Revista Granito de Arena

First Latina woman to lead initiatives in ACI

Xiomara Sapón primer mujer cempro guatemala cementos progreso
The Guatemalan engineer has recently been appointed as "Chair" of the International Certification Subcommitte, of the American Concrete Institute -ACI-, a nomination that, until recently, had never been granted to a woman.

The ACI is an organization created in the United States that develops standards, norms and technical recommendations with reference to reinforced concrete. It was founded in 1904 and since then, it has been a worldwide reference on knowledge, technology, guides, standards for cement, concrete and good practices for its use.

Xiomara Sapón is the first Guatemalan (and Latin American) woman to be appointed by to lead the «International Certification» subcommittee of this important world institution.

“I feel privileged and pleasantly surprised. Since the founding of the ACI, a woman has never led this Subcommittee. Really, I did not imagine it and it is a true honor. In addition to being the first woman nominated, I am the first Latina to occupy that space.

Women and science

The participation of women in the construction sciences is increasingly evident. Universities and higher education centers have increased the enrollment of women in engineering or architecture by 30 percent, according to the National Institute of Statistics -INE-. The protagonist of our publication is a clear example of improvement and example, in a field that until a few years ago was exclusively for men.

“This breaks a paradigm in the industry. More and more women are involved in research and development. It is always important that we participate and that we support our participation as women in construction and in international spaces”.

What does this subcommittee do?

It offers certification programs outside the United States, and makes some programs available in English in other countries. Xiomara tells us about the importance of continuing to promote training in more languages. «The commitment is to give continuity to this process and find new strategies that allow us to overcome existing barriers to implement certifications in other regions and in other languages.»

Another important aspect of the subcommittee is that it strengthens communication channels with ACI counterparts in each country, to preserve the quality of the certifications and ensure that the certification materials are properly translated.

The engineer Sapón has been participating with ACI for 10 years, representing the Concrete and Cement Institute of Guatemala –ICCG-. Since 2007, it has collaborated with ICCG in the implementation of seven international personnel certification programs aimed at technicians, professionals and students related to the cement and concrete industry.

What is the ICCG?

The ICCG is an autonomous, private, civil, non-profit, non-religious and non-political association formed in 2006 by companies in the cement and concrete industry in Guatemala. At the national level, it maintains cooperation agreements with universities, institutions and associations such as the Guatemalan Chamber of Construction, the Guatemalan Association of Structural and Seismic Engineering, AGIES, the American Concrete Chapter of Guatemala, among others.

At the international level, it maintains a close relationship with related associations such as the Inter-American Cement Federation (FICEM); the Ibero-American Federation of Ready-Mixed Concrete (FIHP); the Latin American Association for Quality Control and Pathology (ALCONPAT), the American Concrete Institute (ACI) and the American Standard Testing and Materials (ASTM), among others.

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