Frances JeminiFrances Jemini is a Project Engineer at Compass Contracting, Inc. She’s the “nuts and bolts” person on each project — she puts everything together on the front end so that the superintendent has all the information he or she needs, from contracts to correspondence between architect, property owners, and subcontractors.

When Frances isn’t on the job, she’s creating artwork. She’s passionate about creating with acrylics and mixed media, and she treats her work as a side business. Most recently, Jemini Design abstracts and up-cycled mixed media pieces have been on display in local businesses like All Body Pilates in the Bottleworks and Live Wire Athens downtown.

Virginia to Tanzania

Frances was born in Hawaii, studied in Israel, and entered the workforce in Virginia. You could say she’s rich in experience. Education, too — she began her college studies in Israel, but received her Bachelor of Arts in Urban Planning and Bachelor of Architecture concurrently at Virginia Tech.

After graduation, Frances was hired at an architecture and engineering firm in Roanoke, VA. She was 1 of 7 architects at the larger company, but she began to find it difficult to engage with the high-end, high-cost spaces she was designing.

Frances left the architectural firm to work with Art in Tanzania, an NGO that supports local artists without the resources to develop their talent. While living in Tanzania and Ethiopia, Frances designed and project-managed the building of schools and organized volunteer projects.

Hands in the Dirt

During the real estate collapse Frances was back on the East Coast looking for architecture jobs, but there were few. She found work doing odds and ends, and was happy to find her current job.

Frances quickly learned that she enjoyed the project management side of architecture. As an artist, she appreciates design and making “pretty pictures,” but she also enjoys the act of pulling the project together and making things happen.

She’s paid special attention to detail for as long as she can remember. When it comes down to it, minute details are important. The transition has been a good fit, as she finds her hands in the dirt more than ever before.

Architecture & Affability

Thanks to her formal training as an architect, Frances is intimately familiar with architect’s plans. This understanding makes her especially adept at project management, although she’s on the on other side of the table now.

I’ll tell people I don’t know the answer, but I don’t like it. I want to know the answer. I’m not afraid of hard work — I’m Irish, after all — so it’s an advantage for me.

Frances’ warm personality is a plus, too. A team atmosphere is imperative to general contracting, and Frances gets along with most. Although she often finds herself in something of a boys’ club, she appreciates the great variety of personalities among her colleagues, whom she calls “gems from all walks of life.”

Come meet Frances at the award reception for the 41st Lyndon House Juried Exhibition on March 24! Her piece “Saw The Reaping” was among the accomplished works selected.