Keeping It Real with Crystal Hilton

The Keeping it Real series is your chance to hear from Allen & Shariff staff on life, lessons, and leadership, straight from the trenches. Sometimes literally.

Name: Crystal Hilton, Mechanical Designer
Office: Pittsburgh North
Years at Allen & Shariff: 3 years, 8 months

What aspect of your personality most contributes to you being good in your specific role?
I would say fast learning with software like revit , drafting, HVAC, plumbing, Fire protection designs with healthcare. It’s a very fast-paced work environment.

You were the first employee of Pittsburgh North. How have you seen the office evolve over time?  
The office has evolved very fast with workload and people. But it’s basically like a family in the office. Everyone gets along.

Describe something from your past (school, work experience, a mentor) that most influenced you to get into this industry.
When I was younger I use to play Sims and build houses and thought I wanted to be an architect. I ended up taking a drafting class in high school and loved the engineering part and learning how to use AutoCad.

We hear you are fixing up a house you just bought. Can you tell us about that? What’s been the hardest part, and the most exciting part?
Well the whole thing is a learning curve, from learning how to joint compound a wall to refinishing hardwood floors and taking down wallpaper. The house is from 1945 so it needed a lot of work. It’s definitely exciting seeing each of the rooms in the house change. From having wallpaper and wainscot board to being completely torn out, patched, and painted.

What’s the corniest joke that you constantly hear in your field?
Can we make the ceilings higher and still fit ductwork above it?

What’s the #1 “rookie mistake” you see in those just starting out their career in your field? Explain.
Not double checking your work for room names, etc. in walls. Making sure the drawings look clear and easy to read.

What’s the single most important ingredient when it comes to a successful client relationship?
I would say good communication for deadlines with projects and changing backgrounds.

Do you have a personal hero? Someone that really inspires you in your professional or personal life?
Yes, that would be my mom as a single parent, watching her work two jobs. She’s the hardest working person I know. She doesn’t give up until the job is done and doesn’t take crap from anyone.

If Allen & Shariff were a car, what kind of car would it be and why?
It would be a Volkswagen Golf R because it’s ready to perform at a split- second notice. That’s what we do here – we receive problems and we solve them.

What book(s) are on your nightstand right now?
With going to work, school, and the gym I don’t have time to read books besides my school books.

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