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First in Future: SEPI Engineering & Construction, Inc. President & CEO, Sepi Saidi


A couple of weeks ago I went to the Southeast Raleigh Innovation Challenge, a pitch competition designed to get more people thinking about a business they could start, and getting the folks with the best ideas some of the money and support they need to get those businesses going. If today’s guest could give them one piece of advice about making their businesses successful, it might be “take other business leaders out to lunch.” That’s the approach Sepi Saidi used as she built one of the Southeast’s fastest growing engineering firms, SEPI Engineering. During the interview, you’ll hear more about what she’s learned on making a business successful, some thoughts on how to get more women working in STEM fields, and how we might grow more young entrepreneurs. We’ll also talk about how cowboys and the Six Million Dollar Man influenced her growing up in Iran – and you’ll learn at least one word of Farsi.

This installment of First in Future is part of a special TV series produced in collaboration with UNC-TV, and recorded in UNC-TV’s Legislative Studio in downtown Raleigh. Taped segments will air on the North Carolina Channel. Visit for specific air dates. Watch the UNC-TV broadcast version via online streaming here!

Excerpts:  “[There] was a very small number [of women in my engineering class], and unfortunately the number hasn’t increased over the years. We still struggle with having more females in STEM and engineering.”

Book recommendations:  Scrum: The Art of Doing Twice the Work in Half the Time by Jeff Sutherland and Mary McGrory: The Trailblazing Columnist Who Stood Washington on Its Head by John Norris

What key issues should we be working on within the next couple of years to make North Carolina a better place?   Public education, importance of teachers to our state.

What do we need to focus on to be ready for the next 20 years? North Carolina’s growing population, welcoming/integrating new residents, inclusive public policy.

Next great North Carolinian to watch?  Our Park and Goodnight Scholars; and our new SEPI Engineering & Construction employees!

Listen to the podcast: