s degree in mathematics education from Walden University and a specialist degree in educational leadership from Georgia College and State University.

I discovered my interest in the construction industry as an adult when I completed an externship with RW Allen Construction.  It wasn’t until that experience I noticed how much mathematics was involved in the career field.  I was able to experience the ultimate “Math playground” and change my perceptions about obtaining a career in the construction industry.  I have met some dynamic women thriving in a career that is mostly male dominated.  I often ask myself “what if I met these women as a high school student”?  This speaks to my motto of “you cannot aspire to be what you cannot see”.  Our girls need to see professionals that look like them in these nontraditional career fields.  Exposure is key to making the change and I am dedicated to helping our girls find their nontraditional “Shero” to inspire them.

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As CEO of Crane Industry Services, LLC (CIS), Debbie assists companies in accelerating project completions, reducing labor and operational costs by qualifying personnel, inspecting machines and improving processes. CIS is a recognized industry expert with over 40 years’ experience in training, qualifying and certifying craft skills personnel.  Debbie travels to work sites, nationally and internationally. She oversees training conducted at its Centered on Safety Training Center ™  in the Atlanta-Carrollton, Georgia area.  

Debbie is an expert at personnel qualification auditing and assessment. She worked on a Wilson Learning International team to develop legally defensible employee selection systems. She lead the development of accredited employee certification programs. She spearheaded the largest program development work for Disney Seminars as Manager of Creative Development for Walt Disney World and was a Director of the qualification assessment program for the Ford XL 2000 initiative.  Debbie is a NCCER Master Trainer, Certified Instructor and Examiner. She is a Certified Rigger, a member of the AGC Safety Roundtable, SCOAR Workforce Development, Construction Advisory Council for FCC and a proud member of the Power Up, It’s a Mother Daughter Thing, team.

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Edna M. Weaver

Has received a Masters of Business Administration obtained from UAB and Bachelor’s of Science Electrical Engineering, University of AL. Edna has managed a project portfolio 25-30 projects, with 10-13 active at any given time. Managing an annual capital budget greater than $25M requires close attention to scope and schedule and continuous communications with several members of a dynamic team each day.


Edna’s special projects include:

-  IBEW Contract Negotiations – Emergency workforce planning coordinator (1998)

-  Alabama Power Leadership Development Program – (1998-1999)

-  Results Based Leadership – Environmental Communications Strategy (2001)

-  Generation Leadership Development Program – (2001-2002)

-  Generation Business Forum – Facilitator (2002)

-  National Kidney Foundation – Board Secretary (2005-2009)

-  Southern Company Transmission Lines Maintenance Committee (2004-2010)

-  Southern Company Communications Team – Excellence Award coordinator (2006-2010)

-  Alabama Power Service Organization – State Board (2008-2010)

-  Transmission Technology Leadership Team (2008-2010)

-  APC T&D Engineering Forum – Coordination team (2008)

-  Alabama Kidney Foundation Walk-a-Thon - Department Captain (2010)

-  APC Transmission Re-org Data Transition Team – Lead (2010)

-  Habitat for Humanity – Board of Directors (2010-2015)

-  Alabama Kidney Foundation – member since 2010, currently Board President (2017-2018

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Diane Koester-Byron

Diane Koester-Byron is the founder and sole owner of I.E. – Pacific, Inc., Escondido, California. 

I.E.-Pacific, Inc. is an award winning contractor that provides general construction and general engineering services throughout California and the Southwest. I.E.-Pacific, Inc. is a Woman-Owned, HUBZone Certified, Small Disadvantaged Business construction firm located in San Diego county. They have been providing contracting services to Federal, State and Local agencies since 1993. I.E.-Pacific, Inc. has expertise in all types of construction, including but not limited to, design-build, design-bid-build, sole-source, new construction, and renovation/repair.

Diane is the Pacific region vice chair of Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC) Jan. The Pacific Region includes members and chapters in Alaska, California, Hawaii, Oregon and Washington. She is on the board for Associated General Contractors, San Diego, Academy of Our Lady of Peace, San Diego and Associated Builders and Contractors, San Diego chapter and was chair in 2016.  

Diane received her degree in civil engineering in 1981 from the University of Missouri-Rolla.  She built IE-Pacific into one of the most successful San Diego construction firms topping $33 million in revenue for 2017, making it the in the top ten women-owned businesses in San Diego for the past 10 years. IEP’s federal construction and design-build projects can be seen throughout California and Arizona, garnering numerous awards, including Excellence in Construction awards and National Construction Safety Excellence awards. 

She has participated in SDSU’s Construction Management Mentor program and has mentored teen girls in the “Women in Engineering” at Academy of Our Lady of Peace. Diane also is on the board of Academy of Our Lady of Peace, San Diego.  Her charitable work here and in Mexico in support of children and needy adults are many, including Hogar del Nino, Todos Santos (an orphanage), providing not only financial assistance, but spending time with the children and bringing them school supplies, backpacks, and educational materials. She also supports Los Cabos Women’s Wellness Foundation providing prosthetics to women cancer survivors.

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Natalie Clark

Natalie has over ten years of industry experience in various engineering and construction roles. She currently holds the position of Staff Engineering Analyst at Southern Power. In this role, she manages the operations and maintenance of a portfolio of projects within Southern Power's solar generation renewable fleet. Southern Power owns more than 3,500 MW of renewable generation from 38 solar, wind and biomass facilities either announced, acquired or under construction from California to Maine. Natalie started her career in engineering project controls at BE&K, a global engineering and construction company that focused on engineering and construction for the pulp and paper industry. In 2008 the company announced that it would be acquired by the Houston, Texas-based construction firm Kellogg Brown and Root (KBR) and she was given the opportunity to uproot and move to a job site for a three-year green field project that included working out of a double-wide connex at a refinery expansion. Over the next 7 years, Natalie held various roles within the company that included scheduler, project coordinator, and business development representative. Birmingham born and bred, Natalie holds both a Bachelor of Science degree in Industrial Distribution and a Masters of Engineering from the University of Alabama-Birmingham (UAB). She has also earned a Masters of Business Administration from the University of North Alabama (UNA). She and her husband, Herbert, have three children – 6 year old Herbert III, 5 year old Nathan and 7 month old Carter-James. In her downtime she enjoys spending as much time as she can with her family which mainly consists of kids sporting activities, volunteering at local school events and family travels. Any “rare” extra time is spent relaxing with a good book or movie. Natalie enjoys mentoring youth and young professionals. She often tag-teams with her husband Herbert who has been a dedicated mathematics teacher and track coach for the last 16 years. She is passionate about promoting STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) fields with middle and high school girls and truly believes that all women should walk in PURPOSE – the most effective way to do it….is to do it!

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Adrienne N. Newton

Adrienne, who is a native of Birmingham, Alabama, holds a bachelor’s degree in Chemical Engineering from Howard University and has her Professional Engineer’s (PE) license.  In 2014, she earned her MBA from the University of Alabama in Birmingham.  Currently, Adrienne works for Southern Company Services in the Generation Development and Planning Group.  In this role, she is responsible for performing asset valuations to support major capital decisions including environmental compliance, retrofit/repair options and unit retirement studies on behalf of the operating companies.  Adrienne started her career with Southern Company in April 2009 as an engineer in Southern Power’s Environmental Affairs.  Since then, she has worked as a senior engineer in Southern Power’s Project Analysis and Market Assessment group and Asset Management group.  Prior to joining Southern Company, she worked for the Alabama Department of Environmental Management (ADEM) in Montgomery, AL and National Starch and Chemical Plant in Indianapolis, IN.  Adrienne is also currently serving on the Advisory Board for the YMCA Youth Center in downtown Birmingham and for Hearts of Wheels, which in a non-profit organization dedicated to helping at risk youth through transportation assistance and job training.  She is also a member of other organizations such as the National Society of Black Engineers and the Birmingham Change Fund.  She participates and volunteers with groups and activities such as iCan: Girls in Engineering and the Annual Math and Science Fun Day (Ensley, AL).  Along Adrienne’s journey, she has had the opportunity to meet smart, talented, and dynamic women in the field on engineering and construction.  It has encouraged her to reach higher as well as to have confidence in herself and hopes she can do the same for other young women interested in this area.