Picture of Angela standing in front of gray wall with a clock

SOM Alumna Estimates with Confidence in New Career: April’s aMaizeing Alumni

Angela O’Rourke earned her Bachelor of Business Administration (BBA) in Operations Management and Finance from the University of Michigan-Flint in 2020. Currently, she works at Mid Michigan Pride (MMP) Painting as an estimator. Every day she’s doing something different from looking at blueprints, working with customers, or on-site to evaluate the conditions of a project. As our featured alumni of the month, Angela explains why she choose UM-Flint, how her education prepared her for her current job, and shares her love for the outdoors!

Q: Degree(s) and graduation year:
Bachelors of Business Administration in Operations Management and Finance

Q: Where are you currently working and your title? How long have you been in this position or at this organization? What is your job like day to day?
I currently work at Mid Michigan Pride (MMP) Painting. I am an estimator and have been with them for about 9 months now. I look at blueprints all day and do what we call a takeoff. Which is figuring out the square footage of walls, ceiling, steel bracing, columns, floors…really anything that can be painted, epoxied, or have a wallpaper or covering put over it, I have to measure it. Once I have all my measurements, I have to put them together and figure out what surface gets what covering and how much that would cost.
In between doing the takeoffs, I deal with filing away daily paperwork and downloading new jobs, and getting them in files. I return phone calls and emails to customers about any questions they have reached out with. I also take care of submitting product samples and data sheets to be approved before we can use them on sight.

Q: Why did you choose to go into the career path you are currently in?
Honestly, this career fell in my lap. I had no idea it really existed to the extent of what it is. I went into my interview to become an administrative assistant and walked out hired as an apprentice estimator. Now that I am in it, I am choosing to stay in it because it’s something new every day. It keeps my brain stimulated and doesn’t get boring. Some days I am in the office looking at blueprints and some days I might be on a job site looking at the condition.

Q: Why did you choose to attend UM-Flint for your degree?
U of M was the school I had always dreamed of going to as a kid. I ended up taking a different path and attended Central Michigan for my first year of college. It wasn’t a good fit and I came home to get my associate’s at Mott Community College. Then once I was ready for my bachelor’s I decided to give U of M a try and applied. Once accepted I started towards a teaching degree before quickly realizing that it wasn’t what I wanted to do and switched to business.

Q: What is the most important thing you learned while you were at UM-Flint? 
I learned that you always have to keep striving to do better than you did yesterday. Sometimes you have to pick up the slack for others because there will be times that you need someone to do the same for you.

Q: How did your education at UM-Flint prepare you for what you are doing today?
I learned that you had to find a way to get the work done no matter what obstacles might be in the way. That it is ok to ask for help and admit if you don’t understand something. It prepared me to know when I need to take the lead and when I to give someone else the lead. That you have to speak up to be heard.

Q: What advice would you give current students or recent graduates interested in pursuing a career in your professional field?
A: That it is a harder job than it sounds. There is so much more to it than meets the eye. I will actually be going to estimating school in the next month or two before training under a second estimator. This way I can learn many different ways to do the job and find what is comfortable for me.

Q: What is a long-term career or professional goal you have for yourself?
A: Long term goal of my position would be to become head of the estimating department.

Q: Fun Facts!
A: I have two favorite vacations to date. One with just my husband when we went to Peru for our honeymoon. We got to eat dinner and sleep in a pod on the side of a mountain that we climbed. We got to do a day hike on the Inca trail to see Machu Picchu and then see the sunrise over Machu Picchu the following morning. We got to see rainbow mountain ad stay in the Amazon forest for 3 days. We held a sloth and anaconda while there and fished for piranha (which tastes very good).
My second favorite was our family vacation when we got to take our two kids and my brother out west for almost two weeks. We camped in the mountains and saw many historical sights. We also did a lot of hiking and found an ice cave that the kids loved.

Q: What is something people may not know about you?
A: I love to go backpacking, and I mean in the sense of carrying everything I need with me and sleeping under the stars in a hammock. Most people are shocked to hear that.