Virginia Steele has been building more than renovations at George Mason University—she’s been building a reputation.
Steele, a project manager in the Department of Facilities Planning, Design and Construction, has been managing design and construction at Mason since 2018. She manages projects from initiation to completion; coordinates clients, architects, engineers and contractors; and maintains project schedules and budgets.
“I have had the pleasure of working with Virginia on a number of projects on the Arlington Campus,” said Una Murphy, director of administration and operations for Mason’s Arlington Campus and Mason in Loudoun. “With every project, Virginia has been proactive, responsive, organized, detail-oriented and good-natured.”
For her impressive work, Steele has been named Mason’s February Employee of the Month.
“I felt very honored,” Steele said of her selection. “I was obviously happy. I do work a lot, I love my job, and it’s nice to feel appreciated, and I definitely felt that way when I got the news.”
In 2018, Steele was responsible for the complex creation and installation of a bronze statue of former Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, namesake of Mason’s Antonin Scalia Law School, in Hazel Hall on the Arlington Campus. The installation of the 3,354-pound statue required coordination between the law school, the staff and the artist, all on a tight deadline, so it would be ready in time for a dedication event attended by the Scalia family and several justices.
“Virginia never closes a project until she is absolutely sure that it is truly complete and her clients are satisfied—and even then, she continues to check in,” said Diane Vermaaten, assistant dean of finance and operations in Mason’s School of Business. “Frankly, Virginia is simply extraordinary.”
“I love seeing a space that’s being used the way it was requested and intended,” Steele said. “I love the accomplishment of that.”
How she got here:
After practicing architecture for more than 20 years, I decided to make some career changes that eventually led me to George Mason’s Facilities Department. I still remember seeing the job posting in Mason’s website more than two years ago and thinking to myself—that sounds like a great job in which I could use my skills and experience.
Best day on the job:
As a facilities project manager, I love being able to help the different departments in creating the spaces they need to fulfill the university’s goals and mission. While every day is interesting and challenging, I very much enjoy seeing a completed space being used as intended.
What she likes best about working at Mason:
I really like the projects I work on, but I think the best thing about Mason is the collaboration between departments, the professionalism of the people, and the skills and knowledge everyone brings to all projects.
What she does when not working:
I like spending time with my teenage son, getting together with family, exercising, walking, baking and reading.