Posted: May 16, 2016
Last modified: June 15, 2016

Construction Crew Foreman
Resident of Titusville

After 20 years of hard work on heavy machinery, Dea Kramer learned many lessons, but none more vital than this: “A leader is only as good as his or her crew.”

So when Kramer became the first woman to supervise a construction crew on the I-4 Ultimate project in Area 4, she was proud. But she was even prouder of the teamwork on her crew. “They work hard. We have each other’s backs, and we give each other the respect we deserve.”

Kramer appreciates the welcoming atmosphere she found at SGL Constructors – the design-build joint venture on the 21-mile highway reconstruction project. “I’m not treated like a commodity. I feel like an individual and they treat me as a human being. They saw in me some qualities that others did not.”

Where once she might have felt shunted off to the side in the male-dominated field; today, she can focus on jobs, not genders. “I have an awesome crew. They are go-getters, and they have no problem taking direction from me. They know I know the capacities of the machines and can help train new workers.”

Since joining the project in June 2015, Kramer has worked with pipe crews, as an equipment operator and retaining-wall teams. Earlier in the project, she used an excavator to fill up dump trucks more than 135 times in one day. However, she always has felt at home at the controls of the big machines. “To me, they’re like life-sized video games.”

When she’s not working, Kramer likes to spend time with her two youngsters. And if she’s not four-wheeling or go-cart racing, she likes to saddle up her quarter horse and compete in barrel races.

Her 14-year-old son is accustomed to having a mother who spends her day in construction. However, her four-year-old daughter still likes to point out the roads and structures her mother has worked on and shout, “Mommy built that!”

“It’s a great sense of accomplishment to know you were a part of big project like this,” Kramer said. “And it’s even greater when your children know you did it. I’m looking forward to that day when my children are driving on the new interstate and can say their mom and her crew helped build it.”