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Kimberly McKew

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Name/Title/Company: Kimberly McKew, BIM director, NV5

Age: 44

What does your day-to-day job entail?

  • In the office every day.
  • Check BIM mailbox, where all BIM related requests go.
  • Check in with BIM team in the states and overseas to assign work.
  • Check and respond to emails in my own mailbox and respond to questions and requests.
  • Respond to Teams messages with questions, requests, and technical support needs that are time sensitive.

In general, the following list contains tasks performed not necessarily daily but at some point during the week.

  • Attend kickoff meetings.
  • Review/edit BIM execution plans for various projects.
  • Attend coordination meetings for projects.
  • Work with other design technology team members to develop and maintain corporate standards, templates, and content libraries.
  • Provide customized training and support to a variety of user skill levels and disciplines.
  • Ensure projects are set up properly and provide oversight on BIM quality across project teams.
  • Create projects on BIM 360, internally, and on client sites.
  • Aid in model management both on 360 and on local servers.
  • Assist scan to BIM team.
  • Assist project managers and provide guidance in BIM and on appropriate planning and use of technology on projects.
  • Maintain relationships with clients and produce workflows for sharing and consuming non-native Autodesk data and models.
  • Provide supervision and guidance for the overall functioning of the design technology department within the BTS division of NV5. 
  • Provide direction for the development of standards, content development, and training as well as best practices and processes to maintain a high level of consistency and efficiency. 
  • Work with the managers of design technology within each business unit on the implementation and maintenance of corporate standards, process flows, and training.
  • Research, test, and implement procedures of new, and/or update existing, design software for improved production and methods.
  • Document training procedures for all design software currently in use as well as any procedures for new programs. Continually improve the electronic P&D BIM handbook on network for all BIM technicians, designers, and engineers.
  • Assist production staff on client BIM standards, client setups, and P&D standards.
  • Assist in the training and skills development of P&D staff through training seminars, verbal instruction, and bringing new technical developments in house.
  • Train new hires in procedures of setup, standards, and multi-discipline drafting. Implement a consistent training program for new hires.
  • Assist in the transition to new versions of CAD and Revit to be rolled out to P&D staff members.
  • Assist in educating clients on how P&D utilizes AutoCAD MEP, Revit MEP, and any future releases of design software and how our software packages will interact with each other.
  • Research and implement methods of file management, preparation, and procedures.
  • Assist with project deliverables
  • Perform CAD/Revit work as needed.
  • May provide back-up to P&D’s IS department on an occasional basis with basic computer troubleshooting activities.
  • Provide help desk support as needed to staff members on BIM-related issues.
  • Support production staff with Autodesk and Bluebeam technical support.
  • Configure BIM on all P&D PCs for production staff, including Autodesk Software, add-ins, custom content, and configure.

What caused you to/when did you fall in love with engineering?

It is kind of in my DNA, as my father is an engineer. I grew up going into the office with him on occasion. I got a job out of high school working at an engineering firm doing administrative tasks. I learned CAD in my spare time. Eventually, I became a drafter, designer, coordinator, virtual design and construction (VDC) manager for a construction company, a BIM manager, and a director.

What has been the most rewarding/proudest aspect of your engineering career?

Working with the clients and our production staff has been incredibly rewarding. I really like helping people. Having been involved in all aspects of an engineering firm (aside from business development and accounting) and working for a construction firm for a short time, I have a unique understanding of projects from start to finish. I understand the product that needs to be delivered, how it needs to be delivered, and how to facilitate that with the project budget and client in mind.

What challenges do women face in this profession? Can you give a personal example? Why aren’t there more women in engineering? How can we increase the number of women in engineering?

It can be hard to be heard, sometimes you are the only female in the room. There just aren’t a lot of us. To help overcome this shortage, I think engineering should be offered at the high school level, even if it’s just at tech schools.

How many years have you been active in the engineering sector? What’s changed the most in that time? What’s changed the least?

I’ve been in the industry for more than 20 years. What’s changed: Everything is digital and timelines are shorter. Drafting is done in CAD, and now Revit, as opposed to by hand. We deliver PDFs instead of hard copies. We send PDFs via file-share methods as opposed to a courier. We digitally stamp and certify instead of wet stamping and signing drawings. We can collaborate in real time with multiple trades and consultants and can deliver a fully coordinated model to be constructed.

BIM technology evolves exponentially. Tell us about the changes you’ve incorporated over your career, and what makes them so challenging and rewarding.

I’ve created templates and standards with documentation for our users and am always looking for ways they can more easily do their job as it relates to BIM and documenting that process. Training, in house, as it specifically relates to what we do.

How do you keep yourself up to date on the new technologies and innovations that constantly surface in the BIM sector?

I educate myself by reading articles and attending seminars and training sessions through Autodesk or vendor software.

What drives/motivates you every day?

I really like happy clients and coworkers. Their happiness truly makes all of this worthwhile to me. I like for our team to be at the top of our game. When they succeed, my team has succeeded.

What remains on your engineering bucket list — what do you aspire to do that you haven’t accomplished yet?

I don’t feel that I have learned all that there is to learn in my current role. NV5 is a large company with many different trades that I have never worked with internally. We recently started Scan to BIM, and I am learning a lot about that.

What’s one thing no one knows about you?

I don’t know that there is anything.

List any mentors who’ve helped you succeed and describe precisely how they’ve shaped your success.

My Dad, Howie, of course. I am really lucky to have him as my dad. He’s always been an awesome dad, but when I started working, he was someone I could go to for anything work-related.

Mitsu Koshima is another person I consider a mentor. He taught me how to be a designer and coordinator and truly wanted to see me succeed. He provided a way for me to learn and grow in whatever direction I needed to go.

What advice do you have for prospective female engineers considering entering the field?

Do it. I haven’t met a female engineer yet that isn’t a great engineer. It is career that is challenging yet rewarding.

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January 2024