Deb began to discover her love for computer technology while in high school, when she helped her parents incorporate the latest IBM software into their small business. When she came to Messiah it didn’t take her long to realize that she could translate her passion for computers into a major.
As a student Deb was involved in several different organizations. She was a member of the Student Activities Board
and also helped run Bible studies on her floor and for her dorm. She began an internship with IBM her junior year and got so much out of it that she continued it through her senior year.
Before she began her internship, she says, “I was not happy with my major. The focus on programming had me spending a lot of time working on my own. I couldn’t see myself buried in the basement of some building by myself programming. The internship renewed my interest in technology. I was able to see the application of technology first-hand, as well as find my niche as a technical support person in a marketing organization.”
Deb still finds herself using the technical writing skills she learned at Messiah. “The general knowledge of computer science assists me in proposal preparation and technical writing,” she explains. “The database theory I learned allows me to create and maintain project databases. I would actually say I use the technical writing skills I learned at Messiah more than any other skills or knowledge from my major.”
With the experience of her internship under her belt, Deb had a good idea of what she wanted to do. “I knew I wanted to provide technical support in a sales organization, and I worked during my last semester to get hired by IBM who I had my internship with,” she says.
• "Get work experience and/or internships in your field of study in order to really determine what you love to do."
• "Know that your first job won’t be your last one. There are many opportunities to change career paths, both within companies and in a new area or company."
• "Vocation isn’t what people expect or think, but what God has for each of us as individuals."
Deb worked after college as an IBM systems engineer before deciding to start her own consulting business. Her company grew and she currently works as president of Pierson Consulting Company, Inc. or PCCi. The company helps mostly state and local governments in Pennsylvania establish and manage the technology necessary to link multiple sites and develop infrastructures. “As a small business owner my job entails many things,” Deb explains. She is responsible for everything from the documentation surrounding each project to human resource management. “A typical day at work includes interacting with employees on current projects, taking calls from clients regarding existing projects or quotes needed for upcoming work, and managing finances,” she says.
While some of the management work Deb does may not appeal to everyone, she is confident and comfortable in her work, and her confidence often helps ease her clients' apprehensions. “When I meet with a client at the start of a new project I always ask them what they are worried about regarding the project – that gives me a sense of what we need to focus on to keep them happy,” she explains. “Many clients who either have worked with us in the past, or know someone who has, have said ‘I’m not worried, you will handle all the issues.’”
Deb finds she serves God best through first examining herself and then “working to perform all [her] job duties as honestly and excellently” as she can. As a business owner she also finds the opportunity to share her faith through her business model. “I serve God by providing a work environment for my employees that is flexible, family friendly, focused on integrity and excellence,” she says. She extends her mindset of honesty and integrity to the clients, and PCCi strives to provide services in a manner which mirrors God’s love.
Deb plans on continuing to develop her business to the point where she is able to expand or outsource “some of the business processes [she doesn’t] excel at.” Through this expansion, she will be more able to devote time to the aspects of the business that match her talents and energize her.
Find out how other Messiah graduates became entrepreneurs:
Liz Demery, owner of comedy club
Katrina Hunsberger Didot, owner of restaurant and catering business
Shelly Tolo, owner of event planning company
Paul Logan, owner of medical information technology consultation business
Profile by Tyler Baber, March 2006