I was born/grew up in: Dubuque, Iowa, USA
I now live in: Three Fathom Harbour, Nova Scotia
I completed my training/education at: Bachelor of Environmental Design, University of Colorado @ Boulder; Master of Architecture, University of Virginia; Certificate Historic Preservation, University of Virginia; Registered Specification Writer, Construction Specifications Canada
What I do at work
As a design manager at Pomerleau, I oversee all aspects of a construction project. This can include everything from the type of concrete to use to the type of paint that will go on the walls. I work with, and coordinate the work of, a number of different groups during a project.
I use every aspect of STEM in my career on a daily basis. I need to know the science of how buildings work to ensure they last a long time, keep people warm, and do not fall apart. I use technology to organize my work, model a building in 3D, and help make my buildings energy efficient. We also use virtual reality to help communicate to a future owner what their building will look like.
I use math to prepare cost estimates and evaluate design decisions. Math always plays a role in helping me determine the path forward on a project. In order for me to be successful in coordinating my engineers, I need to have a broad knowledge of how each of the engineering disciplines work and how they must work together in a building.
My career path is
When I was 16, I traveled to Spain for a language immersion program. While I was there, I saw so many amazing buildings and wanted to be part of creating them. I researched how to become an architect and got the necessary education. After that, I entered the intern programs and continued to educate myself through extra programs that supported my career.
Through the years, I have worked in design offices, contractor offices as well as taught in Universities. Although these are different focuses in my industry, all of these experiences have helped my career path and development.
I am motivated by
I find the most rewarding part of my job is when I have a difficult issue to solve and I can work with my team to come up with a solution that works for everyone.
How I affect peoples’ lives
The product of my work at Pomerleau is finished buildings. Most of my projects are public buildings. This includes hockey rinks, office buildings, hospitals, apartment buildings, pools, schools and nursing homes to name a few. Every choice I make will affect the people who will use these buildings. I find my job is the most fulfilling when I can assist the team to work together, keep the cost of the building reasonable, and provide a building that exceeds the expectations.
Outside of work I
I spend time with my family and do a lot to support my kid's school. I volunteer at the school in the advisory committee as well as designed a playground. I also help a local guinea pig rescue by fostering guinea pigs. I own a side company that sells products for weaving, knitting, spinning and felting and enjoy doing all of those things. I also enjoy boating, downhill skiing, golfing, playing with my dog and cooking.
My advice to others
I would suggest focusing your schoolwork in math, science and art. I would also suggest learning about how things are constructed by doing it, not just reading about it (although reading about it is important too!)
- Foreign Languages
- Brought people together
- Played on a sports team
- Enjoyed working with my hands
- Was motivated by success
- Wanted to be in charge
- Liked being given free range to explore my ideas
- Engaged in volunteer activities
- Was really creative
- Never wanted to be in the classroom
- Felt great satisfaction in getting good grades