Philadelphia woman builds 43-year legacy in construction

Matteo Iadonisi Image
Monday, April 10, 2023
Philadelphia woman builds 43-year legacy in construction
She has her fingerprints all across Philadelphia's skyline. And now, Dona File is building a blueprint for the next generation of construction workers.

PHILADELPHIA, Pennsylvania (WPVI) -- We're Philly Proud of a woman with four decades in the construction business. Now, Dona File's next project is building a foundation for those who will follow her footsteps.

"I started as a carpenter foreman, and then in 1992 was promoted to safety," said File, who is the Corporate Safety Director of LF Driscoll.

File's fingerprints can be traced across the Philadelphia skyline and beyond. Her resume includes work on One Liberty Place, the Kimmel Center, and more.

"I'm working at the CHOP new patient tower, actually, in the process of demolishing a building that I built 35 years ago," she said, as she prepares to build a new structure in its place. "So, that's definitely a highlight and a swan song of my career."

Nowadays, File volunteers her time providing safety talks and career advice to individuals getting started in the trades.

She recently visited members of the Eastern State Penitentiary Carpentry Academy, which is designed to introduce skills to pre-apprentices and also work on projects around the historic site.

"I jumped into it blind. It was something different, something that I've never experienced," said Stephanie Carrion of North Philadelphia. "Everything that I've done so far, I want to make it count in the next few years."

The program has concluded for this season but anyone interested can find more information on the Eastern State Penitentiary website.

As for Dona File, retirement and volunteerism are two things she can see on the horizon.

"In June of '24, I'll be 70 And I don't want to work past that," she said. "Then, I can volunteer here and inspire generations of new carpenters to come into the business."

RELATED: Retirees turn over new leaf as volunteers at North Philadelphia Sanctuary Farm

Members of the Ignatian Volunteer Corps branch out after retirement to help people in need across their communities.