The Tradeswomen Heroes Award

The Tradeswomen Heroes Award

Iron Workers 392 journeywoman wins NABTU tradeswoman hero award

Mishelle Wallace second St. Louis-area tradeswoman to receive the national award


Wallace, 54, is the second St. Louis metro area tradeswoman to be honored in the program, which began last October. Emily Gilreath, a third-year apprentice with Laborers Local 338, received an award earlier this year.

Mishelle Wallace, a 12-year member of Iron Workers Local 392, has been recognized with a North America’s Building Trades Unions (NABTU) Tradeswoman Hero Award.

Local 392 Business Manager John Schmitt nominated Wallace for the award, calling her a great asset to all tradespeople.

“Being a pillar of the community, Mishelle is always in great spirits, and she is idolized by everyone that works with or around her,” Schmitt said. “She packs and ties rods on bridge decks – some of the hardest work in the industry – and never complains.”

To underscore her strength and shining personality, Schmitt submitted a photo of Wallace (see above) after she worked a shift last year in 94-degree weather with a heat index of 102.

“The day before, a 25-year-old man went home in the morning, and on the day I took that photo of Mishelle, two young men went home early and never returned. She is extremely strong both physically and mentally.”

Wallace, of Cahokia, Ill., works for D&K Welding. She said she knew Schmitt nominated her for the award and was very surprised when she won.

“I’ve never won anything like this before, and I’m sure there are many other women who are more deserving,” Wallace said. “But it’s an honor.”

Wallace is a second-generation iron worker following in her uncle’s footsteps. Her son Arlandis Henderson, 23, is a Local 392 apprentice who joined the union last year.

“He joined because he thought I was rich,” she joked.

Wallace said when she joined Local 392, she honestly thought she was going to be on a street holding a sign.

“It was hard work, but once you get in there and get the hang of it, it becomes easier,” she said. “Plus, I enjoy the people I work with, and I like being outdoors and the travel.”

NABTU’s Tradeswomen Heroes Awards program recognizes four tradeswomen each month who lead by example and perform their duties at an outstanding level. The program honors two apprentices and two journey-level workers in the United States and Canada.

To learn more about the program email us at


Tradeswomen Heroes Award NABTU’s Tradeswomen’s Committee and Apprenticeship and Training Committee created a new initiative - the Tradeswomen Heroes Award - to honor the dedicated tradeswomen within NABTU’s 14 affiliate unions.

This award will recognize four tradeswomen each month - two apprentices and two journey-level workers - to highlight on NABTU’s website and social media pages. See below for information on how to make a nomination, and what will go into the selection process.

Nominations - Form Linked Here

  • Nominations can be made by members of the Apprenticeship and Training Committee, Tradeswomen’s Committee, and Governing Board of Presidents, as well as by Council Leaders, and Business Managers.
  • To make a nomination, fill out the form linked above. Please be prepared to submit a bio and photo for each Tradeswoman that you nominate.
  • Nominees must be in good standing with their local union and display outstanding leadership on and off the job site.

Selections - Form Linked Here

  •  After a few weeks fielding nominations, NABTU will share the complete list once a month with a sub-committee consisting of members from NABTU’s Tradeswomen’s Committee and Apprenticeship and Training Committee.
  • This sub-committee will then vet and select their four top choices (two apprentices and two journey-level workers) using the form linked above.
  • NABTU will then determine which tradeswomen got the most selections and will post the award winners’ pictures and bios on social media and the NABTU website. The deadline to submit a nomination for next month is October 1. Please contact Kaitlyn Seger ( and William Ponds ( with any questions or comments regarding this award.

TRADESWOMAN HERO: Mishelle Wallace, an Iron Workers Local 392 journeywoman, has been recognized with a North America’s Building Trades Unions Tradeswoman Hero Award. Her strength and shining personality are shown here in a photo from July 8, 2020, after working in 94-degree weather with a heat index of 102. – John Schmitt/Iron Workers Local 392 photo

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Start your apprenticeship training in the union trades today

Start your apprenticeship training in the union trades today

Apprenticeship training will help you increase your future earnings potential & opportunities for you and your family!  The Union Building & Construction Trades in Northeastern Wisconsin are providing many opportunities for individuals and students just graduating from high school looking for a career in the unions.  We are here to help you get started with your apprenticeship.

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Looking For A Career in Construction in Northeast Wisconsin?

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