Christine Merdon

Presentation: Leadership lessons from the Capitol Dome Renovation

Presentation Date and Time: Thursday, April 20, 2023 at 12:30PM

Abstract: In 2016 the Architect of the Capitol (AOC) completed a multi-year project to completely restore the Dome of the U.S. Capitol. The Dome had become plagued by more than 1,000 cracks and deficiencies due to age and weather. With the support of the United States Congress, hundreds of expert craftsmen worked day and night to restore the Dome to its inspiring splendor. The project was completed on time, under budget with no lost time injuries. This was a once in a millennial high profile project, it was shown on news 24/7 around somewhere around the world. There were many leadership lessons learned along the way, from the project team, craftsmen Congress, the President, and general public. These lessons were in history (“the past is prologue”), persuasion, strategic communications, agile project management, empathy, team building, and safety. The team was faced with many challenges along the way, and the most important lesson learned was looking out for each team member well being, both mentally and physically.

Biography: Christine is a Civil Engineer, founder, and president of Merdon Strategies, LLC. She brings over 25 years of experience as an accomplished leader in public and private industry in organizational leadership, project management, and strategic planning. She started her career with the U.S. Navy, working for the White House Military Office, then joined Clark Construction as project manager. After joining McKissack & McKissack (a woman owned, minority business) she rose to the position of Senior Vice President and Chief Operating Officer,, where she was responsible for managing such projects as the Washington Nationals Major League Baseball Stadium, O’Hare Airport Modernization Program, Martin Luther King, Jr. National Memorial, Smithsonian Institution's National Museum for African American History, and the Lincoln and Thomas Jefferson Memorial renovations. She was most recently the Acting Architect and Deputy Architect for nine years, leading a billion-dollar construction program that included the Capitol Building and Dome Restoration. She was responsible the leadership of a diverse organization of over 2,500 employees, was a member of the U.S. Capitol Police Board, Executive and Advisory Council on Historic Preservation.

Christine is a currently member of the National Academy of Construction, and was the Past Chair of the University of Maryland’s Civil Engineering Board of Visitors. She earned a Bachelor’s and Master of Science in Civil Engineering from the University of Maryland and is currently back on campus pursuing her Ph.D. Christine has been coming to the University of Maryland since she was ten years old; both her mother and father received their degrees from the University of Maryland. When Christine is not helping her clients, or studying for her mid-terms, she is spending time with her husband and daughter Nadya, who is a sophomore at Baylor University in Waco, Texas.