Lisa Powell is Founder, Principal Engineer, President and majority owner of P. E. Structural Consultants (PESC), a structural engineering consulting firm specializing in the structural design and architectural engineering of bridges and buildings. She has managed over 300 bridge projects in throughout Texas, as well as iconic and award-winning public building projects such as the Austin City Hall. The firm is located in Austin, Texas.
Competing with larger firms. And winning.
Under Lisa’s leadership, PESC has grown steadily, competing with the big firms on two fronts: winning major contracts and recruiting top people.
PESC has provided structural engineering consulting services for multi-billion dollar transportation projects such as the SH130 Toll Road in Austin, IH35W Reconstruction in Fort Worth, and the IH45/US59 Interchange in Houston. Modestly, Lisa quips about her 25-person organization that “We are a small firm doing big things.”
The unique firm has attracted and retained a highly diverse team of industry superstars including women. Diversity, a slate of prestigious projects and a positive work environment all play a part but offering a 401(k) plan through the ACEC Retirement Trust is an important component.
“We’re competing for talent with big engineering firms like AECOM. The ACEC Retirement Trust enables us to offer a competitive package. From investment lineup to educational resources to lower fees, being part of a larger pool gives us advantages we wouldn’t be able to get on our own,” Lisa says. “ACEC RT is the best choice whether a firm has 25 people or 2,500.”
FOR ENGINEERS…BY ENGINEERS
Given that so many ACEC member firms are not fully aware of the advantages of the ACEC Retirement Trust, Lisa sees one of her roles as a Trustee to provide a perspective that serves small and mid-sized firms, actively spreading the good news and educating. “The Trustees have a spirit of continuous improvement, and I enjoy being part of that,” she says. A personal goal is to bring more diversity to the table in an industry that is traditionally male.
She adds: “It’s good to for members to know that a bunch of fellow engineers is running the trust and watching their backs. We engineers are highly technical, logical, careful with money. What better group to run a retirement trust!”
Building bridges to the future
Bridges are Lisa’s specialty. Early in her career, she was one of the innovators in segmental and precast bridge construction. The firm continues to contribute to our nation’s now and future infrastructure, delivering on core principles of accelerated construction, lower costs, durability, aesthetics and constructability.
Likewise, in her role as a Trustee of the ACEC Retirement Trust, Lisa Powell will be instrumental in building on the Plan’s innovative vision as the bridge between financial wellness today and a secure retirement tomorrow.