Meet Bonnie Lee, VP of Design and Construction
Bonnie is the VP of Design and Construction at Industrious. Learn about her profession in the interview below where she talks about her path to working in a STEM field.
What are your typical responsibilities?
In the design and construction industry, there is a fine balance of building beautiful awe-inspiring spaces and buildings that need to be structurally sound and safe. In my role, I have a design team that is always innovating and pushing the boundaries of what a typical office looks like. They rely on mechanical engineers, electrical engineers and architects to guide how the proper air conditioning ductwork can fit, how we get power safely to all offices, and how this will all be drafted into drawings to convey the complete vision via blueprints to a builder. The construction team ensures that the design being provided is truly feasible to fit in the schedule and budget provided. They are relied on heavily to evaluate how each piece of duct, electrical conduit, concrete pour will be scheduled to make sure nothing is missed and done in the most efficient way.
How did you become interested in a STEM profession?
When I was in high school, I took a drafting class because I enjoyed drawing and used to spend hours in the "Architectural Digest" magazines dreaming up how I would design my own house. I thought I wanted to be an architect. As I progressed through high school and then into college, I realized my math and science skills surpassed my arts and creativity skills; plus I loved to solve puzzles! I realized engineering came more natural to me, so I got a degree in Architectural Engineering. (A perfect blend of both my passion and my skills.) In college, I did a lot of summer internships, and it truly solidified my passion to be out at construction sites, to be able to see first-hand how designs were transforming into tangible structures that would be adorned for years.
What or whom were you early influences?
When I interned in college, I was working with a plumbing foreman who made me realize that no matter where you came from, you can do whatever you put your mind to. She was one of the first female construction workers I had encountered, and she showed me that gender didn't matter, and if you have the courage and wit, anyone can be unstoppable!
What advice would you offer for students to cultivate an interest in STEM and prepare themselves for a potential future career in a STEM field?
Take the classes that interest you, not just what classes your friends are taking or the ones with preferred teachers. Take a leap on your passion and see where you land; you won't know until you try! There are so many options out there in engineering; when I was younger I didn't know that my job even existed and that there was even a major in school geared towards construction engineering. I got lucky by just following were my interests were.
How can a profession in a STEM field empower young women to make a difference in the world?
We are moving into industries where new perspectives and innovations are needed, and as we continue to challenge each of these industries into further embracing the female voice. Each of these industries will become more innovative and progressive further pushing the speed at which these industries try new things and test something they wouldn't have before! In my industry, who knows...construction efficiency increases by way of 3D virtual design, building with only eco-friendly materials to reduce carbon emissions, or even significantly reduced construction costs which then reduce global cost of living expenses?