April 11, 2022
These words describe Jennifer Marks and her contributions to the AEC industry and PWC-CT.
Our communications team sat down with her for an interview and learned of her interesting history and passion for mentorship and AEC!
Marks always had a technical yet artistic ability. In high school she began mechanical drafting and dabbled in architectural drawings. Her skills easily translated into a Geology major and Cartography minor at Boston University. While at BU Marks competed on the Women’s CREW team and went to Wisconsin for a championship. She decided WI was for her and stayed.
While in WI, Marks landed her first job by cold calling geotechnical companies and land surveying firms to see if they had open positions. It worked! Her first job included hand drafting and gaining field experience with survey crews. That was the start of her land surveying career!
Soon she moved to New Haven, CT and got a job with a premiere engineering firm as a surveyor. Marks worked at several other companies in CT and MA before settling with BL Companies, a leading multi-discipline engineering and architecture firm, in 1992 in a field position as a Survey Crew Chief. She obtained her CT survey license shortly after and became a leader in the department.
Marks is happy to celebrate her 30th anniversary with BL Companies as the Executive Director of Survey Services and a Principal in the firm. She is responsible for overseeing BL’s land surveying and subsurface utility engineering (SUE) services. This leadership role offers Marks diversity – her responsibilities include project management, business development, client care and QAQC.
Aside from her day-to-day duties Marks is involved in leadership and staff development training as well as recruiting and retention. She is continually learning herself. As a licensed surveyor Marks stays up to date on the latest laws, rules and regulations of the surveying profession. She continues her education by attending local and national industry association events, conferences and online courses. Marks also takes advantage of the training BL hosts on various industry related topics.
What do you find most fulfilling about your career?
“It’s varied and diverse. Surveyors are like detectives; they combine history, math and technology to solve land boundaries. Not to mention it’s an outdoor profession and generally our surveyors are not stuck at a desk. While I am not active in the field, I enjoy the business aspect of the profession too.
I also find the technological advances so impressive since my start 30 years ago. I went from performing calculations by hand or long form on a calculator to software that automatically calculates just about everything.”
Why are you a PWC CT Volunteer?
“I believe in this professional organization. Mentorship is so important to me. My PWC CT involvement is also powerful for my business development efforts and leadership development, as well as a chance to give back. I’ve been a mentor to many women over the years.”
What other industry associations are you engaged with?
“My first leadership role with an industry association was with the CT Association of Land Surveyors (CALS) where I went through the board and officer ranks. I’ve also been involved with Commercial Real Estate Women (CREW) over the least 10 years, as a board member and past president.
What do you like best about the AEC industry?
“I love the creativity and seeing things get built. The multidiscipline nature of this industry promotes synergy and inspires us to create. Land surveyors are often the first ones to take a project from conception and begin to bring it to life. I love how my profession fits in with infrastructure and buildings, and that I had a hand in something bigger than myself.”
Is there any advice you can offer?
“This is a great industry to be in. The role of women is more important than ever in this industry. We are leaders and can drive projects to conclusion with our collaboration, multi-tasking and ability to get things done. Recruiting and retention is a big problem. I encourage all established AEC professionals to put in time and effort to connect with younger generations to inspire them to join this industry.”
1. Marks holds 9 surveying licenses across multiple states!
2. She was on the Boston University women’s CREW Team and captain her senior year!
3. Marks was BL’s 8th employee! They now have 380 employee-owners and 17 locations!
4. As a cartography minor in the 80’s Marks drew maps by hand! CAD wasn’t around yet.
5. Some of her favorite technological advancements include CAD | robotic – 1 man crew | GPS | Laser scanning | UAVs (drones)
6. Marks has been involved on the PWC CT’s Scholarship committee for many years and became the chair of Mentorship committee in 2021.
We hope you were as inspired as we were after reading about Jennifer Marks and her role in PWC CT and the AEC industry. For more information about our member spotlights or to recommend someone to be featured please reach out to our communications committee chair. Be sure to follow us on social media too!
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