DIG’s Debbie Koehler Highlights AEC Industry Success in PWC-NJ’s Member Spotlight

Right place, right skill set, right time. This career-success formula has served DIGroup Architecture’s (DIG) Debbie Koehler well. By matching her talent with the right roles, she continues to soar to new heights as a woman whose career experience extends to each of the construction industry’s AEC fields.

As profiled in the Professional Women in Construction – New Jersey Chapter’s (PWC-NJ) Member Spotlight, DIG’s Marketing Director and newest Associate has proven herself one of the best content creators, storytellers and strategists in the business.

“As a marketer, the AEC industry is not necessarily one I would have pursued at the onset of my career. It was a happy accident,” said Koehler, who started out with an engineering firm, and has since worked for both construction and architectural firms in similar capacities. 

According to Koehler, marketing serves a crucial function for advancing a company’s brand and profile while generating new – and building upon existing – business.


“I have seen marketing evolve into a critical necessity, but it wasn’t always that way. In fact, for architectural firms, it is a relatively new concept,” she said. “At one time architects were not even permitted to advertise their services. It’s been over five decades since the ban was lifted by AIA, and firms were slow to adapt at the beginning. Fast forward to today, marketing is a much more valued role within AEC firms; robust in activities from research, planning, positioning, client development, branding and promotional activities.

“Thanks to time, visibility, exposure and a boatload of fortitude, more and more women are making their mark in AEC industry,” Koehler added. “In so doing, we are validating AEC and its related career spinoffs – such as marketing – as viable, exciting multi-faceted career options with unlimited growth pathways.”

In a career that has spanned 31 years, Koehler cites joining DIG as her boldest and most-pivotal move.

“Inspired by DIG’s commitment to fostering an inclusive culture that values diverse perspectives, creativity, and passion, I proposed the expansion of the firm into Philadelphia. Recognizing the city’s goal of allocating at least 35% of public contracts to minority- and disadvantage-owned/small business enterprises, I saw an opportunity for DIG to make a meaningful impact.

The suggestion garnered unanimous support from the ownership, leading to the development of a comprehensive action plan. This plan included the establishment of a dedicated Philadelphia office in 2019. By the end of 2023, the firm had secured over two dozen contracts in Philadelphia, significantly contributing to its revenue growth and expanding its footprint in the region.”

“During my career, the drive to continually create value and leave my mark for the better has grown into something more meaningful through the years on a personal and professional level,” added Koehler. “I’m not only dedicated to assisting DIG in putting its best foot forward, I also hold a deep commitment to nurturing the next generation of women in the AEC industry across all of its disciplines.”

To read more about Koehler’s winding path from construction and engineering to architecture – and the award-winning DIG, visit PWC-NJ’s website at www.pwc-nj.org.

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