My Professional Journey: Jori

Mead & Hunt employees have many different backgrounds and experiences; this is what makes working together so fun. This month on the blog, we’re honoring the professional journeys of several employees. Maybe you’ll find similarities in your own stories.

Jori Lemmon – Architecture and Buildings team in Sacramento, CA

Jori pictured with her family

Tell us about your first professional job.
My first job I got right out of college without really looking. As Raj (our CEO) always says, it is all about people, and that is how I got my job. My dad was invited to play golf with a colleague, and the colleague’s brother-in-law was also there, who happens to be a civil engineer. My father talked me up to the engineer, and let him know I was about to graduate from Cal Poly. He invited me to stop by the office the next time I was in town to check out what they do.

The firm that I worked for was a structural engineering firm. On my first day, I started designing a school cafeteria. Projects were all material types, and they specialized in seismic rehabilitation and outside-the-box thinking. I learned a lot working there. I got a firm understanding of constructability, and had to defend my work and respond to plan check comments in over-the-shoulder reviews with a licensed structural engineers. We did a lot of complex projects that required innovative thinking to achieve the architect’s desire or the high demands put on the building.

What is something you learned from your first professional experience that you have carried with you to your career today?
In engineering, you are always learning. Even if you have worked with a material before, the technology and trends are always changing. The code is constantly changing, and if you don’t stay current, you are falling behind. I also learned that, as a woman, you might not be treated differently in the office but on the job site, odds are you will be questioned more. (I am noticing that this trend isn’t the case with the younger generation of construction workers.) It is not entirely a bad thing; I just make sure that I really know my stuff and can answer the questions. I also try to help educate the contractors I work with. If I can explain to them why I designed something the way I did, and why their proposed change will not work, they tend to trust the design.

Growing up, what was an influencing factor in choosing this line of work, or in life in general?
My parents – they always encouraged me to figure things out for myself. I can remember so many times that dad came home, and mom and I had taken apart the washing machine or the lawn mower. She would always say “What is the worst that will happen? We need to call someone to come fix it? Might as well see if we can save ourselves that call.” Dad would always get me what I needed to build my own doll house, or create some crazy pulley contraption.

Kathy Schumann

About the Author

Kathy Schumann connects with co-workers by sharing their stories and experiences – helping employees see how they fit into the big picture of Mead & Hunt. “I have the best job. There’s a great sense of purpose helping co-workers be engaged and challenged by their work experience,” she says. When she’s not blogging, Kathy is editing e-newsletters, building the intranet and forming Mead & Hunt running teams.

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