Today’s guest post comes from CareerCat, the official blog of UK Alumni Career Services. CareerCat periodically spotlights UK alumni who are doing something unusual or out-of-the-ordinary with their major in a special blog series titled: “You’re Doing What With Your Major?” Be sure to check CareerCat often for great career tips and features!
Major: Bachelor of Architecture, Minor in Art History
Current Career: Owner’s Representative, Senior Project and Construction Manager, Licensed Architect. I am the only licensed female architect in the rural areas between San Diego, Calif., and Phoenix, Ariz., a 300 mile stretch!
Description of Career Path: Some people have a career strategy. I had a series of fortunate events kind of like in a chain reaction or a kinetic sculpture that worked well. You could say my career path is like a Mythbusters experiment that shouldn’t have worked but did anyway. I went from a small architectural firm in Oldham County in 1994 to a firm owned by another UK grad in Phoenix, Ariz. From there I moved to the small border town of Yuma, Ariz., in 1995 where my USMC fiancé was stationed. I ran the architectural division of a medium sized civil engineering firm that had architectural, civil, environmental, geotechnical and surveying services in-house.
My boss was elderly and in poor health so he told me he would do all of the design work and “you can do everything else.” “Everything else” turned out to be the best thing that could have ever happened to me because it literally meant everything from marketing, fee preparation, design management and coordination, client meetings, to construction contract administration. In 2006 I became a licensed architect but then decided to make a complete career change. A construction management firm from Phoenix was awarded the contract to manage design and construction for six new libraries in Yuma. I knew nobody from Phoenix wanted to move to Yuma so I sent the firm my resume and the rest is history.
From 2006-09, I managed a $58 million library bond program and helped select and hire all of the architects and contractors, negotiating all of their contracts and managing all six projects. From 2009-11, thanks to the recession, I commuted from Yuma to Irvine, Calif. (230 miles one way). I put 1,000 miles a week on my car but worked on projects for Southern California Edison and John Wayne Airport Expansion and loved every second of it. But, I hated being away from my family. So, in 2011 I left that job to return home and was hired by a competitor to be the Senior Construction Manager for the John M. Roll US Federal Courthouse project where I am currently. After we finish this project in 2013 who knows who I’ll be working for, or where, or on what project. But following my career so far I know it will be exciting!
To read the complete interview, click here.