Ashton White is a two-time national champion in the SkillsUSA Masonry Competition and an encouraging voice for women in the skilled trades. We featured her on our Facebook Live show with Kayleen McCabe back in May, and she recently took the time to share more about her success in masonry, which you can read in the Q&A below.
Hailing from Salisbury, NC, Ashton went to West Rowan High School, where the CTE (Career and Technical Education) program offered masonry and carpentry classes. She continued her studies at UNC-Charlotte and graduated in May 2022 with a BS degree in Construction Management. She’s taking the summer of 2022 off to travel and go to masonry competitions, and she also represents several masonry companies on social media.
How did you get interested in the skilled trades, and in masonry in particular?
I watched the SkillsUSA State Masonry Competition my sophomore year of high school, and it immediately captured my attention. I thought it was so neat these students were able to build something by themselves with no other help. I didn’t see many females, and looked at it as an opportunity to show that females could be in a male-dominated field too.
What do you enjoy about masonry?
I enjoy that masonry is hands-on and I’m able to do something myself. I get to look back at what I’ve done and be proud that I’ve accomplished something on my own. On a job, it takes teamwork, but in a competition it’s just me and what I know. I take pride in what I do and feel like I’m not just building something for someone else, but building a good life for myself.
What competitions and awards have you won?
I won the North Carolina SkillsUSA State Masonry Competition in 2018 and 2019, which qualified me for Nationals. I went on to win the SkillsUSA National Masonry Competition those two years, becoming the first female to do so!
What are some of your favorite memories or special moments from your time in the skilled trades so far?
My favorite memories are all the fun times I’ve had at competitions. It’s not just about competing, but getting to know people in the industry and making friends. I’ve met so many great people through competing, and it has opened so many doors for me. I’ve been able to represent companies at the World of Concrete like Stabila and Spec Mix, because they know me from all the competitions I’ve been in. I love being able to represent women in the industry, help get others excited to be in the trades and show that it’s a field for anyone.
What is your message to women who aspire to the a career in the skilled trades?
You can do it! Just because others say, “It’s a man’s job,” that doesn’t mean there’s no room for you or that you can’t do it. You can do anything you want! If it’s your passion, pursue it. There are so many other women in the trades out there that will support and cheer you on.