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Facility Planner Ann Drummie, Brailsford & Dunlavey

Ann Drummie is a trained architect and a licensed civil engineer with a liberal arts degree, and therefore serves as a natural translator between campus administrators and their architects and builders. At Brailsford & Dunlavey, Ms. Drummie has successfully assisted over 25 institutions through various stages of feasibility assessment, facility planning, business planning, and the management of design and construction. She also has experience as a participant, coach, administrator, and volunteer board member in various recreation and athletic venues that adds to her ability to provide comprehensive, sensitive, and effective planning services.

Age:

37

Title:

Senior Associate

Previous Job:

Analyst, with the same firm

First Job:

Testing and analyzing railway bridges for maintenance

Education:

B.A. Liberal Arts from Smith College, Northampton, MA;
Master of Architecture from McGill University, Montreal, Quebec;
B. Eng. (Civil) from McGill University, Montreal, Quebec

Resides:

Washington, DC

Grew Up:

Ottawa, Ontario

Person most admired:

my grandmother

Best advice you received:

You actually know more than you think you do; trust your instincts.

Favorite movie:

My favorite movie is Hopscotch

Favorite musician:

George Gershwin

Last Book Read:

Harry Potter

Favorite Sporting Event:

anything at the Winter Olympics!

What does a Facility Planner do?
We help Owners (often colleges and universities) think through their ideas for facilities so that there is a broad understanding and support for the project. It’s like helping to figure out how many bedrooms you need or want, if you’d like the laundry to be next to the master bedroom or in the basement, if you need a garage, how large a lot it will need, where it might be, how much it will cost to build, and how much it will cost to own it every year. You need to figure that out if you want to talk to an architect to build a house, so similarly Owners need to have a developed concept before pursuing financing and hiring a designer for a new building, addition, or renovation project. Most Owners will only build one sports facility in their career (if any), whereas these facilities are our specialty and we’ve helped on hundreds. So we can assist through the planning process to get a fully successful project.


How did you get into this type of business?
With my engineering degree I had started working at a railway company and had wandered through its departments until I was planning and designing new railway cars. I realized though that outside of work I was playing, teaching, coaching, administering, and managing sports; so I thought a better career fit would be to apply the skills to sports facilities instead; I networked and researched and found a great company that does exactly that!

How important is math, science, technology and engineering for girls and women?
It’s important to follow your passions. I had good grades in math and science but I didn’t want to be a mathematician or a scientist, and wasn’t sure how important they were to me until I was exposed to engineering and saw it as a way to apply the math and science to things I saw in my daily life like bridges, trains, airplanes, roads, and buildings.

It’s very important to have more and more girls and women dive into math, science, technology, and engineering, to add more voices and ideas to the built environment that we live in.


Ann served as project manager for
St. Christopher's School in Richmond, Virginia

It’s also though very important for every girl and woman to recognize some piece of math/science/tech/eng that they like and feel proud of it. It might be small, but it might be enough and just the right piece to help improve communications and understanding in the long run at a time that you least expect.


How do you balance your life and work?
Recreational sports are my biggest balancing tool. Organized leagues are great for continuity and scheduling. I add pick-up games or just general activity when time is available. It always seems to work out that if work is getting tense, that I’ll have a success on the court/ice/course and vice versa. There’s always at least one great shot or play that will give you a smile and keep things in perspective.


What is your biggest challenge?
Living in Washington DC is amazing but my family doesn’t live here, so I don’t see them as much as I would ideally like to. It’s a high priority to visit and call to keep up-to-date and connected to my best source of support.


What’s the first word that comes to mind to the following?
Share - Dreams
Educate - Everyone
Empower - Spirit


What advice would you give women wanting to get into this industry?
For any industry, my advice is to find and talk with people who are doing what you think you want to do. Facility planning is work that combines a lot of disciplines, but comes down to the art of telling a story once you’ve gone through a variety of analyses. Successful facility planners have had degrees and often work experience in real estate, finance, higher education administration, urban planning, architecture, construction, and many other fields – at my firm, we all started with strengths and weaknesses (and even voids) in knowledge, but are all willing and continue to learn and become multi-disciplined consultants.

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