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Ally Smyth named 2015 Design Employee of the Year

01/20/2016

Ally“I’m a geek,” that’s how Ally Smyth, the 2015 Design Employee of the Year, describes herself. In her “geekiness” co-workers see a leader and a valuable resource for new technology that always seems to be coming around the corner.

The latest technology challenge for the Office of Design is an update to the design software they use. Smyth is excited about the change, but not everyone shares her enthusiasm. “New technology always makes people nervous,” she said. “But I think the new version will be easier to use. Once we make the change over in January, I think people will realize the software is helpful instead of fighting it to get what they need.”

Smyth says she’s always been one to try and figure out new things. “That’s one of the reasons I love my job,” she said. “Each project is unique and there are always new things to figure out.”

In nominating Smyth for Design Employee of the Year, her supervisor Yanxiao Jia said, “During the five years Ally has worked in this office, she has earned herself a reputation as a guru of new technology. She has been the go-to person for various tech-related questions.”

Ryan, Ally and Jan
Ryan Miller, Ally Smyth and Yanxiao Jia

Transportation Engineer Specialist Ryan Miller also nominated Smyth for the honor. He said, “Ally is always looking to learn. Whether it’s learning new software or programs, or simply learning a more efficient way to use the programs we already have, she is excellent at passing those tips and tricks along to us to make sure we know, as well. The biggest benefit Ally brings is her always-positive attitude. She is consistently upbeat and smiling, always looking for ways to cheer up others. She is the same whether her projects are running smoothly or experiencing some bumps along the way. She has experienced her share of frustrations, but you can tell she makes a choice to not let them impact her demeanor. Her attitude is contagious.”

Mike Kennerly, director of the Office of Design, said, "One of the things you can't help but appreciate about Ally is her determination. She is determined to try new things. She's determined to make the most of each day. She's determined to grow in her knowledge and experience. And she is determined to make a positive impact on the work environment regardless of the inevitable ups and downs. She is very deserving of this recognition."

Smyth, a true team player, is equally as complimentary about her co-workers. She said, “We have a really good team with really good attitudes. They are awesome people to work with.”

Smyth and her husband, Scott, an electrician in District 1, have five boys and live in Ames. Her step-son Scott Smyth II is a highway technician associate in the Grimes garage.


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Iowa highway in the evening