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Having the tools necessary for completing daily academic tasks are essential for a successful school year.

Back to School: Tips for Aspiring A/E/C Professionals

It’s that time of year where the leaves are falling, college campuses are buzzing (mostly online), and students are preparing for their first exams of the year. Whether you’re in the classroom, learning virtually, or a recent graduate preparing for a designation exam, it is imperative to establish habits  that allow for success at all stages of the education experience and ultimately a career in the A/E/C industry.

Heading Back to Class – What Now?

As most college campuses shift to online learning in the wake of the global pandemic, many students who are used to being in the classroom are now facing a learning curve with virtual learning. Having the tools necessary for completing daily academic tasks are essential for a successful school year. Tools in your academic arsenal should include:

Having the tools necessary for completing daily academic tasks are essential for a successful school year.
Having the tools necessary for completing daily academic tasks are essential for a successful school year and studying for exams.
  • Comfortable workspace
  • Calculator
  • Highlighters and pens
  • Reliable computer and internet connection
  • Day planner or calendar
  • A well-stocked bookmarks bar on your search engine with relevant sources for studying

Effective Communication is Key

FWA employees who are recent college graduates and FWA interns still in school agree that communication is one of the most important components of success in both the academic and professional arenas. Learning to communicate effectively with professors, peers, and colleagues, as well as how to analyze an audience for presentations and group projects helps to build a strong foundation for project management and future project interviews.

The emergence of COVID-19 and subsequent lack of in-person communication opportunities have caused many to adjust their communication styles and very quickly embrace new technology. This is true for not only design professionals collaborating on projects, but also for college professors and students having to improve time management skills with the increased need for self-imposed deadlines. Issues with technology are unavoidable, therefore communicating effectively with those who can help, whether it is fellow students, professors, or colleagues, eases the transition to the virtual world.

What about Test Taking?

Test taking within the A/E/C industry requires practice, focus, and a solid command of the subject matter that will be presented on the exam. Preparing for college exams, Fundamentals of Engineering (FE), Principals of Engineering (PE), Architect Registration Examination (ARE), Fundamentals of Surveying (FS), Principles and Practices of Surveying (PS), and the four-part Landscape Architect Registration Examination (LARE) should not be aimless and without proper guidance and discipline. Learning effective time management, establishing a routine that works for your schedule, and becoming familiar with the study materials are all methods used by current and aspiring FWA professionals.

Routine, Routine, Routine

This may seem like a given, but establishing a realistic routine can facilitate ultimate exam success. FWA professionals recommend planning out a study schedule in advance, allotting for review sessions, and getting into a routine based on the time of day that you tend to work the most effectively. By falling into this schedule, studying will not seem like an extra chore, rather an essential part of the day.

Familiarity with Materials

It’s rare to walk past the desk of an A/E/C professional and not see them working out numbers on a calculator. Becoming familiar with and routinely practicing with the necessary materials that will be used during the exam is imperative. Becoming efficient using the reference manuals on the computer, using shortcuts such as CTRL-F to search, and using solve functions on the calculator to save time with statistics and calculus questions will allow for effective time management during the actual test. When in doubt, YouTube it out! Utilizing online resources and observing how others work out equations can help devise a system that works best for you and your learning style.

Work Hard, Play Hard, Avoid Burnout

Learning to effectively work and study within the confines of COVID-19 can be challenging but implementing the aforementioned tips can help, as can setting and celebrating short-term goals along the way. It is important to work and study hard but equally as important to take breaks along the way that allow for relaxation and time to reflect on the progress that has been made.

“Patience and perseverance have a magical effect before which difficulties disappear and obstacles vanish.” – John Quincy Adams

Blog Contributors: Veronika Vall, EIT | FWA Project Engineer; Seth Orsini, EIT | FWA Project Engineer; Scott Forsythe | FWA Project Engineer; Allison Rogers | FWA Architectural Intern

Solanco High School Activities Building

Solanco High School Activities Building

FWA provided design and construction administration services for the renovation of Solanco High School’s sports activities building, which was damaged by a windstorm in March of 2018. The building includes weight training, wresting rooms, the football locker rooms, and shower and toilet rooms for both men and women. FWA provided architectural, civil engineering, and surveying services for the project.

The building’s upper level design is to accommodate the high school varsity and junior varsity wrestling program. The space is a 4,424 square foot room, with wrestling mats on all floors and walls to 8” high. A wrestling locker room and staff offices are provided. A girl’s locker room facility was also included on the upper level to support the girls’ sports programs, associated with the tennis courts and athletic field, both adjacent to the building. The lower level’s design includes the varsity and junior varsity football program’s showers, locker room, toilet room, coaches’ conference room/team room, and offices. The lower level also has a trainer’s room to be used for the various athletic events that occur on the High School’s campus. The building was designed to meet the ADA guidelines on both the upper and lower levels.

Services provided by FWA included existing conditions survey, programming, schematic design, bid document preparation, permitting, cost estimates, and construction administration.

Located at Shucks Regional Park in Harford County.

Miracle League Adaptive Baseball Field

Play Ball! FWA provided full service engineering design, surveying, architectural design, and landscape architecture services for the Miracle League adaptive baseball field located at Schucks Regional Park in Harford County.

The Miracle League of Harford County’s mission is to allow children and adults with disabilities the chance to play baseball on the specially designed rubberized fields.

Our engineering scope of services included the design of the field’s location, site layout, grading and site improvements to support the field, stormwater management and water quality facilities, sediment and erosion control, and on-site storm drainage systems.

FWA’s surveying team provided a topographic survey and construction stakeout services of the area for the field placement, the respective stormwater management facilities, and ADA parking area and accessible pathway. Architectural services were provided for the dugouts and FWA’s landscape architecture team prepared the landscape plans.

For more information on this project and its positive impact on the community, please visit https://www.baltimoresun.com/maryland/harford/aegis/sports/cng-ag-sp-miracle-league-field-update-0708-20200708-v6r4ysf2x5cbxh4uaqmv2nud74-story.html?fbclid=IwAR3384I5hzAK2Oi2rMGRYS-BibkBWOS-cg093eayEFMIDG69e88kKRrU_sE

Photos provided by Mid-Atlantic Photographic, LLC.

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Designed to evoke the senses, this section of the trail provides stimulation for adults and children of all abilities.

Emily Bayless Graham Park

Frederick Ward Associates provided entitlement documents for a walking trail on the Emily Bayless Graham property, which was deeded to Harford County. The proposed amenities included a new access roadway, parking lot, pavilion area, restroom facilities, two miles of walking trail, groundkeeper’s mobile home, and an approved concept stormwater management design and report.

After receiving the final site plan approval, we prepared final construction documents of which the main scope of services included a topographic survey, geotechnical investigation, final stormwater management design, erosion and sediment control design, and design services for the driveway, parking lot, and a trail.

Within the 1.5-mile trail is a 0.5-mile loop that makes up the Emily Bayless Graham Park Nature Based Sensory Trail. Designed to evoke the senses, this loop provides stimulation for adults and children of all abilities.

In addition, FWA provided services for project specification, cost estimating, permitting, and bidding phase services.

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ABC Greater Baltimore Entrance

ABC Greater Baltimore Construction Education Academy

FWA designed the Baltimore Chapter of Associated Builders and Contractor’s new headquarters, as well as the space for their Construction Education Academy.

One-sixth of the 28,000 SF is allotted for ABC’s corporate offices, while the remaining space contains classrooms and training labs for various construction trades, as well as conference rooms and gathering areas.

This adaptive reuse project is a tenant fit-out of the A. Hoen & Co. building, a former lithographic plant and Maryland Historical Trust-recognized historic building. The building had been vacant since 1981 and the design integrated the historic elements of the building such as the masonry, the large warehouse style windows, industrial barn doors, and original lithograph blocks.

The project was completed in September 2020.

“This project matters because there is a shortage of construction workers in the Baltimore region. This project is going to bring a new era into the region for construction training.”

– Ted Jasinski, AIA, NCARB, FWA Vice President and Director of Architecture

ABC Baltimore Construction Education Academy

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COVID19 Commitment

FWA’s Commitment to Service and Safety During COVID19

COVID19 CommitmentDespite the challenges presented by COVID19, all of us at Frederick Ward Associates are working together to provide continuous service, while also taking precaution to keep our employees, families, clients, and communities safe.

We are committed to serving our clients and business partners and are successfully working within the constraints of the social distancing requirements. You can trust that we remain available for you and your design needs!

We respect the commitment of all of those who are providing for our communities during these difficult times and thank you; especially those working in the healthcare, financial institution, grocery, education, and construction industries, as well as all other industries that are essential to our daily lives.

Stay well. We will get through this together!

John V. Mettee, IV joins Cecil County Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors

John V. Mettee, IV Appointed to Cecil County Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors

John V. Mettee, IVSenior Vice President and Director of Surveying, Mr. John V. Mettee, IV, is one of six new Board Members for Cecil County Chamber of Commerce.

As a lifelong Cecil County resident, John is thrilled to have the opportunity to serve Cecil County through his role as a member of the Chamber’s board.

In addition to his role at Frederick Ward Associates, John is also an owner and operator of Tattoo Icons, a tattoo and piercing shop in Cecil County’s Perryville, MD. Tattoo Icons was established in 2012, and has quickly grown into one of the premier shops in the county.

As a graduate of the Harford Leadership Academy and the Core Leadership Program, John also sits on the board for the Harford Leadership Academy while simultaneously serving as the current Susquehanna Chapter Chair for the Maryland Society of Surveyors. Other industry-related groups and local non-profit organizations that John remains active in include NAIOP, ABC Baltimore, Maryland Center for the Arts, Boys and Girls Club, ULI, MBIA, and Habitat for Humanity.

John resides in Colora, MD with his wife, Jamila, and their five children. When not working or volunteering, John can be found crabbing on his boat, doing home improvement projects, or shopping for unique and fashionable outfits.