Marcella Simms joined Edge in 2019 and is among the relatively few female building engineers working in the greater Washington, D.C. metropolitan region, a fact that is rarely broached in her daily contact with tenants, which is just the way she prefers it. Marcella enjoys a head-down approach to proactively addressing the needs of clients and is most happy when her plate is completely full with important assignments.
When did you first realize you wanted to work in the building engineering industry?
After graduating from high school, I was searching for a career that was rewarding and different every day, because I have lots of energy that I need to channel in a positive direction. After having a conversation with a friend about the building engineering industry, it intrigued me and I enrolled and subsequently graduated from the College of Southern Maryland with a HVAC certification. I was always good with hands and thought this might be a good fit. As a youngster, I was always walking around the house looking to fix things, even if they weren’t even broken. I consider myself a problem-solver which is essential for this business.
What are the most challenging aspects of the job?
Staying busy. I am not happy when I am not super active, which is not to say I wish for problems to emerge in the buildings we service for our clients. So, when I have extra time on my hands, I proactively search for areas that can be addressed that will prevent issues before they happen. I love helping people, solving problems and putting in a hard day’s work. That is extremely satisfying and rewarding.
Please explain Edge’s unique approach to providing building engineering services.
Everything revolves around providing value add services, as well as getting and remaining ahead of potential problem areas and addressing issues as quickly as possible. We take an ownership approach to everything. Because our engineering team receives service tickets directly from our phone, there is never any time wasted with back-and-forth communication. We understand the importance of addressing and providing feasible solutions to problems as quickly as possible.
Do you deal with any issues as a female in a male-dominated industry?
Mostly, no. But there are times when I meet a client and they say, “so you are the building engineer? Really?” And that interaction actually makes me feel good but I want to prove that women can perform this job and there is no reason why most of the workers are male. I enjoy my role as a trendsetter and I like being different in a good way.
How do you recharge your body and mind?
Physical exercise is the best way to work off stress and reestablish the proper mindset. So, I regularly work out at the gym, perform yoga, or go for a run outside. This always works wonders for me.
Edge is a commercial real estate firm providing a full complement of advisory, leasing, investment sales, management, construction, property management and engineering services to clients throughout the Washington, D.C., Maryland, Northern Virginia, and Pennsylvania marketplaces. Founded in 2007, the company currently leases and manages more than 8.5 million square feet of commercial office, flex/office, industrial/warehouse, retail and mixed-use space. Visit www.edgecre.com