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Celebrating Women in Construction: Ronda Wilke Takes Center at Inaugural Caterpillar Women In Construction Event

Rondalee represented Ring Power at Caterpillar's Inagural Women in Construction Event.

With just three years of experience operating heavy equipment, Rondalee “Ronda” Wilke is already making waves. Ronda, an operator with Tampa-based Burgess Civil LLC, recently embarked on an inspiring journey to Caterpillar’s Edward J. Rapp Customer & Training Center in Clayton, North Carolina. Her destination? Caterpillar’s inaugural “Celebrating Women in Construction” event.

This groundbreaking gathering brought together eighteen female operators representing 14 Cat dealers from across North and South America. Ronda’s positive attitude and glowing personality earned her a legion of fans at the event. She not only demonstrated her equipment operation skills but also cheered on fellow operators and spoke passionately about being a woman in a male-dominated industry. Ronda shared her experiences, the challenges she has faced, and her hope for increasing female representation in the field.

The camaraderie among operators was palpable as they connected through shared stories and common experiences. They also had the privilege of hearing from motivational speaker Tammy Barlette, a retired Lieutenant Colonel in the US Air Force. Tammy’s remarkable career as a warplane fighter, combined with her role as a family woman, broke boundaries and inspired everyone present.

The event wasn’t all talk—operators put their skills to the test in three challenging competitions:

ROCK ‘N’ ROLL - Small Wheel Loader Skills Test

Machine: Cat® 938 Small Wheel Loader

Objective: Move material through a course to achieve a weight of 7.0 to 7.5 tons. Then, change over to forks and use them to move a pallet.

HAMMER TIME - Compact Track Loader Skills Test

Machine: Cat® 265 Compact Track Loader (NEWLY LAUNCHED MACHINE)

Objective: Navigate an obstacle course with multi-machine functions.

TONS OF FUN - Small Hydraulic Excavator Skills Test

Machine: Cat® 315 Small Excavator

Objective: Load a truck to achieve a payload of 10.0 tons.

Ronda expressed her pride in being part of a company that invests in allowing and supporting people to learn. She emphasized that Burgess Civil, LLC is actively breaking the stigma that construction is exclusively for men. Ronda’s words resonate:

“Women ARE welcomed in Construction, especially here at Burgess!”

Burgess Civil currently employs five female equipment operators and actively visits schools to introduce construction careers to children. Their commitment to fostering diversity and encouraging women in the field is commendable.

We extend a heartfelt thank you to Burgess Civil, LLC for allowing their talented female equipment operator, Rondalee “Ronda” Wilke, to participate in Caterpillar’s Celebrating Women in Construction inaugural event. Ronda’s dedication and determination serve as an inspiration to all, proving that barriers can be broken, and ceilings can be shattered, one skilled operator at a time

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