Q&A Jun 29, 2022

Working with Intel Like Father, Like Daughter: A Q&A with Dave King and Ellie Wilson

This family pair share their parallel paths and how they led to working on Intel projects.

Q&A with Dave King, Ellie Wilson Jacobs Project Manager, Design Manager for Intel Projects Ocotillo, Arizona, U.S.

Ellie Wilson and her dad, Dave King, were both structural engineers in Cincinnati who transitioned into management roles and now work on Jacobs projects for Intel in Ocotillo, Arizona. We sat down with this dad-daughter duo to talk about their parallel paths and why they chose to work on projects with Intel. 

Can you tell us about your backgrounds and journey at Jacobs?

Dave: I’ve been with Jacobs for 30 years, predominantly in Cincinnati, Ohio within our Life Sciences business. My background was initially in civil structural engineering. I spent some time in an inside sales role and then transitioned to project management, and alliance or relationship management. I moved to Omaha, Nebraska to manage a consumer goods client (Ellie was in college at the time and transferred from Ohio State to Nebraska) Then I went back to Cincinnati for some time and worked on relationship management with a Life Sciences client.  

Ellie: I have been with Jacobs for about six years. I was hired as a structural engineer in the Cincinnati office, like my dad when he started, working in what was called the sustaining capital group at the time, working on smaller projects for various clients.

You both are working on Intel projects in Arizona. When and how did you get involved?

Ellie: I was the first of the two of us to work with Intel. At the beginning of 2018 there was an opportunity to work on Intel’s Fab 42 in Chandler. That was a short-term assignment, but I was basically living in Arizona – I brought the dogs, had the car packed up, and made my husband come visit me. I really liked it, and I guess they liked me, too, so my assignment kept extending and I was on the project for about two years. At that point I formally transferred to the team and moved out to Tempe around the end of 2019. I was a structural engineer on the “progressive build” work on Fab 42 and other projects.

Dave: In late 2018 I was asked if I would work on an Intel project in Ireland. I started traveling back and forth to Portland and working with that team on that project. The design for that project ended, and then I agreed to complete a similar scope of work in Arizona for Intel’s fabs there. By coincidence, Arizona is where Ellie had moved, and my wife and I had already started visiting and spending half the year there, so it worked out perfectly. Now, we’re both working on the Intel site in Ocotillo, although on different projects.


“There’s no ‘Projects 101’ handbook – teams and business have to share best practices across lines to deliver our best work across the company.”

Dave King

Dave King

Jacobs Project Manager

You both also transitioned from structural engineering to management roles. How did you make the change?

Dave: Yes, Ellie went from structural engineering to design management, and I also pivoted from structural engineering to project and design management. Generally, moving from a technical discipline like structural engineering to project and design management takes on-the-job training. You’re doing communication, coordination, looking at the big picture instead of focusing in the silo of your technical expertise. People ask me if I went to school for project management, but it takes more on-the-job training, watching the project managers you’re with and thinking “I can do that!"

Ellie: Last year I raised my hand and told the Design Project Manager Denise McCabe that I was interested in being a design manager – and she took me up on it! So now I’m a design manager working on ongoing construction projects in Ocotillo. As a structural engineer, you work with the other technical disciplines, but as design manager, I am now the conduit through which all the disciplines coordinate and communicate. I work with the disciplines and with the project manager to coordinate from both directions.

What about working with Intel attracted you?

Ellie: Working with Intel in Arizona was a great opportunity to try out my interest in design management and learn more about Intel and the important semiconductors industry.

Dave: I had already been doing project management before joining the Intel project in Arizona, but I wanted our Cincinnati team to be a go-to partner for our Electronics business, for the Arizona project and future projects as well. Coming from the Life Sciences business in Jacobs, I have seen tremendous knowledge sharing between the teams at Jacobs.

“There’s always something new, we’re always trying to problem solve. A good challenge makes the work rewarding.”

Ellie Wilson

Ellie Wilson

Jacobs Design Manager

What excited you most about the Intel project?

Ellie: I love the work and the client. Challenges keep you on your toes. The continuous improvement work is unique in that every day is different. There’s always something new, we’re always trying to problem solve. A good challenge makes the work rewarding.

Dave: There’s no “Projects 101” handbook – teams and business have to share best practices across lines to deliver our best work across the company. The Electronics team uses a lot of tools and databases that we are beginning to bring to bear in Life Sciences, and in Life Sciences we share some best practices in project planning and execution. Also, there’s great collaboration across global offices. Teams in Arizona, Ohio, Oregon, South Carolina, Mumbai and New Delhi in India, and Krakow in Poland all support Intel. More personally, I enjoyed learning about a different industry. I had never done work in the semiconductor or electronics space, so it has been a great experience to learn.

What does it mean to you each to be working on the same project together?

Ellie: Growing up I was always interested in dad’s job. When I was hired in Cincinnati, some of the engineers there had been around as long as my dad, and they would say “I remember when you came in here as a girl, you were this high!” and so on. I had always been interested in engineering, and when it was time, I became a structural engineer just like my dad.

Dave: I was very proud that she followed in my footsteps. I told her so at her wedding. Now that we’re working for the same client at the same site, there’s a lot less to talk about at the dinner table! But it’s great to be able to relate to one another about our jobs and any challenges we may be having.

Ellie: It’s great to have a sounding board in someone else who knows the work!

About the interviewees

Dave King

Dave King is an experienced leader in the management of highly complex projects from conceptualization through design, procurement, construction and start-up. He has experience with projects in semiconductor, biotechnology and pharmaceutical, chemical and commercial, and food and consumer products industries. He has executed projects in North America, Europe and Australia.

Ellie Wilson

Ellie Wilson has more than a decade of experience in structural engineering, design and project management. She joined Jacobs as a structural engineer in 2017 and has since served as Design Manager on Intel projects in the Greater Phoenix Area. She received her Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering from the University of Nebraska at Omaha. Outside of work, she enjoys traveling with her husband, cooking, knitting, and spoiling her dogs.

Join #OurJacobs team

What drives you drives us as we work to build a better world – together. At Jacobs, every day is an opportunity to make the world better, more connected, more sustainable.

We’re always looking for dynamic and engaged people to join our team. Bring your passion, your ingenuity and your vision. 

external Let's see the impact we can create, together