Ten Years And Counting With Shura McGraw

Celebrating 10 years with MWA is Project Accountant Shura McGraw. Working with both our Portland and San Francisco offices, Shura contributes to the success of MWA as a whole. Her love for numbers and support of our team are just a few of the qualities that make her our perfect fit. Thank you for bringing your talents and individuality to MWA. We are better for it. For more on Shura’s time at MWA, continue reading. 

What are your main responsibilities as a project accountant? 

My role at MWA includes a fairly set collection of tasks that are performed on a monthly cycle. The first half of the month is for invoicing and revenue recognition, which includes supporting project managers by evaluating their budgets and potential financial issues. The remainder of the month is preparing and managing spreadsheets to track project budgets and spent to date for MWA labor and subs, working with subs regarding their invoices, setting up new projects, helping staff prepare contracts, updating financial reports and troubleshooting. 

“Shura always beams a bright a sunny day regardless of overcast clouds and rain (or budget over-runs).” 

David Williams

What is your favorite part of your job? Why? 

I’ve discovered that I really like math and working on a complicated spreadsheet can keep me happily absorbed for hours at a time. 

How have the responsibilities and expectations of your job changed in the last few years? How did you transition out of the role of architect? 

When I started working with MWA, our Portland office didn’t have anyone that supported staff with the project management side of our work.  I simply started working on contract amendments and helping project managers keep track of the financial side of their projects. That morphed into taking on a more structured role.  

My career as an architect was fairly brief. The ADA came out shortly after I graduated and I was sitting in an elevator lobby, working on a building survey when I met my new employer. I spent years working in due diligence – going on site visits all over northern California and preparing building reviews, environmental surveys and monthly construction draws for lenders and buyers of real estate. 

How do you maintain work/life balance? During COVID, how have you been maintaining your sanity? 

I am very introverted so sitting quietly at my desk for hours at a time appeals to me. I am, however, fortunate to have my husband, three young adults (when home) and a little dog as constant sources of interruption and amusement. They remind me what makes me, me. 

What do you hope to do more of in the next few years? 

My husband and I are finding ourselves more and more without our children around. We so enjoy their presence but do quite well in their absence, as well. Hiking, traveling, lying around reading, non-social distancing with family and friends, doing something (?) creative, gardening, taking a few math classes… that all sounds pretty good to me. 

What is your next career goal that you would like to tackle? 

I’d like to learn more about financial reporting and more complicated functions on spreadsheets. Pretty geeky. 

What lasting impact do you hope to have at MWA? 

I do like order and organizing things. I hope I have helped staff keep on top of some of the more tedious project management tasks and fussy details to the benefit of their project success and mental health. 

“Shura, time flies when you’re having fun! You’re the glue that keeps us together. Thanks.”   

– Carlton Smith

What about MWA inspires you? Why? 

My former due diligence career found me inside a number of office environments, in many of which it felt like employees were disengaged and disconnected, the physical environment uninspiring and flat. 

I’ve always felt that people at MWA really value their work and that their contributions are respected and appreciated. I’m not typically engaged in teamwork at MWA, but I so enjoy the energy it brings. 

In addition, everyone seems to have a full life outside work and that brings a rich culture to an office that appreciates each individual. 

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