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March 3-7, 2026

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Cycle of Empowerment: How Tonya Hicks is Building a Path for Women in Construction



Tonya Hicks turned a summer job in the construction industry into a decades-long career where she helps other women find their path in male-dominated industries. From curious college student to CEO, Tonya has always worked hard while overcoming personal and institutional challenges.

With a background in mathematics, Tonya was drawn to construction after observing electricians at work, recognizing the application of mathematics in the field. This realization led her to abandon her math scholarship for an apprenticeship with the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers. This pivotal and bold decision marked the beginning of her groundbreaking career in a field where women are vastly underrepresented, something she now spends her time working to change.

Tonya started Power Solutions at the age of 28. As President/CEO, Tonya’s typical day involves engaging with potential clients, project stakeholders and fellow CEOs, focusing on negotiating deals and managing supply chains to align with project schedules. Tonya has a passion for electrical work and clean energy, especially in helping to solve problems related to electrification, sustainability and EV charging infrastructure. "I love everything about electrical work and clean energy."


Tonya was the first woman to achieve the status of inside journeyman wireman in the IBEW Local 917 in her hometown of Meridian, Mississippi, and the first African American woman to become an IBEW journeyman electrician in the state of Mississippi.

Tonya faced "racism, discrimination, sexism, and bias" But she stayed strong and worked hard, always knowing her own self-worth. "I overcame the adversity because I believed in myself and had a strong moral compass," she says, showing her spirit of perseverance and courage. “There was nothing they could do to make believe I couldn’t do the work. I knew I was smart and capable. I knew that if God opened this door for me, no man could close it.”

Tonya took every opportunity to learn what she could and made friends with anyone that was willing, noting that “You can’t get where you’re going by yourself. Never be afraid to ask questions or for help.”


Discussing the challenges of balancing work and life, Tonya does not shy away from the systemic obstacles faced by women working in construction: “Our system in America isn’t structured in a way to support women that work. Childcare is expensive, the lack of flexibility to work from home still exists, and sick/leave-time is non-existent for most jobs. During my career I’ve been affected by all these things.”

She advises other women to be kind to themselves. "You can’t be everything to everybody every day. Give yourself permission to drop the ball somewhere or several areas," she says, offering a candid reflection on her approach to work-life balance.

As a single mother, Tonya's leverages her "village" to juggle motherhood and her career. "I’ve always had a cleaning lady. My family and friends helped to watch my sons when I traveled for business," she explains, highlighting the importance of community and mutual support. “I used my village. I supported other mothers, and they supported me. Regardless of my circumstances, I was determined to make it work for me.”

I knew I was smart and capable. I knew that if God opened this door for me, no man could close it.

Tonya Hicks

President/CEO, Power Solutions


Tonya's commitment to mentorship is profound, both as a recipient and a provider: "I mentor women and men all the time. It’s very important for me to give back." This ethos is a cornerstone of her career, underpinning her belief in the power of shared knowledge and support.

Through her leadership positions and initiatives, such as founding Women Do Everything to help women find and thrive in male dominated industries and serving as the past president of the South Atlanta Chapter of the National Association of Women in Construction (NAWIC), Tonya actively works toward integrating more women into construction and other male-dominated industries. Today, about 10 percent of the construction industry is women, while only 3 percent of electricians are women.

She candidly shares that the industry has a long way to go for women, but she envisions a more inclusive future. "Women are still an underutilized commodity in our industry," she says, “I hope new businesses started by women and men that support women can change that.”


Despite the industry's slow pace in becoming more inclusive for women, Tonya believes in its potential for change. Her pragmatic advice to women entering the field underscores the importance of finding supportive environments and advocating for accountability within workplace cultures.

Her advice for women just starting in the industry: “Work for a company that supports women and holds people accountable for bad behavior.”

Looking ahead, Tonya believes that the industry will open more to women – but not without hard work by everyone and significant shifts. “If the culture of the industry doesn’t change and embrace women, they won’t stay.”


Reflecting on her accolades, Tonya cherishes the recognition from her peers, especially being named the Minority Contractor of the Year during the pandemic. This recognition stands out for Tonya, who says "it’s often hard to earn their respect, let alone have them recognize your accomplishments publicly."

Tonya's journey shows the power of determination to overcome the multifaceted challenges faced by women in the construction industry. Her story is not just one of personal achievement but a testament for change, where women are no longer underutilized but celebrated and integral to the construction world.

"Being a woman in construction gives you the opportunity to see the world and build the future," she reflects. “You can take your skills anywhere in the world and they are needed.”

Connect with Tonya on LinkedIn.

Learn more about Women Do Everything.

Stay tuned to the CONEXPO-CON/AGG 365 newsletter as we continue to share stories from women working in construction.

Photos courtesy of Tonya Hicks and Audra Melton

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