EBA’s Deborah Pellissier Peters helps manage a busy construction office supporting the firm’s contracts with the Maryland Transportation Authority (MDTA). During Women in Construction Week, she answers some of our questions about her work and experiences.
Where are you from?
I live in Pennsylvania, but I grew up in Baltimore, Maryland.
What do you do for EBA?
I am an office engineer consultant working on projects for the MDTA.
What inspired you to pursue a career in construction?
It started with my pursuit to find a new office manager position in 2012, which eventually led me to EBA. That’s where my construction education began.
How long have you worked in the construction field?
February 18 marked 5 years.
What’s the most interesting project you are currently working on?
When I first started working for MDTA, I was working on roadwork and sign projects. One of our contracts was to replace the highway signs with greetings from the governor with new electronic signs. I have been in many places that most people only see from the outside. I have seen the huge fans that blow air into the Ft. McHenry Tunnels!
What is your favorite thing about your job?
Working as the liaison between the team and the contractors. I also always enjoy when we get plans in the office for new construction. You look at page after page—this elevation, these symbols and markings of how the project is supposed to be built. And then you get to go out into the field and be on site and see it actually being erected. It’s pretty amazing to see the progress and how everything comes together!
What are you most proud of so far in your career?
EBA and MDTA have been wonderful about helping the office engineers achieve success in different construction certifications, such concrete, hot asphalt, nuclear gauge, erosion and sediment control, OSHA, pavement markings, and many more. This adds to my understanding of what is happening in the field so that I can better help out with the needs of the office.
When you aren’t at work, what are you most likely doing?
I am a boater. On the weekends you usually find me at our yacht club and on the boat. I also love to cook and travel.
Why is construction a good career choice?
The hours (6:30–3:00) are awesome for a morning person like me. In my position, my team makes me feel that I am the one who maintains the office. Forget Charles in Charge, it’s Debi in Charge! The staff and contractors know that if they need anything they can call or email me for a quick response, so that the ball can keep rolling and progress can be made.
What advice do you have for encouraging the next generation of women in construction?
Working in the construction industry helps you understand how important our infrastructure truly is. We can help young girls appreciate how getting in your car and traveling across the highways and bridges really is an amazing feat of engineering and construction.