Engineer of the Month Embraces Industry

By: Liz Daubenmire

Keith Schlater is the UC College of Engineering and Applied Science Engineer of the Month for September.  Schlater maintains a 3.6 GPA and is double majoring in Architectural Engineering Technology and Construction Management.

Keith Schlater on co-op site with Walsh Construction

Keith Schlater on co-op site with Walsh Construction

Keith’s interest in UC grew gradually over several visits to his older brother who attended the university while Keith was still in high school.  Keith witnessed his brother thrive in the College of Engineering and Applied Science and explains, “I wanted to go to a school that was going to allow me to work along the way and set me up for as much opportunity as possible upon graduation.” When it came time to make his own college decision, Keith knew UC was the best choice.

Keith is now a 5th year senior double majoring in architectural engineering technology and construction management. Taking cues from his family who has a long line of engineers, Keith is continuing the tradition with a hands-on profession. 

Keith developed an appreciation for all things tactile after growing up on a farm where the Schlater brothers enjoyed taking things apart and learning the mechanics. 

 Associated Builders & Contractors National Construction Management Competition 2013

Associated Builders & Contractors National Construction Management Competition 2013

Schlater’s hands on experience has continued into his co-op placements.  Thus far Keith has worked for Walsh Construction in locations all over the country including: Holtwood, PA, New Haven, CT, Charlotte, NC and his final co-op placement with Walsh at their corporate office in Chicago. Keith just completed his most recent co-op experience at Marathon Petroleum Company in Findlay, OH and has begun the 2014 fall semester back on campus.

Throughout his co-op experiences, Keith explains, “I’ve learned a lot about professionalism in the industry… It’s helped me discover what I do and don’t like.  I’ve also learned the importance of documenting all of your work, especially on a construction site where it may be critical to know exactly what was done each day.”

 

Keith holding an award from ABC Competition

Keith holding an award from ABC Competition

The experience and knowledge gained in a cooperative education placement is unlike any learning done in a lecture hall.  It allows students to soak up the industry and gives them the experience needed to confidently get the job done.

In addition to his six co-op placements, Keith has taken part in much of what UC has to offer on campus.  “I have been involved with a lot of extracurricular activities in my time at UC. Some that have been more time demanding are construction management competitions and the Construction Student Association.” 

Topping the list of Keith’s greatest achievements is winning 1st place at the ABC National Construction Management Competition in the fall of 2013. Keith says, “We had a really good group of students and put in so much time on the front end of the project. It was amazing to see it all come together at the actual competition in Las Vegas.”

Handling the demands of engineering coursework, co-op work responsibilities, and extracurricular activities has led Keith to master the art of prioritizing.  He explains, “Your GPA is not what is going to determine whether or not you are a successful student. If you get a C in a class here or there it is not going to be the end of the world. In my opinion it is just as important to focus on how you are spending your time and enjoying your school.”

Class photo after President Ono's presentation

Class photo after President Ono's presentation

He summarizes by saying, “My advice would be to not get too caught up on one particular thing or another and to be constantly looking forward.”

Keith closes by saying, “Get yourself surrounded by your industry as much as possible. When industry folk see a young person excited to learn and who has the desire to do well, they are going to remember them… those connections can go a long way!”

Keith Schlater has truly epitomized what it means to immerse yourself in the field.  From six co-op placements, and an outstanding GPA, to a first place ranking in one of construction management’s top competitions, Keith is an industry savvy Engineer of the Month.

Select for previous Engineer of the Month