Women in Construction Week: Cancer Survivor finds Renewed Future in Electrical Career

Phoenix, AZ, February 28, 2023 – Sashllely “Shelly” Santos, Wireman I at Canyon State Electric, hopes to become an electrical foreman and lead construction projects. Just three years ago, her future was uncertain. 

At two years old, Santos was diagnosed with leukemia and battled with the disease until her cancer went into remission at the age of six. “Growing up, it was very hard to try to think about the future because I was told there was a possibility of it coming back,” Santos said. 

After graduating from Mesa High School in 2020, Santos didn’t enroll in college and had no career plans. “I realized I had to think about my future, [but] I didn’t know what I wanted to do,” said Santos. “I had a job at a restaurant, but I couldn’t really do customer service.” 

Her father, an electrical foreman, invited her to work with him on the job site: “I thought I wasn’t going to last too long, but I loved the work. I’m glad my dad got me into electrical. That basically opened up my future for me,” said Santos. 

She was hired by Canyon State Electric in early 2021. 

“Sashllely has been helping me a little over four months, and she has learned so much,” said leadman Omar Manon. “She doesn’t give up and is always up for a challenge, whether that’s using an electric conduit bender, roughing in units, or troubleshooting. The effort and interest she shows every day will take her a long way in her electrical career.”

Women in Construction Week is being celebrated internationally March 5 – 11. The holiday is observed each year to celebrate women and their contributions to the construction industry while inviting others to join. The average construction company is comprised of 11% women— Canyon State Electric is staffed by 15% women and led by CEO Stephanie Maderazzo-Hughes.  

“We’ve seen the incredible things our female electricians can do. With nearly three hundred thousand additional construction workers needed in Arizona by the end of 2024, it’s imperative we encourage both men and women to join the industry,” said Maderazzo-Hughes. 

“We can do the work more neatly and maybe faster!” Santos joked. “Right now, there are a lot of girls in construction painting and doing drywall. There’s not just one job for the girls. It could be anything.” 

After sitting down with Canyon State Electric leadership, Santos decided she wanted to complete her electrical apprenticeship and one day become a foreman. 

“For me, it’s not really about the money. It’s more about being able to make my future,” Santos said. “It’s something that I have a passion for, and I want to learn.”


About Canyon State Electric 

Canyon State Electric (CSE) is the single-source solution for electrical construction services in the Southwest. Founded in 1978 by Steven Maderazzo, CSE is now led by CEOs Stephanie Maderazzo-Hughes and Christopher Maderazzo. The company’s single location is headquartered in Phoenix, AZ, where over one hundred electrical, life safety, and maintenance experts serve the surrounding community. 

For press inquiries, contact Vince DiGuglielmo (480) 714-1057, vdiguglielmo@cseci.com.