In our newest installment of Consultants in Conference Rooms Getting Coffee, Consultant Ashley Woodward, shares how she started her journey in the industry, the new projects she’s working on, and what she enjoys about working at Vantage. Get to know Ashley below.
What is your background (where are you from, where did you go to school…)?
My background is a little different than most. I was home-schooled until high school, so that was an interesting way to start my education. I knew what I was interested in, so I left high school early and started taking courses at the community college. I love being creative but also love the technical side of things, so I wanted to find something that included both of those things. Architecture was a perfect blend of the two. I went into the engineering and drafting portion of it and got my drafting degree. I started working as a drafter for a company that focused on plumbing. I wasn’t really into that and started looking for something more interesting. I found a drafting position with a company that needed someone to lead the production team specifically with technology. That was the firm I was with before Vantage.
How did you become part of the Vantage team?
I formed a great relationship with Philip at my previous firm. He was looking at moving to Vantage and I wanted to do more than just drafting. Vantage had opportunities for growth, and it seemed like a cool place to work. Philip, Joe, and I made the switch to Vantage at the same time.
And how long have you been at Vantage?
I started in November of 2017, so about 16 months.
What do you do at Vantage?
It’s not easy to describe… [laughs]. I guess in one sentence, it’s working on technology design for the building industry. Not only is it laying out networks, modeling equipment, designing the infrastructure, it’s helping the client find out what they want and what they need. Helping to stay on budget and coordinate with the design team. On most of the projects I work on I’m the lead production person. It helps the client because I can see the entirety of the project and make sure everything fits and is coordinated. I’m good at spatial visualization so I can see the model and help layout everything.
It’s helping the client find out what they want and what they need
What were some of the projects you’ve worked on recently?
So far, I’ve done a lot of higher education. Most of the Antelope Valley Community College projects I’ve worked on. That’s a great series of projects because we developed the standards and are now using those standards to develop the designs. We’re working on different spaces with different architects, but because it’s with the same system the standards are the same, so systems are uniformed which is beneficial for the college. I’m also working on the Santa Clara University Sobrato Science Complex which is an interesting project. Lots of great technology in that space.
Systems are uniformed which is beneficial for the college
I’m working on UCSF projects. There’s a lot more that goes into the design because of the complicated healthcare technologies within the certain clinical rooms. There’s a different level of evolvement in the drawings that’s needed than the non-science education drawings. So that’s challenging to incorporate all those details.
A new one I’m working on is The New Valley Hospital. It’s the first big healthcare project I’m working on. I’m learning new systems, what devices need data, what needs to be connected, and what needs to be secured. I like to see how everything can be tied together and connected. In this healthcare project I’m also learning about policies and procedures that are in place for the patient and the care team. Like with securing devices, there’s privacy rules for the patient.
I’m also learning that every healthcare client is different. Each project is unique and catered to those that are going to use it.
Each project is unique and catered to those that are going to use it
What’s the coolest thing you’ve done at work recently?
That’s a tough one… I think The New Valley Hospital is the coolest thing I’m working on now because it’s very intense for the production guide. There’s a high requirement on how they’re counting everything; every piece of equipment in every room throughout the entire hospital. The Revit model is huge and it’s a lot to keep track of. It’s also interesting because we have so many models working together. We’re using BIM 360 on the project, so everyone is working on it and it’s live. It’s constantly changing and updating and because you can see it in real-time it’s easier to coordinate.
What do you like most about working at Vantage?
The biggest thing that stood out to me was an environment where we’re encouraged to teach and ask questions. At previous jobs it felt like I was bothering others when I’d ask a question. But here, everyone is going out of their way to show me how things work and finding solutions together. There’s value in teaching me something today so in the future I know how to do it and can implement it on my own.
An environment where we’re encouraged to teach and ask questions
What do you do for fun outside of work?
I do a lot of creative things; painting, drawing, crafts. I do a lot of origami. I made origami boxes for the office for Christmas last year. I love to travel. I have a trip to Japan and Korea planned for later this year. I like seeing new cultures and places. I visit a lot of museums and of course I love the architecture of different cities.
Where have you’ve traveled?
I studied abroad in Florence in college. I’ve been to Berlin, Prague, Rome, Ireland, and a lot of others that I’m forgetting at the moment [laughs].
What’s a fun fact about you many people may not know?
I said it earlier, but not many people know that I was home-schooled. That’s always a fact that people find interesting. Also, I think people think I’m an extrovert, but I’m really an introvert. So, I’m glad that I come off as friendly!