02 Jun Weld like a Boss with Lashanna Ingraham
Episode 44: Welcome to the She Builds Show, I’m your host, Stefanie Olson. I’m excited to introduce you to my very special guest, in my opinion, a straight badass, Lashanna Ingraham. Lashanna is a certified master welder and iron worker who has worked on high rises, to Chevron refineries, and is extremely passionate about encouraging women in the trades.
Ready? Let’s go…
• I was in 342, the local plumbers and pipe fitters union, and it wasn’t challenging enough. Plumbing was cool, was good money, it was consistent work and things like that. But I work with my hands and I like to, I’m an artist and creator, a natural creator, and so being able to go out in the field as a welder and build the infrastructures. And while you’re welding, it’s a literal art form, the weaving, the beading, the banging, the hammering and putting together, and building and constructing… It’s an art and I loved it. I remember it reminded me of playing with the Lincoln Logs when I was little. My grandfather had got me the Lincoln Logs and I just… I would spend hours on that thing, and it just reminded me of that in fulfillment, after seeing the buildings constructed and things like that. (02:22)
• You know what is something about a woman, we can do, you we’re super heroes. We can do any fricking thing we put our mind to. There is no way anyone could tell me that, they’re like, Yeah, I just can’t, I just don’t have a talent, you do, you do… You have to find it within you and believe in yourself. Seriously? And so from there, I end up passing the test, I had to… They let you in my class? I put it on the table, the CW, I inspected it and it was wrap… He bent it. No cracks, no nothing. I tested, I certified on my very freaking first day, and from there I was in a panic because I’m like, Oh shoot, I really got to do this, and I started in the backyard just running bubble beans, just figuring out how to do it. (05:36)
• So I got dispatched from the union to go to Chevron refinery, and I worked in the well Bay, and there’s where I got a chance to be amongst a lot of the OG’s, old-timers that have been welding for a long time and traveling the world welding, all very versatile. And I just kind of cuddled myself under their wings, every time they were doing something, I watched, I worked, worked, worked all the time. I was always on the table doing something, my downtime, I was practicing my tag, I was practicing my flex Corp and anything and everything I could get my hands on to do, and to practice, to better benefit myself in the craft I did, for sure. (09:16)
• So I travel the country as a minister, and I do go on individual mission trips and things like that. So I was very keen on leadership skills and things like that, so when I get on the job… It worked really well because I’m able to say, Hey, you know, put that boss figure upfront, I don’t have to build myself, I just be me and… You have a lot more respect, people are listening to you. I’m able to be in the office for 1-on-1 with the head notches, and things like that, and really expand my scope in the trade. I felt like working independently was really beneficial for me, working as a female welder in the trades, it was a lot more freedom, and it was a lot more fun too. Had people who are a lot more well-rounded? You know the union. I love the union, don’t get me wrong, I always recommend people, young ladies to this day. Go Union so that you get to work. But it molded me and it gave me the tough skin that I needed in the union. (16:18)
• I’ll be working on shoes, or boots are coming up, that’s in the plan, everything that we need to be equipped out in the field. We’re starting with more welding, then we’re going to… I am, I always say we’re, but it’s just me… Sounds professional. right? And we’re going to be developing clothing for women who are in the painting field, carpenters, something constructed for them, something that is mechanically fit, makes sense for the job that they’re doing. Because different jobs… You’re moving in different ways, you need different little hooks and fingers and stuff like that, but then at the same time with this first line with the pants and things like that, I really… I got to keep a fashionable touch. Like for example, we have this full stretch bottom, because when you were wearing the boots, say If you’re going to walk over some some rebar or decking or something. You know, your pants can become a safety hazard when they’re open, flared, opened boot, tripping… Oh my God, but I’ve seen many people fall flat on their face. (31:15)
ABOUT LASHANNA INGRAHAM:
Lashanna is a multi-certified master welder and iron worker. Lashanna entered into the trades in 2008, After completing apprentice training program Cypress Mandela, plumbing and pipe fitting weren’t enough for Lashanna so she switched over to structural steel welding, equipped with the certifications and training that she needed to break chains and boundaries throughout her experience as a woman in the field, Tackling big projects like Chevron refinery and working with the WWII ships on Maryland was adventurous. Lashanna has taken part in restoring and building various historical buildings throughout her local city of Sacramento all the way to the Bay Area, she has built Sacramento’s golden one center, Marriott hotels, luxury apartments, hospitals, high-rises even a BART station just to name a few. She is an incredible leader who is not afraid to take risks and pursue her dreams. Lashanna has traveled back-and-forth from the United States to Ethiopia sharing her knowledge about building and trades work.
She has also donated materials and equipment to local schools and welding shops in the county. Lashanna is married with a 5 year old son. Raised by her grandparents in Dunnigan, CA, growing up on a farm was the best thing that could have ever happened to her it was where she learned first class work ethic from her world war two veteran grandfather. Nowadays when Lashanna isn’t hanging iron she advocates for women in the trades and shares her experience as a woman in this male-dominated field. Standing as a conduit to women all around the world who has a desire for more Lashanna is the CEO of “Ingraham”, a brand whose mission is to provide comfort fit work wear for women who work in the trades. Lashanna is looking to break the chains to stereotypical bondage by using her story and voice to encourage Women that this is her world too. Lashanna Ingraham has been featured in several blogs, including The Fabricators Magazine, you can also find her on her YouTube channel and social media Instagram page.
CONNECT WITH LASHANNA:
• Website: https://leyudesigns.com
• YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9NxvX0OG3QY
• Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/thefashionwelder
WAYS TO CONNECT WITH STEFANIE…
• Website: https://shebuildshomes.com
• Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/shebuildsbetter
• Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/shebuilds.homes
• YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/shebuildsshow