February 28, 2020

OHM Advisors: Meet our Experts Series

Keshia Johnson Chambers, Project Manager, Municipal Engineering

Quick Facts about Keshia

  • Title: Project Manager, Municipal Engineering
  • Office Digs: Cleveland, Ohio
  • Years in the Industry: 20+
  • Birthplace: Dallas, Texas
  • Global MBA Studies Locations: India, China

We chatted with Keshia for a few moments of downtime in her work as a project manager on our Municipal Engineering team about developing new clients, grant writing and family tree sleuthing.

Why engineering?

I always knew I would do something technical—my parents owned a manufacturing company and my father was a mechanical engineer. But I’m also creative and love interior design. I wasn’t sure how that worked as a career, so I applied to lot of architecture programs and enrolled in the one at Prairie View A&M University in Texas. An HBCU resonated with me—I felt a connection there because many of my family members are graduates, and I had attended their summer Engineering Concepts Institute program—but the architecture program didn’t. I wanted to do more than create building models and I was interested in the environment, so I enrolled in the civil engineering program instead.

My career path took me from Texas to Atlanta to Cleveland, across two graduate degrees and many professional roles in both the public and private sectors to OHM Advisors. In my Business Development role, I get to tap into all of my skills—technical, creative, and relationship development—every day. 

What’s a typical day for you at OHM Advisors?

Each day is different in BD—I’m always working to meet people and network in an effort to meet new clients. I work with my clients to help them get what they need for their projects, so I write a lot of grants to help them find funding and facilitate public engagement meetings to help them gather important feedback from the people in their communities.

Share a few adjectives that describe you.

Adventurous, Creative, Friendly

What professional experience will you always remember and why?

As the Strategic Planning Manager for the Cleveland Division of Water, I learned to be more structured in my approach to projects. Just like with an engineering design project, there’s a process to working with a group of people to get their ideas on the table, help them reach consensus and then determine how to move forward to achieve those goals.

What professional advice would you give your younger self?

Put in the work to find a mentor to reach out to with questions as you’re learning. I didn’t know how valuable that is until I had worked long enough to become that kind of mentor to someone else.

What are you most looking forward to in the future for your industry?

For those who control funding decisions to start understanding its importance in addressing our country’s aging infrastructure. And I’d like to see more flexibility from stakeholders when we’re dealing with replacement, rehabilitation and repair of those aging assets, so we can be more innovative in the solutions we help them implement.

You’ve got one day totally free from it all. What will you do?

If money is no object, I’ll board a cozy private jet that will take me to as many places in the world as I can see in one day!

Tell us about an item on your "bucket list".

Right now, I’m tracing my family tree so I can understand its history when I shake it. I’m past the easy parts, so now the real digging begins…

Finish this sentence, “To me, success is...”

Freedom to do what you want to do.

Read more about Keshia and the work she does for OHM Advisors and the municipal engineering team.