Controlled Environments spoke with Katherine M. Everett, PE, LEED AP, the author of the CE column “Ask the Facilities Gal.” Kate is a principal and director of mechanical engineering services at SMRT Architects and Engineers. She has more than 25 years’ experience engineering complex, sustainable mechanical systems for science, technology, healthcare, education, and government clients. Kate can be reached at email@example.com.
Additionally, Kate will be a featured speaker at the 2016 Laboratory Design Conference, which will be held April 25-27 in Houston, Texas. Registration is currently open — click here for more information: http://www.labdesignconference.com/
Controlled Environments (CE): What’s a common mistake made by those working on designing/constructing a laboratory?
Kate Everett (KE): It’s so important to plan a laboratory project efficiently and effectively. Too often we are called in to rescue a project — whether during construction or even after a facility is operational — and the root cause of the issue always goes back to a failure to plan properly. There are a myriad of variables to consider when undertaking a lab project — not just for the issues immediately in front of you, but also those important to consider for the longer term viability and flexibility of the space. I’m looking forward to speaking on that topic with some colleagues at the 2016 Laboratory Design Conference in Houston, and also have a brief column on that topic as it applies to clean facilities in the January/February 2016 issue of Controlled Environments.
CE: Do you speak at other conferences or trade shows? If so, what are your most often asked to speak about?
KE: Energy, energy, energy! As companies become more focused on sustainability, their bottom line over the long term, and ease of maintenance/operations, they are researching and investing in smart, long-term capex projects which offer performance, energy savings, reliability, and ease of maintenance. The technology of building systems is continually evolving and improving, providing viable options today compared to even a few years ago.
CE: What was your favorite college class? Was it related to your current career?
KE: My favorite school project was the egg drop challenge (build a support structure around a raw egg and drop it off a building and see if you can keep it from breaking), something every mechanical engineer did in college. Now my kids are doing the same challenge in the sixth grade! And posting it on YouTube … times have changed, but that exercise taught important fundamentals while making engineering fun. Today, that same sense of fun and discovery is embedded in the engineering work I do every day on behalf of my clients.
CE: What advice do you have for people just starting their career, or for students who are thinking of majoring in architecture/engineering/etc.?
KE: Engineering can be such a broad field, offering many disciplines, ways to practice your craft, and unlimited sub-specialties. That is a great part of the appeal to engineering, but also a great challenge. So it’s important during your education to try different engineering disciplines, then pick what interests you and work to become an expert in that subject. Doing what you love will still be exciting to you many years later, will be personally and professionally rewarding, and you will be an asset to your organization.
CE: What do you like to do in your spare time?
KE: My favorite thing is spending time with my family — my husband and I have four kids so we get immersed in a whole variety of activities. We also enjoy renovating our 100+ year old home, and I’ve been designing and building gardens with lots of flowers. One of my very favorite things is running along the beach and watching the ocean through all sorts of weather and every season.