Real Estate Journal — 40 Under 40 — August 24 - September 13, 2018 — 31D


M id A tlantic

40 U nder 40 Nora Swanson, PE, AKF Group “Embrace all that you are, all that you give and all that you can do”


ow do you contrib- ute to your com- pany and/or the in-

you enjoy during your free time? Family time with my husband and son are a priority to me! Whether it be creating in the kitchen, spending time at our favorite amusement parks or just hanging on the couch watching home improvement and cooking television – togeth- er is the best place to be. I also recently developed a passion for woodworking; I love creat- ing and building furniture and pieces for our home. I often find myself working in silence and appreciate that it has become a meditative experience for me.

What inspiring word of advice would you give to a young executive graduat- ing from college today? Passions drive priorities. Spend time figuring out what is impor- tant to you and what makes you happy as early in your career as possible. Find a team whose values align with your own and that will allow you to grow both personally and professionally. Purpose is a hard realization to come by, but true career and life fulfillment will come if you are able to embrace all that you are, all that you give and all that you can do! 

Nora Swanson, PE Director of Design

dustry? I spent the first 10 years of my career exclusively in a project engineering role – working on many amazing projects as an HVAC Engineer and Project Manager. These experiences sparked a desire within me to actively vision and collaborate with others on what the Industry’s future could be. Several years ago I was able to create an oppor- tunity for myself within AKF to help maximize our design technology processes. Since embarking down this path, I have been entrusted with the development and management of AKF’s Strategic Technol- ogy Plan and with Chairing our Virtual Design Commit- tee. My goal is to help others achieve success as efficiently and effectively as possible. I love thinking creatively, I love encouraging others to innovate and I’m thrilled that I am able to integrate those passions into my life at AKF! Who or what has been the strongest influence in your career? In realizing my pur- pose and passions, my most re- cent career influencer has been Jake Lawrence – the Partner in Charge of AKF’s Technical Core. Jake has embraced and encouraged my inner rebel, which has been paramount to my success. To quote Francesca Gino on NPR’s Hidden Brain Podcast – You 2.0: Rebel with a Cause: “I think we really need to shift our thinking. Rebels are not troublemakers. They’re not outcasts. Rebels are people who break rules that should be broken. They break rules that hold them and others back, and their way of rule-breaking is constructive rather than destructive. It creates positive change.” What unique qualities and or personality traits do you feel makes you most suc- cessful in your profession? A recent assessment has mint- ed me as an empathetic person. While this is a newly bestowed label, I can reflect on how the ability to understand and feel what other people are experi- encing fromwithin their frame of reference has allowed me to approach projects, processes and interactions with the needs of our people and clients in mind. I am also truly a happy person and believe that my

Technology Innovations Years with company/firm: 14 Years in field: 14

energy is capable of impacting any situation in a positive way. What is the funniest, most unique situation you have faced/conquered during your career? Or in your life? Having my foot run over by a bus within my first week of work while out grabbing lunch!

It was such an adrenaline filled moment that I was able to make it back to the office, but I’m fairly certain the ruckus that ensued once people figure out what had happened lives on in infamy. (Side note: foot is fine!) What outside activities do

Photo © Connie Zhou

ENGINEERING LEADERSHIP MEP/ FP Engineering, Analysis & Testing, Architectural Code Consulting, BIM Management, Building Controls, Central Utilities, Cogeneration, Commissioning, Critical Systems, Energy & Sustainability, Fire & Life Safety, IT / AV / Security, Lighting Design, Special Inspections akfgroup.com

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