Employee Spotlight: Amanda Schmitt, Mechanical Engineering Associate
Amanda Schmitt, Mechanical Engineering Associate, began at KLH as a co-op student in 2015 and became a full-time employee in 2018. She has completed projects of all types including fit-outs, new construction, upgrades, expansions and shell buildings in the civic, hospitality, lifestyle and retail markets. Her expertise within the mechanical discipline includes HVAC, plumbing and fire protection systems.
What got you first interested in mechanical engineering?
I was in the architectural engineering program at the University of Cincinnati and thought I wanted to go the architecture route. I did my first co-op rotation at KLH after my advisor suggested it. At the time, I had no clue about the mechanical, electrical and plumbing (MEP) side of the industry. I loved working at KLH; each project felt like a puzzle figuring out how to get the building to function in the most efficient way possible. I’ve always tended towards math and science, so along with the problem solving and design aspect, it was the perfect fit! I’m very thankful I listened to my advisor because working at KLH made me interested in mechanical engineering.
What has been your favorite or most challenging project at KLH?
As a co-op and while transitioning to a full-time employee, I got to help with a large project for Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport. There were a lot of challenges with the project, but it was also one of my favorites. First of all, a lot went into coordination for a project like this. Everything was designed with immense detail in Revit to the correct sizes, and with few clashes between all disciplines. This was also the first project that I got to be involved in coordination meetings with other disciplines and see how architects, civil engineers, structural engineers, etc. come together to make a complex project work. Also, it’s always fun to work on projects where you know you’ll get to experience it once it’s complete. I know one day I’ll be walking through the airport for a trip, remembering the role I got to play in the design.
What do you enjoy most about working at KLH?
My favorite thing is definitely the people at KLH. The innovations that are happening within the company are because of the excitement in the office to provide a quality design and experience for the end user. This creates an environment that is continually reflecting on how to be better individually, and corporately. Working on a team with that energy means we come together when things are difficult and celebrate the wins together.
You serve on the Keep Lending a Hand Committee and the Culture Team at KLH. Tell us a little bit about that.
As I said before, the people at KLH are what make the company great, and these two committees aid in the awesome culture. We work to give back to the community by donating our time, talent and treasure. The Keep Lending a Hand Committee helps to organize group volunteering and communicate opportunities around the city, review/approve pro bono projects for non-profits, and review/approve monetary donations to non-profit organizations with which employees are involved. This attitude of giving back is something that connects very closely with my personal values, and I’ve enjoyed the opportunity to be on the committee for the past year.
I also serve on the Wellness Group as a part of the Culture Team. Each year we organize wellness lunch and learns, race sponsorships and teams, and fun things in the office like oatmeal bars. The Culture Team also includes groups that plan happy hours, the company holiday party, and a lot of other fun events for employees.
Since you started at KLH as a co-op, do you have any advice to share with current or future co-op students?
The biggest piece of advice I’d give is to focus first on getting up to speed with the day-to-day skills and tasks. Then try to work on as many different types of projects as you can, even across different disciplines. This will allow you to not only get good experience, but figure out what you’re passionate about.
What do you like to do in your spare time?
Outside of work I spend about 15-20 hours of my week volunteering as a Young Life leader. I get to mentor high school students individually, organize events twice a week, attend sporting events and go on retreats with students and other adult leaders. This is an organization that I discovered when I was in high school and have enjoyed volunteering with for the past six years—first at Batavia High School and now at St. Bernard-Elmwood Place High School!