By Liz McDonald, Assessment Center Editor
To round out our #womenbuildinghistory series, we would be remiss if we neglected our own! You may not know, but our Assessment Center team is full of vibrant women. We want to take a moment to highlight Lee Ellen Ramsey, one of our Project Coordinators. Lee Ellen hails from Tuscaloosa, Alabama (Roll Tide!) and has worked at ICC for 11 years. She wears many hats in her role as Project Coordinator, one of which many of us did not know about until she put her skills to work. We sat down with Lee Ellen to talk about her background in Interior Design and Architecture and how she has helped transform some key spaces in the Birmingham office to make work a little more functional and cheerful for all.
Building an Education Up to the Code Council
Inspired by the design and beauty of the built environment, Lee Ellen started as an Architecture major at Mississippi State. “As I got further into my studies, I decided that I wanted to focus on the inside of buildings rather than the structure, so I changed my major to Interior Design. Fortunately, this major is offered at the University of Alabama, so I went back home to complete my degree in this field. My combined education in Architecture and Interior Design created a particular curriculum that has given me a very unique perspective.”
Her educational background was no doubt a natural path that led her to ICC. Lee Ellen impressed the importance of building safety coupled with her passion: Universal Design. “That’s designing spaces for people regardless of age, physical limitations or other factors. Everyone deserves a beautiful space, despite his or her personal circumstances. Building safety is a huge part of that.”
From Mission to Vision: Building a Space of Beauty and Collaboration
While interior design is not a part of her position at the Assessment Center, she still holds true to the mission of ICC in her daily work. “I thoroughly enjoy the work that we do in the Assessment Center, and I have always embraced the consistent changes and upgrades that we as a department provide for the company, our members and our candidates. Every day is different, and I like that.”
It was through her work in following the mission of ICC that inspired her to use her design skills in renovating the Certification and Testing Department. Even inside ICC’s staff spaces, she envisioned areas that would encourage group work, brainstorming, fellowship and creative thinking. “I firmly believe that workspace has a direct effect on work output. As the designer of the space, I am sincerely proud to be a part of improving the culture of our work in the Assessment Center.”
The new space has fostered collaborative discussion and has provided a comfortable work environment. The team uses a SMART Board to walk through our processes and openly discuss improvements. Some meetings are held on the couch so that conversation is natural rather than scripted. Local Birmingham art surrounding the area reminds us of our city.
Lee Ellen’s success in the Assessment Center design has opened new doors. She has recently been redesigning the Birmingham office’s lobby as well as the CEO meeting suite. “I am excited about these updates as I believe they will provide a positive impression for clients and potential members. I’m happy to be a part of the ICC team, and even more happy to be a part of its success.”