For our November 2020 Alumna of the Month, we are very excited to feature a 2016 graduate of the Master of Science in Historic Preservation, Naomi Doddington. While this program is offered entirely in Charleston, the coursework is administered jointly with Clemson University. Currently, Naomi is the Assistant Project Manager and Historic Preservationist for Consigli Construction Company in Washington, D.C.
In this role, Naomi is responsible for all of the logistics and coordination for her projects. She loves the fact that her position incorporates so many different aspects of project management, everything financial and scheduling, that no two days are the same. In addition, she is a preservationist; so, she has become an internal consultant for others within the company who want to be sensitive in protecting historic elements in their projects. The position requires Naomi to be an excellent communicator and mediator between the subcontractors and her clients:
When we run into an unforeseen condition (which is constantly when we’re discussing existing buildings), I am part of the team that brainstorms how to resolve the concerns in a manner that is most appropriate from a preservation perspective but also keeps the client’s schedule and budget in mind.
Needless to say, there is a lot of work and stress being the Assistant Project Manager and Historic Preservationist for Consigli Construction Company, but it is exciting and Naomi loves it. The MSHP program from the College of Charleston and Clemson University perfectly prepared her for this demanding industry. Yes, learning historic preservation was important to Naomi, but she really wanted an interdisciplinary degree that would give her the knowledge and experience to apply the skills in a business setting. Our joint program was an ideal match:
Preservation is a field, not a job, and I was able to explore all different aspects of the field to really find what my particular niche was going to be. What’s nice is that I have a basic level of first-hand knowledge to draw from when I’m doing my job that let’s me connect with subcontractors to understand what they need and how they will be approaching their work.
Yes, the MSHP program was the best match for Naomi when it came to graduate school, but the program also paved the journey for her current position with Consigli. The program requires an internship during the summer between the first and second year. Naomi secured her internship with the Historic American Buildings Survey, headquartered in Washington, D.C. This led to another internship after graduation, which then became a full time job and a permanent relocation for Naomi. It was through networking with others in the preservation field in DC that led her to Consigli. While construction management is an unusual profession for a preservationist, Naomi loves juggling the many responsibilities and recognizes that the graduate program from CofC/Clemson has directly contributed to her success:
My program has made me a strong leader because I can express myself clearly with both the workers in the field and the designers in their offices. I’ve tried my hand at the work that is being done on the project so I can understand and explain to a client why they can or can’t have something done a certain way. I’ve also had a chance to work on drawings and can provide sketches to the designer that can help us come to the best solution for a question that has come up on site. My knowledge of architectural history helps me have intelligent conversations with both as we work our way towards the best treatments that respect the building fabric that we’re working with.
While Naomi is working in construction, she still gets to do a lot of the fun activities of a preservationist. One of her favorite parts of graduate school was being able to explore areas of the historic and iconic buildings around Charleston that tourists do not get to see. What was her favorite part of graduate school is now a big perk of her job:
I’ve stood inside the dome of the Library of Congress and looked down at the reading room
below. I’ve crawled around an attic and seen the marks in the steel that identify it as having been forged in a Carnegie foundry. I’ve held stones and wood and nails that a craftsperson installed hundreds of years ago which had not been touched since then.
It is clear to see that Naomi Doddigton has one amazing job, one which requires the use of her graduate education on a daily basis. We are pleased to honor Naomi this November as our Alumna of the Month.