As crowded and chaotic as the streets of Manhattan sometimes feel, Emerald Smith knows they’re even messier underground – a competing spaghetti of cables, sewers, pipes and foundations. Even so, working on a team boring New York’s newest railway tunnel, she learned how to map those innards with clarity and confidence.
“We live in a technical world, where lots of complex ideas and systems need communicating,” Emerald said. “I like translating that information so that anyone can understand it.”
Emerald, who joined the ROI Communication team in 2020, first discovered such challenges while studying environmental chemistry, when she had to diagram how a certain type of rock absorbs CO2. Later, she applied her scientific and design acumen to help 475 High Performance Building Supply – a company that distributes European green building materials – rebrand itself, redesign its ecommerce site, and strengthen its marketing and public relations.
Subsequently, Emerald joined AECOM, the global engineering firm, to assist in the construction of an $11 billion tunnel connecting the Long Island Railroad to Grand Central Station – one of the largest public works projects in the history of New York City. Among her responsibilities: designing a new intranet for the project, creating graphics and presentations for senior leadership, compiling monthly dashboards for monitoring progress and budgets, streamlining the process for change orders, and facilitating stakeholder tours of the excavations.
“The East Side Access Project is very complex, and very expensive. How do you communicate what’s going on? How do you create transparency? It’s a really fun challenge,” she said.
Emerald earned a BS in environmental chemistry from Columbia University, completed a UX/UI Mobile Design Certificate Course at the Pratt Institute, and studied mapping through Pratt’s Spatial Analysis and Visualization Initiative.
When she’s not applying her talents on behalf of clients, Emerald enjoys coding, building furniture, playing water polo and hiking in the mountains. She lives in Brooklyn.