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Terra Giddings, 35

Regional controller, Suffolk Construction

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  • | 11:40 a.m. October 13, 2017
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  • Class of 2017
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After growing up mostly in Tallahassee, then graduating from Florida State University, Terra Giddings jumped at a chance to move to Boston in 2004 after college. The lure of living in a big city for the first time overcame any doubts about winters.

Giddings had worked part time in an office job at a construction firm while in college, and in Boston she got a job with Suffolk Construction. She started at the bottom, pushing paper and making copies. Nine years and several promotions later, Giddings was back in the Sunshine State. First she worked in the firm’s Miami office, and in 2015, she relocated to Estero, tasked with helping Suffolk open a Florida West Coast office.

That kind of ability to rise up the ladder in a growing business is what attracted Giddings to Boston-based Suffolk in the first place, she says. “It was a large corporation, but I could see myself spending my whole career there.”

Now, as regional controller, Giddings oversees the financial performance of Suffolk’s projects from Tampa to Naples, in addition to annual and five-year business plans, financial forecasts and ongoing financial reports. Those projects have surpassed $525 million in total value in the past two years, and the company has another $600 million in upcoming projects planned for the region. Suffolk’s West Florida office has some 80 employees.

In addition to work ethic, Giddings attributes her rise at Suffolk to her ability to solve problems and constantly push herself to do better. “If I don’t know the answer myself, I will work and ask questions until I figure it out,” she says. “I don’t want to just put a Band-Aid on it and move on.”

— Mark Gordon

Survey says

Name: Terra Giddings

Age: 35

City of residence: Estero

Employer: Suffolk Construction

Title: Regional Controller

Birthplace: Davenport, Iowa

Years on the Gulf Coast: 2

Marital status/children: engaged (wedding in October 2017)/no kids

Alma mater/degree: Florida State University/Business Management

Best place to network: CFMA

Messy desk or clean workspace: OCD clean

Eat lunch out or at your desk: At my desk

Best business lesson ever learned: Ask for what you want

Weirdest job you’ve ever had: Washed cars in high school

A website that makes your job easier: Bank of America Cash Pro

App you use the most: Instagram

One thing you do every day: Spend time with my two French Bulldogs

Community group you’re most involved with: Giving Circle (Suffolk’s internal nonprofit)

Favorite off-hours activity: Watching anything on Bravo

Two people, dead or alive, you’d like to have dinner with: Steve Jobs and Dave Matthews

What you would be doing if you could pick another career: Psychologist

Top item on your bucket list: Travel to Italy

Your happy place is: At a Dave Matthews Band concert

Your biggest fear: Spiders

Skill you’d like to learn: To learn another language

Who would play you in a movie about your life: Sandra Bullock

Describe yourself in three words: Organized, logical and direct


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