Staff Spotlight: Ross Woods

Get to know our new structural engineer, Ross.

1. Where did you go to school?

I received my Bachelor degree from Washington State University in Pullman, Washington. Go Cougs! I then earned my Master degree from University of Michigan, Go Blue!

2. Why you chose to be a structural engineer.

I have always had a strong affinity for math and physics and also an appreciation of beautiful bridges and structures. When I discovered my affinities and my interests intersected in structural engineering, it seemed a simple decision.

3. My most prized possession (outside of family and friends).

I have a prototype Schecter Blasko Signature Bass signed by Blasko, former bassist for Rob Zombie and currently playing with Ozzy Osbourne. Schecter created three prototypes, each in a different finish. Two of the finishes were put into production, my bass is the finish that was left unproduced, making it truly one of a kind.

4. If I wasn’t a structural engineer I would be…

An engineering or physics teacher. I would like to say I’d be a rock star; I love music, but I don’t like touring. I like being home with my wife Jane and daughters Siobhan and Hella too much for the constant travel required of a music career.

5. What are your hobbies?

I like playing board games, listening to and playing music, reading to my daughter, and painting miniature figures to use while playing Dungeons and Dragons.

6. If you could design a structure anywhere in the world, where would it be?

My grandparents left the Cologne area of Germany after WWII, and I still have some distant family in that area. It is a beautiful historic city and I think it would be neat to leave my mark on my familial homeland.

7. What is the most extreme thing you have ever done?

I’m generally not interested in extreme sports or activities like bungee jumping and the like, but I was in a rock band in southeast Michigan for about 10 years. We played in a lot of strange places and we opened for a few smaller national acts.

8. What’s your greatest accomplishment?

I maintained an almost 4.0 GPA in both my undergraduate and graduate studies through both of my wife’s pregnancies, my daughters’ births, and working part-time.

9. What is your favorite day of the week?

Sundays are my favorite days. I work all week and Saturday is the day I work around the house and get things done. Sunday is the day I try to dedicate to spending time with my girls.

10. Why you chose Schaefer.

I had my heart set on returning to the beauty of Washington State upon graduation from University of Michigan, but Schaefer just had to complicate things by letting one of their engineers, Marshall, come recruit at the U of M Career Fair.

In preparation for the career fair, I had checked out the Schaefer website and really liked what I saw, but I put the company low on my list of recruiters to talk to because I was looking for companies with offices in the Pacific Northwest. Luckily, I arrived at the career fair when it opened and very few other students were there. With no lines to wait in for any of the companies (as opposed to the typical 30 minute waits in line), I made it through my list quickly. Before long, I found myself checking in at the Schaefer table, mostly because he had no line and looked friendly and approachable; I was still aiming to get to the west coast so I wasn’t expecting much to come of talking to him. Marshall made a strong case for Schaefer as a company with a great culture and interesting projects that I would enjoy working for. He also made a pretty good pitch for Cincinnati as a city, highlighting the 7 degree average temperature difference and less snow. I was beginning to gain some real interest in the company and gave him a copy of my resume.

I came to interview in December. The interview ended up taking place a week after my second daughter was born, but it was originally scheduled for the day before she would be born. The process of scheduling and rescheduling an interview through such a turbulent time went surprisingly smooth and I must credit that to the responsiveness of the Schaefer staff, especially the human resources manager, Sally. During the interview visit, Schaefer was such a welcoming place; everyone seemed happy with what they were doing and I always felt like what I saw was what I got. The interviewing process struck me as far more friendly, efficient and honest than any other interview I had ever had.

I may not be getting back to Washington, but I think being happy with your career and who you work with is more important than where you live, and luckily my wife agreed.

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