Women in Construction Spotlight: Amy Scherer
By: Claire Sauer
The Financial Facilities Team, within our Building Group, works tirelessly to help bring the visions of banks and credit unions to life. Our team truly does it all – planning, designing, and building. Amy Scherer, Project Architect, puts those ideas onto paper, giving her customers a product they can be proud of.
Amy joined the Keeley family two years ago in an exciting move that allowed her to get back to her design roots, giving her a new sense of empowerment in her work. She feels that her team has given her space and trust to take ownership of entire projects while encouraging and assisting her every step of the way. Upon joining the team, Amy had no experience with financial facilities, therefore she had a lot to learn. The team graciously taught her and shared their knowledge, giving her the confidence to take on more work and contribute her ideas to the team.
“Being at Keeley has made me a better architect by working and designing alongside the construction team. I’ve learned so much more about what happens after the ink dries on the prints.”
Amy’s love for architecture began at a young age. When she was five years old, her father designed and built their first house with the help of some other family members who owned a contracting business. Amy helped her father by fetching tools, standing on boards as he cut them, and going to the sawmill with him. Building that house is one of her first coherent memories and it has remained with her throughout her life. As she grew older she was always sketching buildings leading to an evenly split interest in art and math throughout high school. At the time, Amy didn’t yet realize that architecture was a possible career path for her. She graduated with her chemical engineering degree and worked in that field for five years. She quickly realized that she needed a career with more hands-on projects and opportunity for creativity. She received her Master’s in architecture in 2004 and she has never looked back.
Chemical engineering is a male-dominated industry and moving into the construction and architecture industries was no different. However, Amy quickly found that confidence in yourself and competence in your work are especially important in order to take gender off the table as a potential issue. If she could give one piece of advice to a woman wanting to start out in the industry, it would be:
“Gender does not define your ability, nor does it excuse anything. Know your stuff, speak up, roll your sleeves up, and be the first one to get your hands dirty. Remember you’re there to do the same job, and to do that you have to do the same things.”
The construction industry is fast-paced and constantly changing, which makes Amy excited for what the future holds. She is excited for more women and more diversity to enter the industry. There are many opportunities for sustainability and smart technology in design and construction, as well as the de-stigmatization of emotional intelligence. She is looking forward to the ways in which smart technology can revolutionize her work and continuing to help foster a team dynamic that focuses on collaboration, engagement, and open communication. Of all the lessons she has learned during her career, she would tell you that the most important is,
“You only get one chance to make a first impression. That is the most valuable thing I keep in my mind at all times. As a petite woman, I have to make sure that the first thing anyone knows about is that I’m smart, capable, and have an iron handshake. You get about ten seconds to radiate that first contact.”
Amy, thank you for everything you do for the Financial Facilities Team and the Building Group as a whole. Your work is world-class and we can’t wait to watch you continue to grow and bring beautiful buildings to life!