Urban Design Partners
Current job: Civil Engineer at Urban Design Partners
Summary of your role in the company: I work, along with a team, to create a complete set of land development construction documents. Once the site plan is set, I grade the site, layout the utilities, and design the required stormwater features. I work with local municipalities to secure the necessary approvals and permits for the project to begin construction.
How I chose my occupation: My dad is also a civil engineer who has always worked in construction. As a kid, I loved visiting his projects and seeing how a set of plans become real. Throughout school, I enjoyed math and science so engineering seemed like a natural fit!
Years in the business: 5 years
My specialization is: Commercial, mixed-use, and multi-family residential
A good lead for me is: A developer looking to make his next big idea a reality!
The most satisfying part of my job is: Coming into work everyday and doing what I enjoy in such a warm and inviting environment. My office is filled with lots of laughing and the occasional Nerf gun war!
Best leadership advice I have been given: A quote from Ernest Hemingway comes to mind - "When people talk, listen completely."
Greatest professional achievement: I became a Professional Engineer at the beginning of 2019!
Number of years with CREW: 2 years
Most significant CREW connection: Elizabeth Romano. Elizabeth was my mentor during the 2018 CREW Mentor Program. She invited me to join the committee she co-chaired at the time and is the reason I'm involved as a co-chair now.
Place of birth/hometown: I was born in Plano, TX and moved all over Texas as a child. My family moved to Greenville, SC when I was 10, and that's where I've called home ever since.
Number of years in Charlotte: I moved to Charlotte 5 years ago after graduating from the University of South Carolina.
Family: I've been married for almost three years to my husband (and high school sweetheart) Josh. We live in the Charlotte neighborhood of Oakhurst with our black cat named Luna.
My ideal vacation spot: Any new city I can explore! My husband and I went on a big European vacation a few months ago where we explored Munich, Berlin, Amsterdam, and Brussels. We're already planning our next adventure!
Hobbies/Interests: In addition to traveling, I love movies! From Star Wars and Marvel to the latest indie movie and everything in between. I make it a goal every year to see all of the Best Picture nominees prior to Oscars night. My favorites from this year's batch are 1917 and Jojo Rabbit.
I wish I could: Travel to every country in the world!
O'Leary Group Waste Systems
Current job: Director, Business Development, O’Leary Group Waste Systems
Summary of your role in the company: I wear a lot of hats, but my main role is business development. I work on developing new revenue for our company, and I maintain a portfolio of existing business. I also train our new Account Executives.
How I chose my occupation: It chose me, really. I happened to meet three gentlemen on a golf course who convinced me to come and meet their general manager. I accepted a part-time position I was not looking for and the rest is history. That GM, Jimmie Jones, has ended up being my professional sponsor throughout a good part of my career. I have worked for him twice. We complement each other well, and he always gives me the space I need to do the work I’m gifted to do.
Years in the business: I started in the industry in 1986. I took a break at one point but all total, I’ve been in for 21 years.
My specialization is: Relationship management. I spend a lot of time making sure everyone has what they need, and I believe my success has come from always focusing on the client.
A good lead for me is: A new development project and the people involved. While my end-user is typically the operator or property manager, I really look to CREW to give me the opportunity to work on the front end of a project to make sure space has been planned for the proper waste and recycling equipment and for adequate access for our massive trucks. Developers and Architects are key to getting me to the table early enough to offer input that will save later in operational cost.
The most satisfying part of my job is: Hearing from a client that we have done good work for them. I test out on StrengthsFinder as an Achiever, and other personality assessments peg me as a Performer. So when someone is pleased with my performance, it is the best feeling in the world.
Best leadership advice I have been given: Really, the best leadership advice came from our Authentic Leadership Program inaugural class. I had done a number of skills assessment tests before but the time spent in the classroom with other women talking about the outcome on the StrengthsFinder assessment was a lightbulb moment for me. My fellow classmates encouraged me to find a way to work within my top strengths. It’s a daily struggle, but I’ve made progress toward working every day in my areas of highest effectiveness. Staying out of the weeds.
Greatest professional achievement: Helping to build O’Leary Group Waste Systems from the ground up. I will always be proud of that work and its outcome.
Number of years with CREW: Nine
Most significant CREW connection: That’s a tough one. I value all my CREW friends often for different reasons. But if we are talking about the generation of business, I benefited from the program that we had on Adaptive Reuse Projects in a very tangible way when I connected with Jay Levell, White Point Partners. We have been doing business with WPP ever since. My good client Matt Browder also sat on that panel and seeing me there that day served to strengthen our relationship. Both Browder & White Point Partners are doing some amazing things in Charlotte in that space and I am honored call them clients.
Place of birth/hometown: My hometown is Aberdeen, North Carolina, a little town outside of Pinehurst.
Number of years in Charlotte: 34 years
Family: A great husband, Jim, 38 years in August. He is my steady, strong, calm rock. I tell people I married up. It is absolutely the truth. My creative, thoughtful son, Justin. His girlfriend, Sarah, whom we love (the kiss of death). My strong, focused daughter, Kristen and her husband, Adam, their two children, Monroe and Cameron.
My ideal vacation spot: Oh gosh. I love the beach. But I also enjoy exploring new cities with my husband. We were in Paris in 2018 for 10 days - an amazing trip.
Hobbies/Interests: Repurposing abandoned jewelry. I redesign abandoned pieces I find in flea markets, vintage shops, and that people donate to me. I figure these pieces will find their way to the landfill if I don’t try to assemble them in a way that someone will appreciate. I also enjoy listening to books on tape while walking our dog, Macs. And of course, spending time with family.
Other professional organizations I belong to: BOMA, IREM, USGBC, GCAA, Carolina Recycling Association.
I wish I could: Eradicate cancer. I have a good friend in that battle now and I’d give my right arm to help her. It’s heartbreaking to watch.
More---My professional path has not been marked with distinguishable characteristics. I was at the right place at the right time for an opportunity that didn't look like much. That turned into something. That led to a career that is satisfying and lucrative. I had a good sponsor in the industry that helped me learn and advance. I have learned as much as possible about one industry. I dug in my heels and determined to become respectable in an industry that many would not find attractive for a life-long career choice. But that was where the opportunity was for me.
Sticking with one thing is not always the right answer. But in my case, it made me an expert in my industry. Some would call it Specialization. I call it making the most of an opportunity that presented itself. Growing toward knowing that in every conversation with my client I bring value. I can contribute.