Founders Round Table: Women Trailblazers in the Lowcountry

The Charleston Chapter had a great reprise of an event we started last year: The Founders Round Table. This year, we focuse on women trailblazers in architecture, engineering, and construction. 

The panel we invited consisted of some real powerhouse professionals:
  • Beth Crutchfield, PE, LEED-AP: A licensed professional engineer and holds a Bach-elor of Science in Electrical Engineering from West Virginia Wesleyan College as well as graduate work at Clemson University. She is a LEED Accredited Professional (LEED AP), and is an active member of The Society of Women Engineers. Beth joined
    RMF Engineering as part of the electrical engineering team in 1992 in the Baltimore office. Her experience captures both institutional building and infrastructure projects and encompasses all phases of development including schematics, design development, A & E coordination, construction documents, construction administration, and commissioning.
  • Nina Fair: Is an architectural specifier with over 30 years of experience in commercial architectural firms. Ms. Fair has extensive knowledge of design and construction processes, product selection, material standards and codes. Ms. Fair is a registered architect, a CSI certified construction specifier, and a LEED Accredited Professional. Her quest to under-stand the mysteries of the building enclosure inspired her to become a founder of BEC-Charleston, SC.
  • Cherie Liollio, AIA: An award-winning designer & illustrator, Cherie’s work encompass-es education, community, institutional and commercial facilities. Her 40+ year portfolio covers an extraordinary range of project types, siz-es
    and concepts. Cherie has designed & managed over five million square feet of public & school facilities. Many organizations have recognized her contributions to the building environment by virtue of design awards. Organizations include the U.S. Green Building Council,  National School Board Association, American Association of School Administrators, School Planning & Management and the Council of Educational Facilities Planners Inc. Cherie was honored with three CEFPI National Impact on Learning Awards. 
  • Nina Marshtein, PG: Brings to SCS over 20 years of experience in the environmental engineering field. She is the office manager for SCS’s Charleston, South Carolina office. Her expertise is in property transfers, including Phase I and II process, with an emphasis on Brownfield redevelopment. Her responsibilities have included Phase I Environmental
    Site Assessments (ESAs), subsurface investigations, and conducting underground storage tank (UST) closures, assessments, and cleanups, geotechnical soil analyses, asbestos laboratory management, vibration monitoring during construction, supervising geotechnical drilling, soil classifications, NPDES permits, and various other environmental tasks.
  • Whitney Powers, AIA: is the president of Studio A, Inc., and she has guided the firm’s evolution since its founding in 1989. She believes that architecture is an art and a science. It must be expressively of time and place; responsibly engage the environment; and, fulfill the client requirements. While Mrs. Powers has accepted innumerable awards for the work of the firm, and has lectured and been published widely; the most worthwhile endeavor is the collaborative engagement with clients. She is actively involved in the community life of Charleston, serving on numerous on civic and non-profit boards.
Our moderator for the evening was another incredibly impressive architect:
  • Gretchen McKellar Penney, AIA: a Clemson graduate who followed her father into architecture. For 16 years she practiced as a partner in McKellar Associates, leaving the firm in 1999 to devote her considerable energy and talent
    to making a difference in the community and the profession. A volunteer with Trident United Way for over eleven years she served as a member of the  Board of Directors, the Women’s Leadership Steering Committee and Community Impact Council., focusing on impactful programs to bring financial stability to families. As a leader of AIA Gretchen brought fundraising expertise to the AIA enabling increased financial support for scholarship programs, component grants, and research awards. In addition, she has worked to encourage young members in leadership roles.

The discussion ranged from how they decided on their field, how encouraged or discouraged (almost no discouragement, if you are curious) were our panelists when they were starting out, and how they integrated family life with professional life (a challenge for almost all professionals.) 

The program last about an hour and half, with a short period for informal chats in the prefunction area. Clemson Design Center was a great location for the event, and director Ray Huff, and administrator Mimi Rose, gave us soem incredible assistance in getting our program off the ground. The reception beforehand included delicious food by Crazy Dutchman. 

This was a truly memorable evening, with a great turnout. And special thank to our panelists and to our moderator who made it so successful.

IMG_20200115_190315535_HDR.jpgPanelists from left to right: Whitney Powers, Nina Marshtein, Beth Crutchfield, Nina Fair, and Cherie Liollio.

IMG_20200115_191123586.jpgAudience listening attentively.

IMG_20200115_194537401.jpgPost-program group shot. From left to right: Beth Crutchfield, Whitney Powers, Nina Marshtein, Gretchen Penney, Nina Fair, and Cherie Liollio