PMA People

Q&A with our People

Deborah Palmer

, New York

What are you passionate about and how do you pursue that passion at PMA?

I have a very positive and enthusiastic personality, both personally and professionally. I am also quite competitive and someone who loves to plan. For me it’s a great mix. At PMA I like the encouragement to be entrepreneurial, set ambitious goals, and to seek opportunities for growth and learning, where  a positive and enthusiastic personality and attitude are valued.

What current project(s) are you working on?

My current client is the New York City Department of Design and Construction (NYCDDC). They have a fabulous group in their Project Controls Division, for whom I have tremendous respect. As an organization they are getting away from the Design Bid Build delivery method and into the Design Build delivery method, which is a strength of mine.

Who/what inspires you to push yourself? (Personal heroes, family members, ideas)

Both my maternal and paternal grandmothers are my personal heroes. One came from Sweden and the other Norway and they both arrived at Ellis Island in NYC as children with their families.  They grew up at a time when women typically did not work outside the home. One became a registered nurse and a classical pianist and the other became a prominent lawyer. I was the first grandchild by 10 years so I was given a lot of positive attention and love, and always told I could become whatever I wanted and do whatever I wanted with my life.

What are the most positive aspects of working at PMA? Or Share your impressions of PMA’s culture.

Without question, the most positive aspect of working at PMA are the women here. I started in this business working for an industrial general contractor as the only woman on site. Over the years I have seen women growing and succeeding in this business. PMA has an incredibly dynamic and impressive group of women at all levels giving their all to the structure and success of this company. Studies have repeatedly shown women have very high levels of emotional intelligence. Consequently, they are usually better equipped to negotiate relationships, communicate effectively, and inspire others. Given these abilities, the collective positive influence of all the strong women within this organization is very evident at PMA.

What is something innovative happening in your industry that makes you excited about the future?

I am just beginning to learn about it, but I think the promise of AI and machine learning for construction workflows is very exciting.  I look forward to increasing my knowledge and education in this area.

What university or college did you graduate from?

I earned my bachelor’s degree in industrial sociology from the University of Pittsburgh. I also took graduate level classes in international and domestic construction, and contract law at the University of California, Berkeley.

What is your favorite local establishment/feature (restaurant, museum, stadium, etc.)?

My home is my favorite “local establishment.” It was built in 1745 before we became a nation, and I am quite honored to be its current owner and caretaker. Its walls have “seen” an amazing amount of the history of our nation and I dearly love it.

Provide a fun fact or secret talent about yourself?

I’m re-learning to surf!!