In 1986 with her first employment opportunity as a construction worker, Herlema Owens later gained membership and worked under the auspices of the Excavators Union Local 731 in 1987. The most notable projects of which she has toiled are: Airtrain Terminal Building, Jamaica Station/ Long Island Railroad Rehabilitation Project, Citi Field, Phase 1 of the Atlantic Yards Project, Phase 3 of America Airlines and a foreman for John P. Picone Inc. to name a few.

In January 2011, Ms. Owens launched the first banner program: “Building Success  with  AWCWA” Pre-Construction Training Program to empower and change the economic structure for women and minorities (including youth, veterans and formerly incarcerated) and disadvantaged and undeserved individuals across America.