Growing up, Ashley Eusey excelled in math and science. As a result, her network of family and friends supported her strengths by guiding her towards technical opportunities. But, Eusey found a need for balance on her path. Though she was naturally interested in what is now considered Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) approaches and practices, she was also intrigued by creative hobbies including writing, drawing and sculpting. It’s no surprise that architectural engineering ended up being her avenue to the best of both worlds.
A registered architectural engineer at the Hoefer Wysocki, Ashley Eusey, PE, LEED AP, GGP, has led sustainable design for a variety of projects. She is currently leading sustainable design components of the Department of Veterans Affairs Community Based Outpatient Clinic in Phoenix and the Medical Group Hospital modernization at Nellis Air Force Base in Las Vegas that is on track for LEED Silver certification.
PHCPPros spoke with Eusey about her career path and what her experiences have been like as a woman in the industry!
PHCPPros: How did you get into the industry?
Eusey: My first real step into the industry came in college by entertaining and miraculous means. To make a little extra cash, I applied for a job at the facilities and maintenance office on campus. I figured this a great fit since I enjoyed being active and had done plenty of home renovation projects with my dad and grandpa growing up. The interview, however, was not what I expected. The maintenance manager essentially explained that they preferred a man because he could lift more and could work longer. After arguing this point for some time – I was an athlete and kept in good shape – I left the office quite frustrated. Surprisingly, I received a call soon after the interview from the design side of the facility. The director of design and construction services had been impressed with my gumption and wanted to offer me a job. It was an answer to prayer because that line of work was more congruent with my studies. That job helped give me the baseline of experience that propelled me to where I am today.
PHCPPros: Did any women in the industry mentor you?
Eusey: I had two fantastic women mentors at the design and construction services at my alma mater. Joanne Steinman oversaw the construction on campus from an owner’s rep position. She was bright, quick-witted, and firm with the contractors. From her I learned a great deal about navigating a construction site and conducting difficult conversations with contractors. Another mentor was Connie Brewer, who served alongside the design director on campus. She, too, was a battle ax when the time called for it, but more often was high-spirited, energetic, and so gracious. From her I learned how to deal kindly and compassionately with teammates without being walked over and how to keep a strong sense of self in the workplace. I have not yet had the privilege to formally mentor, but I have had a few opportunities with emerging professionals. Hoefer Wysocki hosts an annual Women in Design event where high school girls interested in architecture or engineering spend a day shadowing professionals in the field. It is one my favorite times of the year. I also coach a girls’ soccer team, and the entire team was praying and rooting for me to pass my professional engineering (PE) exam. My favorite mentee is my niece Elsa. This year for Christmas I gifted her a pink hard hat and some tools.
PHCPPros: Is there anything else related to women in the industry that you want to add?
Eusey: I am so excited to see more women choosing careers in the building industry and taking on leadership roles. I think we bring a different vantage point to the table that cultivates diversity of ideas, vibrant discussion, and more thoughtful decisions. The industry has become more diverse across the board. When we reflect the diverse populations our clients serve, we have greater insight and understanding of their challenges, which in turn enables us to develop a more thoughtful and effective solution.