Celebrating Women in Construction Week with Rachel Smith
Women in Construction Week is dedicated to the many women who have made a lasting impact on the industry, are working in the industry today, and are blazing new paths for the future. In celebration of this week and International Women’s Day, we sat down with Rachel Smith, PE, a senior project manager and 25-year veteran at PEA Group.
Rachel attended the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, Michigan, earning a Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering. She is a licensed professional engineer in Michigan and Indiana with LEED AP accreditation from the U.S. Green Building Council. Her journey at PEA Group began in June 1998. When she first entered the field, she was often the only woman on her projects or in meetings — something that is common in construction and engineering. She never let this get in her way and focused on succeeding. Rachel has worked her way up at PEA Group from staff engineer to Senior Project Manager, and in 2018, she became an associate at the firm.
Rachel has managed some of the most notable projects in PEA Group’s history, including the company’s largest project, the 3.3 million square foot Stellantis/Samsung SDI Battery Manufacturing Plant in Kokomo, Indiana, currently being developed. She was also the project manager for the company’s most complex project ever, the Stellantis Mack Plant in Detroit, Michigan. On this project, Rachel led the site design and engineering efforts for the renovation and expansion of the facility while managing 82 team members. In 2021, she helped PEA Group achieve the CREW Impact Award for the project – a first-ever for the company. Her impressive portfolio does not stop there. Rachel managed the McLaren Lansing Replacement Hospital project in Lansing, Michigan, which has since received several awards, including the Award of Merit from Engineering News-Record Midwest.
Rachel has found support in organizations, such as CREW, a global professional Commercial Real Estate organization for women. Rachel served on the Executive Committee of the Board of Directors for three years. During this time, she gained valuable leadership experience while expanding her business network. Additionally, Rachel was selected to join the CREW Network Industrial Council. This council provides members with a community where they can discuss business, share knowledge, network, and access resources related to the industrial real estate field.
One of Rachel’s favorite things about her job is figuring out how to make the engineering work for a client’s or architect’s vision on a project. Time and time again, her clients have praised her for being reliable and addressing every need in a timely fashion with accurate information. She takes pride in her work, and it shows. She is an exceptional engineer and project manager who can think on her feet while working under pressure and provide solutions on time, even under the worst time constraints. Rachel is a true example of how hard work and determination can pay off.