Leeann Schmutz, Project Engineer

I’m Leeann Schmutz, and I’ve been navigating the dynamic world of construction as a Project Engineer in Swinerton’s San Francisco Special Projects Division for nearly a year and a half. Let me take you through my journey, from architecture to construction, and the enriching experiences.

A Leap from Architecture to Construction: Finding My Path

My journey into construction wasn’t a conventional one. Armed with a B.Arch degree from Cal Poly SLO in 2022, I initially set out to pursue a career in architecture. However, the allure of the construction industry beckoned, promising a broader spectrum of experiences within the building realm. Inspired by the opportunity to expand my horizons, I joined Swinerton shortly after completing my studies, embarking on a new chapter filled with possibilities.

Role and Responsibilities: Navigating the Complexities of Construction

As a Project Engineer, my role is akin to being an orchestra conductor, ensuring harmony amidst the cacophony of construction activities. While my primary focus lies in generating, reviewing, and processing project documentation, I often don multiple hats, drawing upon my architectural background to offer creative solutions when needed.

My days are a whirlwind of coordinating communications between subcontractors, architects, and owners, ensuring seamless information flow to keep projects on track. Balancing multiple projects simultaneously in San Francisco’s bustling environment has been a challenging yet invigorating experience, pushing me to grow personally and professionally.

Challenges and Triumphs: Navigating the Construction Landscape

Construction is like a roller coaster ride, teeming with highs and lows. Juggling myriad tasks across different projects can be daunting, and there have been moments when I’ve felt overwhelmed. However, these challenges have served as crucibles for growth, sharpening my problem-solving skills and fostering resilience.

One project that stands out amidst the whirlwind of experiences is renovating a chocolate shop in Ghirardelli Square. Despite tight deadlines and numerous hurdles, collaborating with my team to transform the space from demolition to its final form was immensely gratifying. It reinforced the invaluable lessons of teamwork, perseverance, and the sheer joy of witnessing dreams materialize.

Advice for Aspiring Professionals: Embrace Your Journey

To aspiring women considering a career in construction, I offer this advice: embrace the journey, embrace your worth, and never underestimate your capabilities. Imposter syndrome may rear its head, but don’t let it dim your light. Ask questions, embrace mistakes as learning opportunities, and let your voice be heard—your perspective is invaluable.

Swinerton’s Support: A Platform for Growth

I’ve found unwavering support and encouragement at Swinerton to pursue my professional growth. The emphasis on community-building and fostering a culture of inclusivity has created a nurturing environment where I feel empowered to thrive.

Personal Touch: Finding Joy Beyond Construction

Beyond the bustling construction sites, I find solace in dancing, exploring the great outdoors, and indulging in creative pursuits. But the true joy lies in the camaraderie and sense of community fostered at Swinerton—the shared triumphs, the collective growth, and the bonds forged amidst the daily hustle.

My journey at Swinerton has been a testament to the transformative power of perseverance, collaboration, and self-belief. Here’s to embracing challenges, building dreams, and shaping a brighter future—one project at a time.

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