Glazier to Union Leader: An Interview With Trailblazer Madison Hull

Labor Unions

In celebration of Women’s History Month, Withum’s Multiemployer Benefit Plans and Labor Unions Service Partner, Jessica Roster, had an insightful conversation with Madison Hull, the Director of Service and President at District Council 16 International Union of Painters & Allied Trades. Madison’s professional journey is nothing short of remarkable. As a Glazier and Architectural Metal & Glass Worker, she has not only excelled in her trade, but also emerged as a dedicated union leader and a community activist.

Madison shares insights into her career journey, her vision for the future of District Council 16, and advice for young women embarking on their professional journeys. Read the full article to learn more about Madison’s story.

Q & A With Madison Hull

Madison Hull

Quick Facts

  • Where did you grow up?
    • Reno, Nevada
  • What is your favorite quote?
    • “Be the change that you wish to see in the world” – Mahatma Gandhi
  • When you are not working, where would we find you?
    • Definitely the golf course, yoga studio, out running trails and most recently, Peloton!

Tell me a little bit about your career journey and role as Director of Service and President of District Council 16.

Madison: You’re taking me back in time! I am nearing the 23rd year of my career. My journey into the trades began in community college, where I enrolled in skilled trade classes at Laney College in Oakland, CA. During my semester, a woman named Beth Youhn from Tradeswomen, Inc. (an organization I am still a part of today) came in. She talked about Apprenticeship and career pathways into different trade careers, and the door opened for me. Soon after, I was accepted into the Glazier Architectural Metal and Glass Worker Apprenticeship program for Glaziers LU718 San Francisco. After my Apprenticeship, I ran work in the field as a Leadman, Foreman and Superintendent.

Growing up, I wasn’t too familiar with unions, so I wanted to be a positive catalyst for what I was a part of. I would always attend my union meetings and was very active. My Business Representative and fellow members would invite and educate me on how to get more involved in my union and the field, ultimately leading me to serve as the Business Representative for my local union. From there, I became the Political and Communications Director for District Council 16 International Union of Painters & Allied Trades. In 2020, I became the Director of Service, supporting all our local unions and contractors, providing services and growth for our members and contractors in an ever-expanding environment of opportunity. I have the privilege to work alongside an incredible team with a foundation and mission to lift all working people to their highest potential while earning wages, benefits, and working conditions that sustain families and build strong communities. For me, this is more than just a job; it’s a way of life.

Can you tell me about your involvement in AmeriCorps? What kind of impact has the organization had?

Madison: I volunteered when I was 19 and 20 years old and was assigned to the American Red Cross within their Disaster Relief Program in Miami and Dade County. I was trained in disaster relief and family services and was mobilized during Natural Disasters and house fires. We set up services and resources in communities when and where needed, providing shelter, food, and water. The Red Cross’s services during moments of disaster are vital, and their work continues beyond the immediate emergency. We would work with local vendors and properties to deliver transitional housing and essential necessities, connecting community resources during recovery. For me, it was eye-opening and life-changing and undoubtedly shaped who I am today.

Regarding the future of District Council 16, where do you want to see the Council in the next 5-10 years?

Madison: Thriving, growing, diversifying. I see DC 16 at the forefront of the labor movement and the leader in our industries, powered by the solidarity and strength of every member and the steadfast partnership with our contractors, builders, governments, and communities. The next generation brings fresh ideas and ways of doing business that attract the workforce of the 21st century and expand career pathways into the trades. I see the construction option in more people’s hands; college and debt aren’t for everyone. The highly skilled and trained careers available over the next 10 years are vast. I see this growth appealing to a broader workforce, and more women and non-binary folks can see themselves working in a career in the trades; I see DC16 and the IUPAT leading the way.

How are you seeing AI affect the industry?

Madison: There’s a lot of different emerging tools out there. I think embracing all of it is to our benefit. We want to extend the longevity of our workers and their bodies to enjoy retirement, and having more tools and resources that help is a win. I see it as a way to enhance jobs, not replace them.

What advice do you have for young women who are starting their careers? Is there something you wish you knew when beginning your career that you know now?

Madison: That is a great question! When I first started, I didn’t know much about construction, but it fascinated me. My advice is to keep showing up. It’s OK not to know, be afraid, or fail; just keep getting up. Probably my biggest piece of advice is to slow down a little bit. Slow down, enjoy the opportunities, and take it all in. Life is short.

As we wrap up your interview for Women’s History month, I would like to end with a fun question. If you could have dinner with any inspiring woman, who would it be and why?

Madison: It would be Michelle Obama. I admire her sturdiness and resilience. She presents grace and empowers others. She is all about uplifting people and communities. I would love to hang out with Michelle!

Interviewer: Jessica Roster, CPA, Partner | [email protected]

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For more information on this topic, please contact a member of Withum’s Labor Unions Services Team.