The Better Builder® Program has improved conditions in the Texas construction industry for over a decade. ​

Meet Our team


Co-Founder & Co-ED

For nearly 20 years, Emily Timm has fought tirelessly for workplace justice and immigrants rights in Texas and across the country. She is a Co-Executive Director at Workers Defense, an organization she co-founded in 2005, and has since been instrumental in building the organization into a statewide powerhouse that empowers low-wage construction workers to achieve fair, safe employment. Today, Workers Defense is one of the leading advocacy organizations in Texas, with a membership of thousands and offices in Houston, Dallas and Austin


Co-Executive Director

Lizeth Chacón began her career as an organizer in Colorado, for 16 years she has worked to build power with those most impacted through community and electoral organizing. Lizeth has been at the helm of creating and leading projects that focus on building and winning with those most impacted; she started Colorado People’s Alliance a member-led and racial justice organization, co-founded the Transformative Leadership for Change Fellowship that serves leaders of color and she currently serves on their Governing Council. Lizeth currently serves as the Board President of People’s Action.


better builder® director

Andrea Nicholls is the Better Builder Director at Workers Defense Project. She is committed to ensuring that the workers who live in and build our cities are safe, healthy, and are earning a livable wage for themselves and their families.
Andrea has an extensive background in the labor movement. She has organized hotel workers in New Jersey and New York, she has organized students and faculty around a campus workers’ organizing campaign while she was in graduate school in Atlanta, she has helped advance worker safety & health policies in Los Angeles, and she has conducted strategic campaign research on the healthcare industry in Oakland. 
Andrea has a Master’s degree in Public Health from Emory University and a Bachelor of Arts from Trinity University in San Antonio.



Juan Benitez currently serves as Workers Defense Project’s Communications Director. He is deeply committed to narrative work around progressive issues in Texas, including improving working conditions for construction workers across the state, and building media power for BIPOC communities. Prior to Workers Defense, Juan led communications strategies for Vivent Health in Texas, Wisconsin, Colorado, and Missouri. 

Juan is currently the Board Chair of the City of Austin Immigrant Affairs Commission. The Commission advices Austin City Council on issues of common concern to immigrants, particularly in the areas of health and human services, education, and the demographic makeup of the Austin immigrant community.