Ellyn A. Lester

TEACHING ASSOCIATE PROFESSOR
School: Schaefer School of Engineering & Science
Department: Civil, Environmental and Ocean Engineering
Building: EAS119B
Phone: 201.216.3619
Email: elester@stevens.edu
Education

University of Kansas School of Architecture and Urban Design

Master of Architecture

 

William Allen White School of Journalism and Mass Communication: University of Kansas

Bachelor of Science in Journalism

 

 

Research

In an article recently published by the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) a geographically and demographically representative sample of their membership expressed concerns about the aging workforce, the continued movement of engineers from firm to firm, and the lack of knowledge management systems - yet many had no systematic plan for updating their skills.

Most respondents also weren't satisfied with their employers’ Knowledge Management (KM) programs; on a scale of 1 to 10, where 10 was highest satisfaction, the average response was a 5.6 – merely average. The respondents also indicated that less than half of their companies have methods to share knowledge, whether by mentoring, training, or other tools for knowledge capture...

When asked how engineers kept up with knowledge in their fields, respondents cited colleague/peer-to-peer interaction, which is typical within the built environment. IEEE asked, as experienced engineers leave the work force, who will take on this mentoring/knowledge sharing role?” IEEE posed the question, but offered no response.

None of these statements are surprising, as much of my career has centered on these issues. Whether working in architecture firms, non-profits supporting the Built Environment, or in academia, I’ve always been passionate about the future of the professions and those that produce the Built Environment. Unless we find a better way to transfer specific knowledge in a more systematic, organized manner, our future is in peril. 

I believe that mentorship is the answer. As the IEEE survey pointed out, the majority of learning in the Built Environment is via peer interaction. That’s why a structured approach to mentorship in the Built Environment is necessary... now more than ever.

Thus, my current research centers around one primary question: “How can mentorship programs be designed/improved to increase the transfer of knowledge in the built environment?”

 

Peer Reviewed Conference Proceedings:

  “The Social Phenomenon of Changing Workplace Dynamics: Encouraging Mentors to Share Knowledge -- Psychology in Construction International Conference, University of Wolverhampton, Wolverhampton, UK -- 2018 

 

“Mentorship as a Key to a Sustainable Future for the Built Environment”  -- International Conference on Construction Futures, University of Wolverhampton, Wolverhampton, UK -- 2018

 

“An Exploration of Mentorship as a Source for Knowledge Sharing in the Built Environment”  -- SPARC Conference,  University of Salford, Manchester, UK -- 2018

 

  “A Grounded Theory Approach to Mentorship”  -- CIB International Research Conference, University of Salford, Manchester, UK -- 2017

 

“Strategic Positioning for Communities of Sustainable Practice”  -- Living and Sustainability: An Environmental Critique of Design and Building Practices, Locally and Globally (Amps), London, UK -- 2017

 

“Framework for a successful engineered response to rapid urbanization in the developing world” (Lester, Thomas & Lester) -- 4th Annual International Conference on Architecture and Civil Engineering (ACE2016) Conference Proceedings, Singapore, Singapore -- 2016

 

“Strategic Responses to Cyclical Environments, an Entrepreneurial Imperative” (Lester & Thomas)  -- Mid-Atlantic ASEE Conference, Villanova University, Villanova, PA-- 2015 

General Information

Ellyn Lester is a Teaching Associate Professor of Construction Management, Director of Built Environment Programs, and Associate Chair of Graduate Studies for the Civil, Environmental and Ocean Engineering Department at Stevens Institute of Technology.

In addition to her teaching and administrative duties, Ellyn Lester serves as the point of contact for the program's outreach to the professional community. As such, she leads Construction Management Executive Roundtables, organizes professional and company seminars, and negotiates the program's professional and research relationships with industry.

Before joining Stevens, Lester worked at the New School of Architecture and Design in San Diego, was Vice President of Architecture for MBA Management, and was Vice President of Membership Services at the Design-Build Institute of America.

Lester has presented her research at numerous regional, national, and international academic and professional conferences, including CIB International Research, ICCF, ASEE, and Amps, as well as ECC International, CMAA National, and AIA National. Her notable awards include the 2018 Stevens’ Faculty Appreciation Award, 2012 AIA Associate of the Year, and SMPS National’s Striving for Excellence Grand Prize in 2001.

 
Institutional Service

Program Director: Built Environment Programs -- (M.S. Construction Management; M.E. Construction Engineering & Management; PhD in the Built Environment) 

Associate Chair of Graduate Studies: Civil, Environmental, and Ocean Engineering

Graduate Curriculum Committee Member: CEOE Representative

Nariman Farvardin Chair Professor in Civil Engineering – Search Committee Member     

Construction Engineering and Management: Assistant Professor Search Committee Member  

Graduate Research Conference: Faculty Advisor & Juror  

Schaefer School of Engineering and Science “WORKDAY Student”: Task Force               

Developed and Teach a Preparatory Short Course for Construction Manager in Training (CMIT) Exam               

Joint Master Program with Shanghai Jiao Tong University (Shanghai, China) 2016-2017

NSF Advance: ExcelA Program Member

Construction Management Student Organization: Faculty Advisor

Stevens Institute of Technology: Teaching Circle Member

Construction Management Program: Master's Thesis Reader

Professional Service

Invited Lectures & Seminars:

“Activating Trust: The Critical Factor in Construction Management” 2018 --  The Construction Management Association of America – National Conference Presentation

 

Pratt Institute: B.S. Construction Management Program 2018 -- Construction Management I – Final Project Juror

 

“Exploiting Trust: The Critical Factor in Knowledge Transfer During Succession Planning” 2017 -- The Association for the Capital Projects Engineering & Const. Industry - National Conference Presentation

 

“Closing the Knowledge Gap between Academia and Industry” 2017 -- The Association for the Capital Projects Engineering & Const. Industry - National Conference Presentation

 

“Knowledge Transfer in Succession Planning: How to Retain Your Business when Your Key Employees Retire 2017 --American Institute of Architects: Virginia Chapter – Regional Conference

 

“Making the Most of your Mentor Relationship” 2017 --Construction Management Association of America – National Rising CM Conference

 

"Designing Your Future in the Built Environment: Developing a Personal Strategic Plan” 2015, 2016 -- Construction Management Association of America - National Rising CM Conference

 

The Future of the Built Environment: Spotting Trends in the Industry and Designing Successful Strategies” 2016 -- Gilbane Construction Headquarters, NYC 

 

“Lessons in Learning: Employing New Technologies to Cultivate Active Learning in Hybrid Courses” 2015 -- Seminar sponsored by the Center for Faculty Advancement, Hoboken, NJ, October 7, 2015

 

“Research Opportunities at Stevens Institute of Technology in the Built Environment” 2015 -- Steven’s Construction Management Advisory Board Meeting at the NYBC in NYC, co-presenter: Linda Thomas, PhD

 

“Your Future in the Built Environment: Personal Strategic Planning” 2015 -- Invited speaker at The Pratt Institute in NYC 

 

The SU+RE House! Designed by Students from Stevens Institute of Technology, Winner: 2015 USDOE Solar Decathlon  -- Mock Juror 

 

CRTNJ Annual Scholarship Fundraising Dinner, Johnson & Johnson Corporate Headquarters, New Brunswick, NJ, May 17, 2015 -- Invited Speaker 

 

“What is My Worth? – A Discussion about Compensation and Negotiation”  2014 -- Featured Speaker – LMNOP: New York, IIDA NYC

 

“Mock Interview: Resume and Portfolio Workshop” 2014 --Featured Speaker – LMNOP: New York

 

“Trains, Trams, and Trolleys: Climb Aboard and Evoke Your Sense of Accomplishment” 2012 -- Featured Speaker – National Association of Women in Construction: Region #12 Conference

 

“Avoiding the Tenure (Ten Year) Track: IDP Resources at NewSchool” 2012 -- Featured Speaker – National Council of Architecture Registration Board’s Intern Development Program National Conference

 

“Investing in Your Future: Implementing IDP While Still in School” 2011, 2012 -- Professional Practice (all course sections) – NewSchool of Architecture and Design

 

“Emerging Architects: How to Navigate Unique Career Paths”  2007 -- Special Pre-Conference Session – Design DC Regional Conference

 

“Strategically Managing Your Career in the Architectural Profession” 2006 -- Personal & Professional Development Class – Penn State College of Arts and Architecture

 

“High Heels to High Design: Competitive Advantage in the 21st Century” 2006 -- Break Out Session – Design DC Regional Conference

 

“DBIA and the Future of Design-Build” 2004, 2005 -- Chapter Meetings / Regional Seminars – Nine Presentations for DBIA Regional Chapters

 

“Design-Build and Value Engineering: Working Together” 2005 -- Conference Seminar – Society of American Value Engineers National Conference

 

“Business Development: A Necessary Evil for Professionals?” 2003 -- SMPS Seminar Series – AIA-Kansas City Breakfast Seminars (Six seminar series

 

“The Role of Leadership in Transforming Architecture Firms into Knowledge-Based Enterprises” 2003 -- Seminar Class – Personal & Professional Development – Kansas State University School of Engineering

 

“Career Possibilities within the A/E/C Industry” 2003 -- Senior Seminar Class – University of Kansas and Kansas State University School of Engineering

 

“A Penny Saved is a Penny Earned: Innovative & Cost Effective Promotional Solutions” 2002 -- Break Out Session – AIA Central States Regional Conference

 

“An Outsider’s View of the Architecture Profession” 2002 --Senior Seminar Class – University of Kansas School of Architecture and Urban Design

 

“Career Possibilities within the Built Environment” 2002 --Senior Seminar Class – William Allen White School of Journalism: University of Kansas

 

“Rainmakers: Marketing is the Future…Is Marketing in Your Future?” 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004 -- Dozens of presentations to college classes throughout the Midwest promoting careers in Built Environment marketing

Honors & Awards

Stevens Institute of Technology Graduate Student Council – 2018 Faculty Appreciation Award

Recipient of the Faculty Appreciation Award voted by the students via the Graduate Student Council 

 

Construction Management Program at Stevens Institute of Technology 2018 Director’s Award

Recipient of the Director’s Award for service to the program, the students, and the alumni of the CM program

 

Construction Management Program at Stevens Institute of Technology 2015 Director’s Award

Recipient of the inaugural Director’s Award for service to the program, the students, and the alumni of the CM program

 

American Institute of Architects (California Council) Academy of Emerging Professionals 2012 Associate of the Year Award

Nominated by AIA San Diego President; highest award given by the AIACC AEP to an individual Associate AIA member

 

NewSchool of Architecture and Design 2011/2012 Staff Member of the Year

Nominated by peers and selected as Staff Member of the Year after first full year of employment

 

Design-Build Institute of America 2003 Chapter of the Year

Led promotional efforts and developed award submission while serving as Executive Director; garnered the inaugural award

 

American Institute of Architects Kansas City Chapter 2002 Presidential Citation

Outstanding service as Co-Chair of the Central States Art Auction to benefit the Kansas Architectural Foundation

 

Society of Marketing Professional Services– 2001 Striving for Excellence Grand Prize

While serving as President of SMPS-KC, the chapter received SMPS’s highest national award

Appointments

Program Director: Built Environment Programs -- (M.S. Construction Management; M.E. Construction Engineering & Management; PhD in the Built Environment) 

 

Associate Chair of Graduate Studies: Civil, Environmental, and Ocean Engineering 

Professional Societies

Construction Roundtable of New Jersey: Executive Board Member

New York Building Congress: Institutional Point of Contact

Construction Management Association of America: Faculty Representative

American Institute of Architects: Associate Member

Courses
  • CM 671 Practicum in Construction Management
  • CM 580 Construction Management I
  • CM 590 Construction Management II
  • CM 521 Construction Organizations
  • CM 810 Special Topics in Construction Management
  • CM 530 Strategic Responses to Cyclical Environments