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Liz “Knuckles” Nichols
Job: Cement Mason
Age: 36
Hometown: Waltham, Massachusetts
Current residence: Portland, Oregon

Three words to describe you: Determined, strong, and kind.

What do you do?
I pour, finish, and repair concrete.

What is a typical day like for you?
I’m usually on a deck pouring by 6 a.m. and in the summer it can be 3 or 4 in the morning. We begin our work rodding the concrete to grade, balancing on rebar the whole time. As the concrete gets harder we skate across it on sliders with different trowels or hand floats. When we leave there’s a finished floor or sidewalk, something completely new that didn’t exist that morning.

What would people be surprised to learn about your job?
It’s an ancient trade. The Pantheon is made of concrete.

What work related build/structure or event are you most proud of?
Every slab or sidewalk I poured when pregnant with my son.

Who are you competing for?
I’m competing for my family.

Why do you want to win?
I would love to win the security that comes with the top prize. I’d be able to provide my family with more opportunities. The opportunity to travel and for my son to pursue any hobby he becomes interested in. The truck would help me branch out into doing more side jobs and help me potentially build my own business. And I want to show the world just how tough I am.

What makes you tough as nails?
Being a concrete finisher makes me tough as nails. We work long hours doing backbreaking work. I also consider myself tough as nails for working through my pregnancy. I was rodding and troweling concrete at nine months pregnant.