A Spark of Inspiration: Women in Trades

Women in trades currently represent a small percentage of the workforce. As the skilled trade job market is projected to grow by 8.4 million jobs by 2029, there are numerous opportunities for women to start or grow a career in the skilled trades industry.

Written by Ashleen Brydum


With the proper training and a spark of inspiration, the sky is the limit for women entering the industry. Here’s a compilation of a few women who have already left their mark on the industry, will you be the next one to join them?


Tina Gleisner – Building Maintenance and Repair

Women in trades were once rare, however, more and more frequently women are taking over companies or even starting their own. One of those women is Tina Gleisner, owner of HomeTipsForWomen. Her company publishes guides and offers workshops to assist women in learning everything they need to know about improving their own home.

After a successful career at IBM, Gleisner was laid off, just shy of retirement. She decided to pull herself up by her bootstraps and took to doing what she knew – fixing houses. As someone who had owned 15 houses in 5 different states throughout her life, Gleisner had a wealth of knowledge. She was ready to share that knowledge with others who needed it. She started a handyman business which she ran for eight years. Now, Gleisner has transitioned to focusing more on homeowner education. She not only has found a great path for her skillset, but also gives back to and inspires other women to follow in her footsteps. Gleisner is an inspiration not just to women in trades, but anyone faced with new challenges at a later stage in life.


Alice H. Parker – HVAC

A black and white drawing from Alice H. Parker's Patented design for a heating system. This was a significant addition to the HVAC world, and therefore shows how Alice one of the significant women in trades
Alice H. Parker’s Patented Design Source: US Patent Database

Alice H. Parker defied odds and made significant contributions to the world of HVAC. Born in 1895 in New Jersey, not much is known about her life. She received a certificate from Howard University Academy in 1910 and soon started looking at ways to better the environment around her. One day, Parker was observing her fireplace, and decided she wanted a better way to warm her house. Parker ended up inventing and patenting a system of central heating using natural gas in 1919. This discovery influenced the way modern HVAC systems work, as it laid the groundwork for natural gas and ducts to be used in heating different areas. It also marked one of the early times in history a Black woman was granted a US patent. Parker’s work was significant for the world of HVAC and for all women in trades. We are proud to celebrate her this Women’s History Month


Heather Holler – Auto Technician

Heather Holler did not always envision herself as an auto mechanic. She grew up with dreams of going semi-pro in soccer. However, that all changed when she attended her first autocross event. She was hooked, and quickly sold her SUV so that she could purchase a car she could work on. She attended a technical school in Sacramento, and after graduation became a full-time mechanic for Subaru Motorsports USA.

Holler pivoted her career and found a new passion in the trade industry. She now reaps the joys of her work and others are noticing too. Holler was a top mechanic at the DirtFish Rally School and recently became a mechanic for the Hyundai Motorsport GmbH World Rally Championship test team. Holler has been inspired by other women in trades, like Jessi Combs, who set a land speed record for women, and is now inspiring other women herself.


Pa’Trice Frazier – Welding

Pa’Trice Frazier realized she was a “loch ness monster” of sorts when it came to her field. As there are not many women in trades, and even less Black women, she realized that she was unique in her field. After obtaining countless welding certifications, Frazier took her knowledge and unique talent and put it to work. While still utilizing her welding skills, Frazier has also used her talents to become a motivational speaker. She hopes to inspire other women to take up welding as she believes women are uniquely situated to become master welders. Frazier’s tenacity, drive, and unique perspective on life make her a great role-model for other women as they look to enter the world of trades.


About Tidewater Tech

Tidewater Tech is a career training school that specializes in trade vocations including Auto Technician, Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning (HVAC), Building Maintenance and Repair and Welding. The school offers professional facilities, knowledgeable instructors, day or evening classes, job placement assistance, and is accredited by the Commission of the Council on Occupational Education (COE). Tidewater Tech is certified to Operate by SCHEV. Learn more at www.tidewatertechtrades.edu or like them on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/TidewaterTech.edu/.