By Janet C. Wetzel
MONTGOMERY - Judi Cline-Kadetz was surprised and disappointed when she learned there was no local chapter of a mentoring program for aspiring architectural, construction and engineering students.
But she wasted no time complaining. She just got busy remedying the situation.
Cline-Kadetz, of Montgomery, called together representatives from area businesses and schools to help launch the Cincinnati Chapter of Architecture Construction and Engineering (ACE), to encourage youths to pursue careers in those fields.
That was late 2001. The program was in full swing this school year.
Now, 18 Cincinnati-area businesses are involved in ACE, along with students at Hughes and Woodward high schools and the School for Creative and Performing Arts.
"The unique part of this program is that unlike your average mentoring program, this is done on a team basis,'' said Cline-Kadetz, 49, business development director of Foppe Technical Group in Cincinnati. "We don't match up a student with a mentor. We match up a project team, as you would do for a project you're going to design and build. That way they have a real sense of how a project evolves - from conception to the finish."
Cline-Kadetz was eager to help when her former employer (A.M. Kinney Inc. in Cincinnati) began mentoring. When the student her firm chose didn't show up for sessions, she decided to volunteer with ACE.
She discovered that she and John Deatrick, who was then in charge of engineering for the City of Cincinnati, shared a common interest in ACE. So they discussed starting a chapter.
About 20 people attended the first meeting, and the local ACE chapter was born, said Cline-Kadetz, chapter head. When Deatrick moved out of state she assumed the administrative work, took over recruitment and organized the chapter..
For more than two years, she worked 20-30 hours a month on ACE. She still spends nearly that much time planning the twice-monthly meetings, sending out notices, coordinating sessions, public relations and arranging meetings for the new board of directors, which will help reduce her work load.
"All this effort is definitely worth it," said Cline-Kadetz, a single mother of two daughters. "I have a real interest in working with children. And I felt there just wasn't enough being done to encourage students to get interested in those fields, especially minorities."
Jonathan Christmon, career path engineering consultant at Woodward High School,said without Cline-Kadetz, the program likely would not exist.
"Judi is the glue that holds us all together," Christmon said. "She works so hard, at so many different things. She's there through thick or thin. She's effective, determined and dedicated. And all the kids really like her."
Cline-Kadetz said they agreed to concentrate on Cincinnati Public Schools and start small.
"In the beginning, we just wanted to expose students to what we do. We took them to an architect's office, an engineer's office, we did demonstrations of computer-aided drafting and design," she said.
Cline-Kadetz hopes to expand the program to other schools and to attract more corporate sponsors.
Do you know a Hometown Hero - someone dedicated to making it a better place to live and helping others? E-mail Janet Wetzel at firstname.lastname@example.org or fax to 513-755-4150
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