Getting to Know Us: Nancy Brown

Nancy BrownThe Wood Harbinger team is made up of diverse and interesting people, who bring all kinds of backgrounds, professional experiences, and insights to our firm. In this blog series, we’ll share a little something about each of the people behind our successful engineering projects.

This week, the spotlight’s on Nancy Brown, Project Assistant for Wood Harbinger’s multidiscipline project teams.  Nancy is an integral member of her assigned teams, working side by side with project managers to ensure fluid project progress and absolute attention to detail.  She focuses primarily on maintaining the communication workflow between all parties, ensuring no essential communication points fall through the cracks. Her role is particularly indispensable when balancing multiple task order projects, as it frees up the project manager to focus on the Owner’s needs and design solutions. She also provides construction administration services, ensuring that RFIs and submittal reviews are returned to the clients in a timely manner while still meeting Wood Harbinger’s high quality standards. She tracks all change orders and general requirements for projects in medical, military, transit and high-rise commercial facilities. Nancy has strong organizational skills and excellent verbal and written communication skills.

What made you decide to become an engineer/designer/drafter/work for an engineering firm?

I’ve always been a math nerd and I love being around people who don’t think that’s weird.   I wanted to work at Wood Harbinger because of the emphasis on sustainable design.

Have you held any jobs/had any careers outside of the engineering industry? If so, what industry and what did you do?

My first career was as a Spanish and Math teacher at the high school and middle school level.  After that, I was a tour manager leading group tours throughout Europe.  Then I worked as a medical interpreter helping Spanish speaking patients communicate with their doctors, and, most recently before coming to Wood Harbinger, I was an Executive Assistant in the business services industry.

What do you like best about being an engineer/designer/drafter/working for an engineering firm?

I like working with smart people and I like seeing the impact that our work has on our community.

What do you like least about being an engineer/designer/drafter/working for an engineering firm?

Being female in a heavily male-dominated industry. Women have to work harder to be heard and it’s difficult to break free from the mentality that our place is as someone’s “secretary”.

What do you hope to be doing in five years (becoming a PE, being a project manager, mentoring junior engineers, working on a high-profile project, developing client relationships, etc.)?

I hope to become a certified project manager.

What’s one funny story of an experience you’ve had on the job?

It’s funny to have a power outage when you’re surrounded by electrical engineers. There are always people investigating and diagnosing the problem. For more background on the incident I’m referring to, see my colleague Shaun May’s blog post, “Hey the Lights are Out…Kinda: Single-Phasing Partial Power Outages.”

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