Engineer of the Month for January

UC Student Builds a Bright Future.                                                      

By: Desiré Bennett

Ashley Snead is the UC College of Engineering and Applied Science Engineer of the Month for January.  Ashley maintains a 3.68 GPA in her senior year in the School of Advanced Structures.  She is working toward dual bachelor of science degrees in architectural engineering technology and construction management.

Ashley Snead

Ashley working on assembling a six foot joist.

The decision to attend UC was an easy one for Ashley. “I came down for a campus visit and I fell in love with the school,” she said. “And since my dad is a UC aerospace engineering graduate, he was just extremely excited when I was accepted into the architectural engineering technology program – and that’s pretty much what cemented my choosing to come here.”

Since being accepted into the program, Ashley has hit the ground running. With two associate of science degrees in architectural technology and civil engineering technology already under her belt, Ashley is currently a dual major in the architectural engineering technology and construction management programs. For Ashley, these two programs are the perfect blend of everything she is looking for.

“I like the way things work and I like knowing how they work, and not just the idea, but the actual nitty-gritty.” she explains. “And engineering was something that I thought I wanted to go into, but I also like the design aspect of architecture, so the architectural engineering technology program allows me to understand the design aspect and the aesthetics as well as the engineering functionality and constructability.”

Each term, Ashley takes 20 to 23 credit hours while working part-time and, thanks to her perseverance, she is currently slated to graduate ahead of schedule this spring. “I’m in what is, typically, a six-year program,” she said. “And I’m doing it in five years with seven co-op assignments.”

Ashley is a project manager for the United States General Service Administration (GSA), where she’s completed all seven of her co-op assignments. “I work on interior renovation projects within the state of Ohio in our federally owned buildings and leased locations,” she said.

The GSA is the agency of the federal government that acts as the landowner of buildings such as the federal building and the federal courthouse in downtown Cincinnati. “We have a number of buildings throughout the country and we handle all of the construction that goes on within them.”

2010 Homecoming Float

Ashley during the 2010 CEAS Homecoming Float Build. Her team was awarded 1st Place in the University Homecoming Float Competition.

As an owner’s representative, Ashley meets with clients which are the other agencies for the government. “Typically our projects range from, what we call small projects, under $150, 000 each, but we handle a number of those– we’re managing anywhere between 10- to 20 projects at a time,” she said.  “We put together a scope of work, where I create a government cost estimate and the entire scope of work packet and solicitation packet. The packet then goes out to bid. We negotiate the bids and when that comes back, I handle the project from that point on as well. This usually means dealing with all of the day-to-day operations, inspections and coordination.”

Ashley’s position is unique in that there are no other co-op students.  “Whenever I’m handling a project it allows me the opportunity to see my project through because typically construction projects last longer than a three-month co-op cycle,” she explains. Ashley works part time at GSA in between her co-op assignments. “And since I’m the only co-op, I can’t hand my projects off to someone else which allows me to see my projects through to final completion.” 

According to Ashley, the lessons that she has gained from this co-op experience are invaluable. “We are a customer based organization so everything that we do is to give the best product to our customer.  So being able to learn all of the different types of communication, because you’re dealing with your clients, contractors and others working on the project, requires unbelievable coordination,” she explains. “That would probably be the biggest thing that I’ve learned through working for GSA – the importance of organization, communication and customer service.”

Ashley during the 2012 CEAS Homecoming Float Parade: the Bearcat Moon Landing (Gangnam Style).

Ashley during the 2012 CEAS Homecoming Float Parade: the Bearcat Moon Landing (Gangnam Style).

Ashley is a member of several on-campus organizations including the Construction Students Association, Student Women in Construction and she serves as a college ambassador giving campus tours. She is in charge of the homecoming float as an executive member of the college tribunal, and is also the president of Tau Alpha Pi which is the college’s chapter of the National Honor Society for technology majors.

This past year she was also the captain of the UC Design Build Competition team. “Every year we go to Chicago to compete in the Associated Schools of Construction Region Three Competition and they have a number of different categories that we compete in,” she said. The morning of the competition her Design Build team was given a prompt about what type of building they were to design with one day to design the entire building.

The 2012 University of Cincinnati Design Build Team at the ASC Region III Competition in Chicago, IL – holding the 1st place award check.

The 2012 University of Cincinnati Design Build Team at the ASC Region III Competition in Chicago, IL – holding the 1st place award check.

“We had to come up with a construction cost estimate, a project management plan, a safety plan, our schedule for actually constructing it and then all of the different floor plans and all that is associated with it, such as a LEED Plan, which is a green type initiative used to plan out the types of materials you’ll be using that are environmentally friendly,” she explains. “It was the longest 18 hours of my life – but we won first place this year, which was the first time UC had placed first in that division.”

 It is Ashley’s commitment to excellence that drives her.  “Everything that I do…I try to push through it and give the best that I can possibly give,” she said. “If I know that I have always given everything that I could and done my best work, I’ll have no regrets.

From school to work to extracurricular commitments, Ashley keeps a full schedule, and she credits her circles of friends with helping her to maintain balance in her life. “Having that group of friends that you can hang out with and work on homework and do stuff like that and be able to have that quality friend-time as well while you’re doing the school work is really important,” she explains. “But also having a group of friends so you can completely escape what’s going on in school and just have a good time with is also very important.”

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