Movers & Shakers Spotlight – Erica Tester

From her nomination:

Erica, although new to this line of work, has been exceptional and driven in leaving her mark. It’s not often that you meet someone that truly cares about what they do. She not only takes her job seriously, but she takes the success of her project very personal. Seeing how she communicates with her superintendent and the crew has been a pleasure. Erica is very driven and is invested in the company. She wants to grow, learn, and remain part of this family for a long time.

Erica Tester holds the title of Project Engineer II at Branscome Incorporated, the Colas USA subsidiary that operates throughout Virginia. Erica has been an employee within the Colas USA Family of Companies since 2019 when she started as a Project Engineer I.

Read more about Erica Tester through the following spotlight.

Describe your role to someone who is not familiar with the construction industry or Colas USA.

As a Project Engineer II for roadway construction, I am responsible for owning all stages of the project life cycle, from the project handoff meeting, to the project’s final acceptance and turnover to the owner. These stages include planning, scheduling, executing, and evaluating the project, in accordance with pre-determined timelines and budgets. This role involves helping manage the project team and project processes to make sure that the project is moving forward in an effective and efficient manor, without compromising safety and quality standards.

It is also my responsibility to work with field managers, to ensure that the execution of all work is in accordance with the project contract documents, as well as with Virginia Department of Transportation and county specs. As a Project Engineer, I also make it a goal to build and maintain relationships with the project owners, subcontractors, and suppliers, throughout the life of the project.

What has been your favorite project so far?

My favorite project that I have worked on so far, would be the Route 10 (1 to 95) road widening project.

What drew you to working within the construction industry?

To be honest, the construction industry was not on my radar. I attended a career fair that my college was hosting. When I saw the team from Branscome it piqued my interest. I grew up in the farming industry, so although I had no knowledge or background in construction, I was comfortable with the industry. I ended up visiting Branscome Richmond and fell in love with the company culture. I was also super excited for the challenge of the construction industry and I jumped in headfirst.

What motivates you to wake up and go to work every day?

Once I start a project, I become emotionally attached to all operations that are involved with a roadway project. I also take extreme pride in my work, and I want to make every aspect of it, as successful as possible. The relationships that I hold with my project team, the owner, the subcontractors, and the suppliers, are a major motivating factor for being present in the day to day operations.

What’s something most people don’t know about you?

Most people do not know that I have a Master’s degree in Business Administration with a Project Management certificate from East Carolina University.

What is one recommendation you could make to help Colas USA operate better?

In my opinion, I think it would be beneficial to have consistent, in-person interactions across the Colas USA subsidiaries. This would allow each company an opportunity to share and explore different ideas, market trends and operations that may vary across the companies.