In the male-dominated construction industry, the hard hat can be a hard hat to wear, but an online platform by Angela Cacace is challenging that status quo
By CC Kallam | Photography by John Michael Simpson
Angela Cacace’s last name means “wicked” in Italian, and yeah, she’s a boss.
At 5 feet, 2 inches, Angela hauls her own power tools to construction sites wherever she is building or remodeling a bathroom or kitchen. The first time she handled a circular saw was when she and her dad, Jerome Addis, built a deck at her first home in Cary in 2013. “And then I went on to the kitchen,” says the 35-year-old mother of two.
Angela’s husband, Vincent “Vinny” Cacace, was showing photos of her work to his colleagues, and someone suggested he submit them for a “This Old House” contest. “I actually ended up winning their national kitchen remodel of the year,” she says. “And it kind of sparked an interest in exploring it as a career.”
After graduating high school in 2004 in Maryland, Guam-born Angela worked as a barber and saved her earnings to purchase that home in Cary. “All by myself, I’m really proud of that,” Angela says. “It really was a full circle moment for me.”
As a prime example of how not everyone follows an academic path, Angela is a passionate advocate for vocational work and education. “It’s just been this really weird obsession that I had, and ironically, I could not do the traditional college track myself – I had to get to work,” she says.
MOVE OVER BOB
In 2017, Angela and Vinny moved to their home in Apex off of Martha’s Chapel Road, and she enrolled in the Building Construction Technology program at Central Carolina Community College. To her surprise, half of the class was made up of women, more than she anticipated.
“I went home that day and went on my Facebook and made a status: ‘Fun fact, half the people in my construction class are women.’ And then I joked, ‘#moveoverbob,’ and I got a really positive response.”
She received so much feedback that she created a Move Over Bob Instagram account to highlight and celebrate women in construction and other vocational trades. Angela wanted to “thank them for essentially paving the way to allow for women like myself wanting to get into the industry.”
The page expanded into a website filled with stories validating the experiences that women have had within the industry. It has enabled women to connect across the state and even globally. With a growing audience and increasing business opportunities, Angela incorporated Move Over Bob in 2019.
“[Women] need to advocate for one another,” Angela says. “And make sure that the community feels strong. Part of that is also including men who are advocating for us.”
In 2017, Angela launched A. Marie Design, a one-woman company focusing on small-scale residential projects like bathrooms, kitchens and custom remodels. She is partnering with her Raleigh-based friend, Mikki Paradis, on large-scale projects that would be better served by their combined talents. Angela says Mikki’s strengths complement her own so they formed a new company, The Bower Creative.
“[The industry] desperately needs people to get to work,” Angela says. “We have skilled labor shortages. … Demand is so strong, and supply in every way is so low. This pandemic has made building really hard. … I gotta say a shoutout to Chatham County’s [central permitting and inspections office. They’ve] been great.”
The foundation has been poured for a new 2,000-square-foot workshop and design studio on Angela and Vinny’s 5-acre property near Jordan Lake where they are raising their two kids – 4-year-old son, Miles Cacace, and 9-month-old daughter, Raffi Cacace. Angela hopes the studio space will become a gathering place for women interested in learning more about carpentry and construction.
“Every experience I’ve had in Chatham County has just been so positive,” Angela says. “People are so amazing. I was really excited to become a resident in Chatham County.”
Another thing she’s eager about is an online project involving Move Over Bob and Kodiak Boots, a Canadian footwear company. And though Angela isn’t able to share more details yet, the final series of stories will be released online in September.
“I have so many dreams for Move Over Bob. It’s kind of surreal,” Angela says. “Like any marginalized group, finding allies is really important in making progress.”
On that front, Angela has nailed it.