Three Chicago ACE Mentor teams make the grade in the 2023 Construction Industry Round Table (CIRT) National Design and Construction Competition. The contest encourages ACE Mentor Affiliate teams to tackle specific challenges to improve “the quality of American life, while understanding the issues and challenges the industry faces to deliver on this legacy.” (Learn more about CIRT Competition.)
I expected to start my career at ESD in 2018 with the Commissioning (Cx) Group. However, another group within the company, Automation, needed my assistance.
I moved from the Commissioning Group to the Automation Group even though I had no knowledge of what controls design entailed—after all, my ESD internship in 2017 had focused on mechanical design. I spent my first 11 months learning controls design standards, developing design documents and coordinating with trades across the firm.
After a while I rejoined the Commissioning Group—while also working for the Automation Group. Within my first week on the Cx team, I drove to a data center construction site with the intention of completing simple VAV functional performance tests. By day three, I was testing two large complex air-handling systems for data halls. By week four, I was our ESD representative on-site lead coordinating the mechanical and electrical testing schedule with our client, the general contractor and the manufacturer’s representatives. Amid all of this, I also trained two new team members.
After six months working for both groups, today I am working solely in the Automation Group. I’ve had some time to reflect upon the question: How does one manage a busy job and heavy workload between two groups?
Here are three lessons learned from my experience:
- Embrace the fire. Oftentimes I found myself not readily jumping to client meetings or taking on small projects in my first months at ESD due to a lack of confidence. Once I did, I portrayed myself as the driving force, showed I was a key player and learned I’m capable of so much more.
- Accept the unexpected. If we always follow a predetermined path, we’ll never challenge ourselves and gather a new knowledge base or skill. Though I had never heard about our Automation Group prior to joining ESD fulltime, now I couldn’t be more grateful for the mentors I’ve gained and the standards I’ve learned.
- Communication is always important! I always find myself struggling to advocate for myself, but if I hadn’t, I wouldn’t be in this position. Set aside time on your peers’ calendars to ask questions, and keep ideas and conversations flowing.