Jaclyn Peranteau, president of Prime Engineering, is a rare breed of woman. Not only is she a licensed engineer, but in 2010, after working for a large civil engineering firm for 10 years, she dared herself to co-found an engineering company with co-worker Marc Pilotta, under the terms of a noncompete agreement.
That meant they couldn't woo any former clients to their new business. After establishing themselves with large projects at West Point and the Hamlet Condominiums in Jericho, Peranteau, 34, is now getting certified as a Woman Owned Business to score government projects as a female minority.
How did you get jobs under the noncompete?
Recommendations; infrastructure projects primarily come through municipalities, whether it's through New York State or through a local agency. A lot of clients tend to go to the architect first . . . [I'm also courting] big banks and retailers, who will tend to be very loyal to their [engineering] consultant. [Retailers] that are building 10 [stores] a year give some sort of stabilization to your company.
What makes Long Island unusual territory for engineers?
I think a big problem on Long Island with development is that we don't have the infrastructure to support more development. We've sort of maxed out our roadways, and we've maxed out our sewer systems. We can't add any more flow to the sewers or cars to the roadways. It's always the biggest complaint in all the applications that we've done.
What's the solution to maxed-out infrastructure?
Long Island sits on a sole-source aquifer which provides our drinking water; therefore the Suffolk County Department of Health limits the amount of sewage waste for properties that are not connected to sewers. This will limit the amount of development . . . some restaurants are limited to 10 gallons per day per seat, so you can only have 30 seats in some zones. Suffolk County is looking into extending the sewer systems out east, which should promote more development.
What are some new trends in your field?
Most of the towns on the Island have adopted some requirements for LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) . . . part of that is solar work. Also, more streetscape design is happening on projects, like incorporating a plaza area in a shopping center with seats -- something that's a little more aesthetically pleasing and gives it more of that smaller-type feel.
How do you find that work/life balance?
I have a very supportive husband. He sees the satisfaction in what I'm doing . . . when I come home with a signed contract, how excited I am. And he became a much better cook since I've been working so much.
Name. Jaclyn Peranteau, president of Prime Engineering in Farmingville
What it does. "Prime provides civil design services and land development for commercial and residential developments. We work with the local municipality to get projects approved and coordinate all facets of the project with the design team."
Employees. 3 full time, 4 part time
Their roles. Computer-aided-design drafters, landscape design, field assistance, land development and site zoning analysis, grading and drainage design, utility design, water and sewer design, lighting, gas station pump and tank design
Revenue. $500,000 (estimate for 2012)