Q&A with Mercedes Smith

How many years have you worked in the AEC industry? Five years

Imagine you on your 1st day of work at your very first job out of college, what advice would you give yourself? Be an advocate for yourself.

What has been your biggest professional achievement throughout the duration of your career? I’ve worked on several projects that I am proud of while at 3J including MorningStar of Beaverton, a 104-unit assisted living and memory care community.

Have you encountered any hurdles in your professional life that you believe were due to being a woman? How did you deal with it? People don’t always take your professional opinions seriously, and sometimes they will need confirmation of what you’ve said from another source. I try to speak clearly and with confidence about what I know. If people need validation of what I’ve said I don’t take it personally.

What would you tell a 5-year-old girl to get them excited about being a planner/urban designer? You’ll get to play a role in shaping your community.

How has your career path evolved since you started at 3J? I started as a planning assistant, was promoted to urban designer and more recently senior urban designer.

Where do you see yourself professionally in 10 years? In 10 years, I’d like to be in a position to mentor others.

Is there anything that makes 3J different for women than other firms? 3J values teamwork and collaboration. I feel supported by my company and coworkers.

If you could have any super power, what would it be? Precognition


Mercedes has been at 3J for over 5 years and was recently promoted to Senior Urban Designer. In her role, she provides urban design specializing in residential communities, mixed-use and commercial developments. She’s also responsible for planning and entitlements for a range of projects including residential, commercial, industrial and institutional.