FEATURED EMPLOYEE: Meet Laura Shafer: Senior Project Manager/Sustainability Services Leader, Adventurous Friend
Growing up in Western Springs, IL, Laura Shafer remembers spending her summers with her face buried in a book or playing outside. She was active, sharp, and a member of what she describes as a “very practical family.”
“My parents always pushed us to pursue careers that we would enjoy long term,” said Laura. “They were the ones that suggested I look at engineering because they knew I liked math, science, and physics.”
Laura took their advice and was accepted into the college of engineering at the University of Dayton. She started out as undecided engineering as she considered both mechanical and civil tracks.
“Undeclared students were required to take a class where each school and discipline would present so you could learn more,” Laura explained. “The dean from the civil school made an immediate impression on me. He posed a question to the class: I have property in the middle east with oil on it, what do I do? He backed it up to all the different pieces of civil engineering. I knew at that moment that I didn’t want to work on small mechanical parts, I wanted to do something bigger.”
During her college years, Laura spent hours in the field observing and learning more about civil engineering. It was interesting – and physically demanding. Particularly during her summer on a survey crew she noticed aches and pains at the end of the day and set her mind on getting more active.
“When I returned home from college, I found that I didn’t know anybody my age anymore” said Laura. “Someone suggested that I consider trying ultimate frisbee as a way to be active and meet people; I ended up played competitively for 10 years.”
Always game to explore her friends’ passions, Laura was then introduced to west coast swing. She was instantly taken with the sport.
“You dance to everything from top 40’s hits, blues, acoustic and even current pop songs,” said Laura. “It’s not bouncy, it’s a smoother dance. I spent 5-6 years competing, which meant going out 4-5 times a week for social dances and traveling throughout the US, France and Norway. It was so much fun and a great way to make friends.”
It turns out that friendship is the common denominator in many of Laura’s adventures.
“I travel whenever I can,” said Laura. “Costa Rica, France, California. I’m always game to travel new places, especially with friends.”
“In fact, I convinced three friends to go skydiving with me 10 years ago. More recently another friend of mine didn’t know anyone going on a trip to northern Wisconsin to go white water rafting, so spur of the moment, I joined her. I don’t want to wait to travel until retirement. If an opportunity arises, I will always try to take it.”
Happily, Laura’s natural aptitude for forming bonds with people extends to the workplace as well. One of the self-described “V3 Lifers,” Laura recently celebrated her 19th work anniversary at V3 Companies and has been an invaluable team member for as far back as most people can remember. Five years ago, she became a shareholder.
“It’s been my experience that people take care of each other at V3, we have each other’s backs.”