Women in Construction Week: Debra Markert

Debra Markert, Estimator 

Debra has been an estimator at Sellen for four years, with nearly a decade of experience in the construction industry. She has worked on a wide variety of project types and sizes, providing support on estimating, cost studies, value engineering options and systems options. 

What did you want to be when you “grew up” and what led you to the construction industry?

“I wanted to be a firefighter, then an orthopedic surgeon, then a rock star and somehow I ended up in the construction industry. When I was working in Tanzania one summer, I was running out of money and knew it was time to come back to the U.S. and get a job. I started working for a competitor through a personal connection, and fell in love with the industry. I decided to get my project management certificate, then my construction management certificate, and then my masters in construction management over the years.”

What part of your job keeps you motivated? What outside of work motivates you?

“I adore my team. I believe that Sellen gets all of the cool jobs in town, so I am inspired daily by the work I get to do with the people I am doing it with. I love getting to put puzzle pieces together every day to build something amazing.

“Outside of work, I am an avid volunteer and mentor to youth. I focus on working with education and music based organizations – one is located in Poland! I also love to ride my motorcycle and rock out with my band.”

How did you end up working for Sellen?

“I watched Sellen win the top fundraiser award at the American Heart Association Heart Walk one year. I was working for a different company at the time, but was drawn to Sellen because of their community impact. Then when Sellen won the Gates project, I was eager to get my foot in the door. I haven’t looked back since.”

What advice would you give your younger self about the industry now that you’ve seen changes, have grown in your role, etc.?

“My advice to all young people is that there are so many options within construction industry for all skills to contribute. This is sometimes overlooked.”

Where would you like to see the industry grow?

“I hope the industry dives deeper and gets more involved with the community and charitable contributions. I think Sellen does an awesome job here, but I think overall the industry can improve. I also think there is a lot of work to be done on growing diversity and inclusion within this industry. The more social impact work the better.”

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Debra Markert, Estimator