As we celebrate International Women’s Day and Women’s History Month, we want to showcase the people and businesses in St. Petersburg who not only support equality externally, but live by it internally. As it turns out, Tampa Bay’s biggest private employer, headquartered in north St. Pete, is the perfect example of a local company doing things right.
Power Design Inc got its start as a family-owned-and-operated small business here in St. Pete, and as its grown into one of the nation’s leading design build contractors, it has stayed true to its roots, with co-founder and co-chairman Dana Permuy leading since day one. In a construction industry where women typically make up as little a single percentage point of the workforce, Power Design is the rare company with more than just a token number of women in positions of leadership.
In fact, half of Power Design’s executive leadership team is made up of women, creating a C-suite of proven, talented leadership that is representative of the diverse population of the area. Most of them have been on the board for years, leading the way as Power Design has grown from its humble roots into an industry leader that employs more than 2,500 people in everything from engineering and design to marketing and technology (and even an impressive group of chefs and baristas.)
Already, before International Women’s Day arrived, Power Design was showcasing the work of its female employees and leadership team as they’ve been celebrating the 25th-annual Women In Construction Week. This year’s theme is “Many paths, one mission,” which fits well with Power Design’s ethos, and the reality that the women on its executive team come from an incredible array of backgrounds and represent a wide variety of fields and offices.
Between the five leading ladies on the executive team, they have more than 100 combined years of service at Power Design, representing the more than 400 women currently employed at Power Design. Having so many high profile and experienced women in these roles has proven invaluable for a company that has nearly 50% more female employees than the industry average.
Power Design’s Manager of Public Relations Megan Arnold grew up around construction, the child of general contractors who started their own construction company, and she knows better than most how important that representation is.
“It’s been great to see this,” she said. “Truthfully, I was in government before this, and you didn’t see a lot of women in leadership roles. Especially not in construction … To see females in that role is empowering, for sure.”
Power Design sets an industry standard
As for the work of the company itself, Power Design has grown into something of a one-stop-shop for construction developers. By specializing in so many different areas (a rarity in the field), Power Design helps streamline construction processes by doing the work of what typically requires multiple contractors.
Specifically, they focus on electrical, mechanical, plumbing, and systems technologies buildout for construction projects. That scope encompasses everything from the lighting in conference rooms to carbon filtration in parking garages, with all the fire alarms, bathrooms, and literal nuts and bolts in between.
Of course, while it’s their professional services that make them important to their clients and partners, it’s Power Design’s role in the community that makes it special to St. Pete. It’s a rarity in so many of Florida’s growing cities to have such a large company not only headquartered locally, but founded there. Power Design is entrenched as an economic driver for the individuals and families who actually live in St. Pete and the surrounding areas.
And the benefits have spread much farther than that, thanks to Power Design’s primary charitable program: Project V5. The company recycles millions of pounds of wire on its job sites all over the country, resulting in a significant amount of excess scrap wire. The program ensures that all of the wire is recycled for cash, and then the profit is donated straight to employee-chosen charities.
To date, the program has recycled nearly 400 million pounds of wire, benefiting more than 500 charities that represent the company’s five core values: integrity, accountability, teamwork, innovation, and growth.
As we celebrate Women’s History Month, and as St. Pete continues to grow, we raise a toast to a company that made it big by investing in women, investing in the community, and continuing be part of the fabric of the city it has called home since day one.