VA Division Employee Brings Wealth of Knowledge, Inspiration to Job

Mechille Peters has seen a lot of changes in the construction industry over her 25-year career, both in the way construction is done and the roles women have played over the years.

Peters is a quality assurance construction representative for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Louisville District. She’s been with USACE for four months – working on the Louisville VA Medical Center construction project in Louisville, Kentucky. Peters ensures the Contractor Quality Control (CQC) plan is followed to obtain the quality of the contract plans and specifications required for the project.

A contractor cuts steel for use in the building of the West bar of the Louisville VA Medical Center July 5, 2023. (Photo by Michael Maddox)
A contractor cuts steel for use in the building of the West bar of the Louisville VA Medical Center July 5, 2023. USACE PHOTO BY MICHAEL MADDOX

Peters said she gained an appreciation for construction and hard work early in her life.

“I was raised around construction all my life. My dad was a carpenter and a farmer. He would work on the farm before sunrise and worked at Fort Knox (Kentucky) on projects during the day,” she shared. “He would take on any work – digging ditches whatever work that was available in construction at the time, then he would come home and farm some more. I was raised with great work ethic by learning from his example.”

She added that several of her female family members have also influenced her work ethic.

“I come from a long line of women that were hard workers – my momma, my aunt and my grandmothers – they were determined and never gave up no matter what obstacles they faced. I was taught you keep pressing forward, give it your all, be true to yourself and first and foremost pray for guidance and strength from God,” she shared. “Every one of these ladies were born during, or was growing up during, the Great Depression teaching them that doesn’t break us makes us stronger. Sometimes we may have a setback, but that’s okay, we move forward, and it makes us stronger.”

She’s taken those life lessons, along with others, into her career in the construction industry.

“At that time, construction was not the idea place or even considered for a woman to be. I was on my first construction project in Augusta, Georgia, and I was inspired by a woman that was a manager for the construction project and from that point on I was determined to succeed,” Peters said. “I went on to attend Augusta State and then returned home to Kentucky where I received certifications from the University of Louisville. It was then when I started in my first position as a quality control assistant on a project at Fort Knox in 2006.”

Capt. Vihn Dao, who is serving as a Construction Control Representative for the Louisville District, has a discussion with contractor Tre Baker on the site of the Louisville VA Medical Center project May 3.
Capt. Vihn Dao, who is serving as a Construction Control Representative for the Louisville District, has a discussion with contractor Tre Baker on the site of the Louisville VA Medical Center project May 3, 2023. USACE PHOTO

“Since then, I have worked on projects as an employee of contractors for the Corps of Engineers. This allowed me to prove myself and was later offered a quality control manager position with a construction company and the Corps approved my position for that project,” she said. “Through the years it has taken a lot of hard work and determination.”

Peters said she has seen an evolution of women in construction over her career.

“For years you did not see many women on a construction site – especially in the field. It was a struggle for a woman to get hired in a construction position out in the contracting world,” she explained. “I am happy to say now I see a lot more women in the field and it’s a great feeling to see how far we have come. Women are now in the office and in the construction field and in management positions.”

Peters worked at Fort Knox until 2017 and later she started her own business. Now she is working for the Louisville District in the Veterans Affairs Division.

“I was offered an opportunity to work for the Army Corp of Engineers this past year. I have always wanted to be offered a position with the Corps of Engineers because of their reputation of ensuring work was done correctly by specs and plans, and Corps employees were always so respectful,” Peters said. “I was so excited when I was offered the job!! So here I am and it’s great – I’m loving every second of it. Everyone is so friendly, willing to help, very respectful and it’s like a big family.”

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