Wrapping up Women’s History Month
Women’s History Month may be coming to a close but Keast & Hood remains a Women Owned Business all year long! Check in with the female engineers of Keast & Hood to see what initiatives they’re excited about and what projects they’re currently working on.
Denise Richards, PE, Principal and Partner
What’s a favorite initiative that you’re working on right now?
Sustainability and lowering the carbon footprint of structures.
Current project that you’re most excited about?
I’m excited about so many of our projects! One that’s in early design is renovation and expansion to the Carousel House in Fairmount Park. Our firm was involved in the original design, so it’s exciting to breathe new life into a building that will serve the community.
Allie Lukachik, PE, Associate
In my career, my projects are rarely only new construction; more often than not, much of the existing building work I am involved with has a historical component, whether because the building is designated historic or because it features an antiquated structural system. Over the years, this continued exposure and appreciation have strengthened my interest in supporting the preservation community. To that end, I currently volunteer as Treasurer for the Board of the Association for Preservation Technology Delaware Valley Chapter and as a committee member for the Architectural Committee for the Philadelphia Historical Commission.
A current project of mine in construction is the University of Pennsylvania’s Graduate School of Education renovation and expansion project. This project has been an exciting challenge as it involves creating what is essentially three additions to the existing Stiteler and GSE buildings—an addition to the west into the plaza and over the existing below-grade garage space, an addition to the east-facing 37th street walk and a connecting piece bridging two buildings with wildly different existing structural systems and a variety of (mismatched) finished floor elevations. However, the beauty of this project (beyond the structural gymnastics) is the unified façade that will be created along the 37th street walk, creating a cohesive home for the GSE.
Lauren Schmitz, EIT, Structural Designer
I’ve more recently become involved with the sustainability committee which focuses on our commitment to SE2050. We’ve been a signatory firm since January 2021, and have focused on our understanding of embodied carbon. With the submission of our second Embodied Carbon Action Plan (ECAP), we have defined a course of action to maintain our commitment, including adding provisions to our project specifications and encouraging discussions within the construction industry. I’m looking forward to really implementing what the committee has been working on.
I’m very excited to see the exterior masonry restoration progress at the University of Pennsylvania’s Quadrangle dormitories. The complex has 51 historic chimneys that are being stabilized with a cast-in-place liner system. I did a lot of surveying and research for the chimneys, so I’m thrilled they are being saved and that I get to see this unique process being put into action. And of course, I’m looking forward to taking pictures of as many stone masonry bosses as I can.
Amanda Grogin, Structural Designer
One initiative I am most interested in is sustainability in the building and construction industry. Our industry accounts for a large percentage of all carbon emissions, and because of this we have so much more power to bring about change at work than in our personal lives. I am a part of Keast & Hood’s sustainability committee, and I’m helping build our database of project carbon emissions.
The project I am most excited about right now is Northampton Elementary School. It has been the largest project that I have worked on since joining Keast & Hood this summer. It has been a great opportunity especially as a new engineer for gaining experience with new construction, and improving my drafting skills. I can’t wait to see this project continue into construction this year!