2018 Outstanding Mentor of the Year | Jennifer Pilgrim

Jennifer has been an active ACE mentoring program participant for seven years and for the past four years, has been the local chapter Team Leader for ACE Eastern PA’s East Norriton team. Jennifer, who holds a Bachelor’s degree in Architecture and a Master’s in Construction Management from Philadelphia University, started with SKANSKA USA Building in 2011 as a Project Engineer.

screen-shot-2018-06-04-at-11-42-29-amThere, she participated in Skanska’s Core Competency Training Program (CCTP). As she completed the program, and after rotating through various roles, she was asked what role she would like to stay in and she overwhelmingly chose safety. In addition to being a valuable asset to Skanska, Jennifer stays active in the industry by being involved with the Mid-Atlantic Construction Safety Council. Most notably, she was the Chairperson for the 20th Anniversary Gala. Over twenty thousand dollars was raised at the Gala to help support the Council’s scholarship program devoted to assisting students pursuing a degree in Safety and Health.

Jennifer’s love and passion for construction is revealed daily by her interaction with the trades, subcontractors, and Skanska project teams. This passion led her to ACE Mentoring where she is committed to making the ACE industry relevant and exciting for her students. Over the past seven years, East Norriton students have had the pleasure of interacting with Jennifer throughout various meetings, activities, and events associated with the ACE Mentor Program of Eastern PA.

Her love of construction shines brightly when she is explaining the ins and outs of a construction site and the many connections she has acquired through the years allow her students to gain irreplaceable knowledge that aids in the decision process as they look forward to future career possibilities in the ACE fields.

Her experience as a woman in the construction industry coupled with her role as a mentor brings something very exciting and unique to the Eastern PA affiliate. This unique commonality allows the students to relate to her on both personal and professional levels which encourage them that they too can achieve their goals. She is able to serve as a role model and continually encourage and inspire our young ladies to pursue career paths in the design and construction industry. Each one of Jennifer’s mentoring sessions includes an activity specific and relevant to the ACE industry. She often includes guest speakers and selects project based learning activities which reinforce the topic on which the speaker was focused.screen-shot-2018-06-04-at-11-42-52-am

Jennifer quickly peaks her students’ attention and keeps them interested and actively engaged through every aspect of each session. Regardless of the challenges which come her way, she accepts each and every one with an overwhelming eagerness to participate and collaborate with her students and fellow mentors. Year after year, fellow mentors are consistently impressed with Jennifer’s ability to grow and evolve mentoring sessions for each new class’ interests and center activities around what matters most to the students.

The Students in her groups have shown great growth and potential; with Jennifer’s assistance and guidance through the application process, many have been awarded ACE Scholarships. Over the past few years, the Eastern PA ACE affiliate has been fortunate enough to have several ACE Alumni return to the program – as college students, emerging professionals, and as mentors back into the program. They have shared their success in higher education and reflected on the impact Jennifer and the ACE program have had on their career trajectory.

We have heard from previous students like Kirstin Wilde and Amanda Ngov, both civil engineers that recently started a new ACE Team in West Chester; Breanna Sheeler, an ACE Alumna currently enrolled at Jennifer’s alma mater, Jefferson University (formerly Philadelphia University), who helped form the nation’s first ACE collegiate chapter, and recent students like Kyle Amon who had the pleasure of spending all four years of his high school career with Jennifer as his ACE Mentor. All of these previous students have testified and acknowledged that. Jennifer has been the driving force behind their current career path journeys and continue to stay in contact with her to this day.

screen-shot-2018-06-04-at-11-42-15-amThe team of mentors assembled for the East Norriton team are quick to point out that it is a privilege to work alongside her. They are able to witness, and take notes on, how she engages the students and focuses on their interests and inquiries. Bob Loisseau, one of the mentors with whom she works, has declared that working with Jennifer has been very rewarding. She has helped him to develop as a mentor by sharing her experience and class structure.

Now, Bob works with two different ACE Mentoring groups in the area using Jennifer’s methods as a foundation. He attributes this accomplishment to Jennifer and mentioned that he wouldn’t have had the courage to do it without her! Although she manages a full schedule, both professionally and as a volunteer, Jennifer is consistent in her time commitment to the program as she manages to attend every ACE session all while bringing enthusiasm and the keen ability to encourage students to use their imagination and creativity.

Jennifer – Thank you so much for sharing your energy and spirit with us over all of these years! Looking forward to welcoming you to our Advisory Council…


Melissa Raffel
Author: Melissa Raffel