In 2019, RISE UP was formed as an evolution of the Women in Construction group which was started in 2015 by leaders in the construction industry who recognized that there was an interest and energy from women who felt that they were uniquely positioned to have a positive impact on the industry.

Now as RISE UP, the group is designed to empower and stand with diversity in the construction industry. This means supporting women, minority and veteran-owned subcontractors, prime contractors and being an instrumental force in supporting workforce development within the local construction industry.

RISE UP is committed to assisting Construction Exchange members and visitors who are already certified or looking to be certified as a WBE, MBE, and/or SDVOB. 

Please message Construction Exchange Membership Director, Adam Guglielmi at and you will be directed to one of our advisory partners to assist you with maintaining or obtaining your certification.

To request more information on or to join RISE UP, please message Danielle Bickel at

RISE UP’s Annual Q1 Curling Party at Buffalo Riverworks brings over 200 people to mix, mingle and learn more making a difference in the Western NY construction industry.

Steering Committee Members

  • Danielle Bickel (Chair), Upstate Rebar
  • Michelle Barber (Co-chair), United Materials
  • Kelly Maloney (Chair of Workforce Development Committee), Gilbane
  • Mary Szustak (Co-chair MWBE Committee), NW Contracting
  • Arnie Collier (Co-chair MWBE Committee), Iroquois Bar
  • Karen Antonelli (Immediate Past Chair), Chiampou Travis Besaw & Kershner
  • Mike Anderson, Abstract Architecture
  • Caryn Ciotti, Will Scot
  • Grace Dettelis, Ideal Concrete
  • Gail Ettaro, Arc Building Partners
  • Elizabeth Kraengel, Duke, Holzman, Photiadis & Gresens, LLP
  • Madonna Hostuttler, Northern Dreams Construction
  • Minesh Patel, Buffalo & Erie County Workforce Development Consortium
  • Cathy Pera, Bison Scaffold & Mason’s Supply
  • Luis Rodriguez, Rodriguez Construction
  • Tom Saia, Iroquois Bar Corp
  • Nicole Savage, NW Contracting

Committee Advisors

  • Janique Curry, ECMC, MWBE Compliance Office
  • Geraldine Ford, Empire State Development
  • Rebecca Gandour, City of Buffalo, Office of Strategic Planning
  • Susan A. McCartney, PhD, MBA, SUNY Buffalo State Small Business Development Center
  • Jillian Johnson, Veterans One-Stop Center of WNY
  • Stephanie Pennington, LeChase Construction 
  • Dolly Randle, CASNY
  • Sara Veschio, Women’s Business Center at Canisius College