To kick off our first installment of KS Q&A, we spoke with Danielle Snyder, a former drafter at a successful architectural firm and current estimator with KaneSterling Architectural Products.
What was your job title/function at the architectural firm? What is your job title/function now?
At the architectural firm, I was a CAD/BIM drafter. At KaneSterling, I work in Sales/Estimating.
Due to my architectural background, it's very easy for me to understand ideas that the designers or architects are trying to convey in their building design(s). I'm able to see from both sides why something was drawn in a certain way and how they conceptualized it.
From a very early age, I have always been interested in construction and buildings. I can remember as early as 3rd grade doodling buildings for hours on end. I've also always been great with math and numbers. I always said that if I wasn't involved in construction, that I would want to be an accountant. After I went back to school for an accounting certificate, the construction estimating seemed like a natural fit.
As building products and design concepts are constantly changing and evolving, designers and architects often rely on manufacturer’s reps to keep them up-to-date on the latest innovations in products.
I have been frequently asked how the designers I worked with would decide on what products to use. There is no iron clad answer. We would often use the products that we were most familiar with, perhaps used on a recent project or from a presentation that we attended.
I like that the job keeps me on my toes. There is always something new to learn, and a variety of perspectives to consider when looking at a project. I love a challenge and this job is very rewarding.
Architects truly are unique individuals who have to take many factors of building and design into consideration. The job really is taking someone else’s needs and ideas (the building owner) and translating it into a workable design. Oftentimes, there are so many changes along the way, that the end product might not even reflect the original concept.
- Architects typically see the overall vision for the project, whereas manufacturers understand what will and will not work with their individual products.
- Architects and GC’s often specialize in certain building types (residential, schools, healthcare) however, a building product such as railing, can be used in many applications and construction types.
- Everybody wants to keep the project under budget
- People’s safety is always the largest concern for all parties involved.
I love that construction is something that is very concrete and real.
Design has rules. There are things that will work and that absolutely won’t work. There are always ways to push the boundaries, but the basic laws of physics never change.
When I first began my career in this industry, I was in my early 20s... and back then, people always assumed that I was the secretary. Now the issue I have is that many assume that I'm a male when communicating electronically. I am referred to as "Daniel" and“Mister" on a near-weekly basis! I don't mind, though. Preconceived notions of who I am and/or my capabilities are often what drive me to succeed.
Definitely. I love buildings, design and construction. My ultimate goal is to someday become a specification writer.