Maggie Archer and I (Drew Stover) were members of the crew from 2010 to 2014—hard to believe it’s been six years since we were last coasting the Wabash! I remember attending the Purdue Crew callout in my first week at Purdue with Alyssa McMurtry (now Campogni). I was definitely there against my will, but the recruiting video and current rowers’ stories convinced me to give it a try. I had no competitive sport experience in high school, but the novice onboarding program does such a great job getting new rowers onto the water right away. By the end of the first semester, I was hooked! Maggie swam competitively for 10+ years and was simply burned out by the time she graduated from high school. Her older sister rowed for the University of Notre Dame and loved the sport, so Maggie joined Purdue’s crew team on a whim to try something new.
We were both highly involved in the team for our entire time at Purdue. We got to travel across the country racing with our teammates, and we were both active members of the club’s officer board. I remember the sport always being challenging and frequently frustrating (especially when you’re stroking the boat and can feel everyone rushing the catch!), but I learned so much about teamwork, dedication, and preparation. Maggie attributes skills such as time management and the ability to contribute to a team effort as coming from her experiences on the crew team. These skills have helped to reinforce a work ethic that she has since carried on to life beyond Purdue. In addition to skills, the club gave us many life-long friends too, and we still vacation with several former teammates each year. We love to catch up with each other’s lives and retell old rowing stories.
Apart from teaching me so much while at school, Purdue Crew even got me my job! While visiting San Diego for the Crew Classic my junior year, I had a fortuitous conversation with a Purdue Crew alum working at Solar Turbines in San Diego. The company (which I’d never heard of) and his job sounded very interesting and aligned well with my previous job experience, plus it was in San Diego! The next fall, I interviewed with Solar Turbines during an on-campus career fair and was offered a full-time job as a Mechanical Design Engineer.
For 5 years, I worked in Solar’s new product introduction engineering department designing brand-new components for gas turbine engines – think airplane engine but bolted to the ground and powering a generator or natural gas pipeline compressor. This job was exactly what I was looking for right out of college. I was designing with advanced technologies and high temperature alloys while combating very high stresses and pressures. The job also included a lot of development testing of the new parts and engine designs, and I even submitted for a patent on one design. In February of this year, I switched roles within Solar to broaden my experience. I am now a Production Test Engineer overseeing the testing of the final products right before they are shipped to customers around the world!
Maggie graduated with a Building Construction Management degree in 2015 and was hired by the San Diego division of McCarthy Building Companies, a national, commercial construction general contractor. She is a Senior Project Engineer and works directly with trade contractors hired on each project. She coordinates between various subcontractors’ work schedules, determines when building materials should be procured and delivered and is the direct contact between trade contractors, the architect, and the building owners.
Since being in San Diego, she has completed two projects for a local school district. The first, Earl Warren Middle School, was a complete campus replacement on the existing campus in Solana Beach. This project was selected by Engineering News Record (ENR Magazine) as the “Best Project, Southern California”, in the K-12 Education Category in 2018. The second project was the Torrey Pines High School Performing Arts Center. This project consisted of a black box theater in addition to a 350-seat proscenium theater, a scene shop, green room, dressing rooms and a new dance facility. Spaces were complete with professional lighting, as well as audio/visual soundboards and acoustical panels.
For the last 14 months, she has been dabbling in the renewable energy niche, working on LS Power’s “Gateway” Energy Storage Facility. It is currently the world’s largest energy storage facility in service. Gateway consists of five 13,000 square foot pre-manufactured metal buildings complete with its own substation tied directly into the local power grid. When the initial phase of the project is complete in August, this facility will house 250 megawatt-hours of battery storage, but infrastructure has been provided for future expansion to more than 500 MW-hours. That’s enough electricity to power 600 homes for a month!
On the side, Maggie serves as a steering committee member for McCarthy’s Partnership for Women (SoCal Division). The group supports the recruitment, development, and retention of the best women in construction/engineering. She is also a leader/champion of McCarthy’s Peer Group mentorship program. We are both active board members of the local San Diego Purdue Alumni Club. For the last four years, I have served as the club’s Treasurer and Maggie has been the Student Relations and Scholarship Chair. We are both very involved in planning the club’s annual Scholarship Golf Classic fundraiser.
On a personal note, Maggie and I have always had an affinity for the outdoors, National Parks, and camping. We recently turned our daydreams into reality and purchased our very own custom-built teardrop trailer. We’ve taken it out several times already and have plans for long cross-country trips and National Park visits!
In addition to all this, Maggie and I are getting married next year! We are one of many couples that have blossomed from Purdue Crew over the years. We are excited to start a new chapter in life and celebrate with our family and friends. Marriage will be the perfect opportunity to put those teamwork, dedication, and time management skills to the test. Ha!
-Drew Stover, ME ’14
-Maggie Archer, BCM ’15