With E.W. Howell Construction Group
PLAINVIEW, NY—Molly Rooney first discovered her love of engineering in an art class. When the high school junior was looking at colleges and considering career paths, her uncle, Howard Rowland, president and CEO of E.W. Howell Construction Group, suggested she consider engineering.
It was the AutoCAD drawing class that clinched the deal, she explained. “I loved it. It sparked my interest to pursue engineering in college,” Molly said, speaking recently from her office at E.W. Howell Co., LLC, here on Long Island.
Her employer is a member of the Building Contractors Association of Westchester & Mid-Hudson Region, Inc. Through its education affiliate, the Construction Advancement Institute now awards $5,000 in college grants to the relatives of BCA member companies and participating labor union locals.
Mr. Rowland’s interest and attention in Molly’s futu
re was also instrumental in her career choice, she explained. “My uncle’s enthusiasm for his work drew me to engineering,” she said. “When I was younger he would take me to see the buildings in various stages of construction and I began to see his fascination with the field. He told me that in 25-plus years in the business, he has never been bored or looked at the clock, wondering when it was time to go home.”
Looking at her background it is obvious that clock watching isn’t part of her style either. Teachers at Patchogue-Medford High School on Long Island have praised her as an intellectually gifted, conscientious, dedicated leader with well-above average skills at problem solving. She became a member of the National Honor Society and a Scholar Athlete. Her extra-curricular activities included fundraising for crisis-torn Haiti, and Relay For Life, a 24-hour fundraiser that garners money for all types of cancer.
“I have so many family members who have been stricken with some type of (cancer) that it has become very personal to me. Seeing everyone come together to raise money—all with the same hope that a cure for even one type of cancer will be the result – is an amazing thing to be part of.”
A native of Patchogue, NY, Molly graduated from the University of Binghamton in 2014. With help from Mr. Rowland’s sponsorship, she earned a CAI (Construction Advancement Institute) scholarship that gave her confidence and helped her to purchase the necessary supplies and tools for her college work. With a focus on her future, she said her college experiences helped her to walk her path to engineering. “Being a part of group projects and being surrounded by like-minded individuals following a road to engineering allowed me to get the most from my classes and achieve my goals,” she said. Those goals include earning a master’s degree in Civil Engineering and becoming a Professional Engineer. She has already passed the Fundamentals of Engineering (FE) exam and plans on more study to obtain a PE degree.
Molly has expanded her interest by becoming a LEED AP, BD&C (LEED-accredited Professional in Building Design and Construction). Her present position at E.W. Howell as Assistant Project Manager includes the responsibilities of coordinating between the mechanical, electrical, plumbing, and fire protection subcontractors, tracking deliveries, lead times, and inspections. She is also responsible for submitting LEED documents on two current projects. Her mentor, she notes, is her direct supervisor and PE.
Reflecting on her early interest in engineering, Molly said doing the research and taking as many classes as possible would be her advice to high school and college students considering the field.
“There are so many options,” she observed. “Learning a little about each one allowed me to determine that I was best suited for mechanical engineering, as opposed to electrical or chemical.”
Molly also voiced the adage and long-held work ethic handed down from generation to generation: “Try not to get discouraged,” she said. “There is no doubt that it is a lot of hard work, but
when you succeed it makes it all worthwhile.”
Sheila Smith Drapeau