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December 6, 2022
Diversity, High performance & sustainability, Community involvement

Two of our own co-found the Society of Aspiring Minority Engineers

Earlier this year, two of Pepper’s young professionals, Project Engineer Elijah Reid and Intern Aaron Lott, co-founded the Society of Aspiring Minority Engineers (SAME). In collaboration with other members of the AEC community, SAME’s mission is to mentor minority high school seniors and college students from poverty stricken neighborhoods within Indianapolis through engineering and related trade school programs.

Mentors offer a full spectrum of support including resume building workshops, interview preparation sessions and networking opportunities. Additionally, and perhaps most notably, SAME offers a support system to mentees as they navigate through these demanding programs.

SAME-blog post

Shown left to right in the photo above are Aaron Lott, Bryan Fields, SAME’s Professional Development Director, Elijah Reid, Taheed Moore, SAME’s Chief Financial Officer, and Charlie Smith a Project Director at Pepper Construction in Indianapolis. Left to right in the banner image at the top of the page are Pepper Project Manager Anthony White, Elijiah Reed and Taheed Moore.

Committing to an engineering program is very rigorous and, without a support system, it is even more demanding. To me, leadership is about taking action and creating a better world for those around you. SAME can be your support system as you navigate your college experience. I’m extremely proud of all our applicants.

Elijah Reid

The Reid Foundation Scholarship

This fall, the foundation awarded two scholarships. One recipient, Jonathon Gonzalez, will be studying engineering software and the other, Joshua Jones, is embarking on an electrical engineering journey. Jonathon and Joshua will be able to use the granted funds towards tuition, school supplies and professional attire.

SAME-blog post

SAME recently celebrated award recipients and a promising future with a wine tasting fundraiser hosted by Peace Water Winery. Monetary and professional attire donations were collected.

The financial aid process for immigrants is cumbersome. As an international student I don’t qualify for in-state tuition, so I have to rely on private scholarships. The Reid Foundation is helping me cover housing and meal-plan expenses and giving me the opportunity to study web and app development.

Johnathan Gonzalez

Scholarship Recipient

Walking the walk

Elijah and Aaron’s ambitions are a testament to one of Pepper’s core values – diversity. As we pursue our mission to improve quality of life through the built world, we feel a great responsibility to foster diversity, equity and inclusion throughout our organization and our industry.

This whole endeavor is amazing. We’re proud to support SAME’s mission, look forward to seeing their progress, and eventually tracking their mentees as they fill our talent pipeline.

About the Author


Dan PeddicordPresident, Pepper Construction, Indiana

Dan joined the Pepper team in Chicago in 2006 as a project manager and relocated to Indianapolis in 2014. He embodies our values-based culture and enduring commitment to operational excellence.

Throughout his 26 years of construction experience, Dan has led projects spanning virtually every market that Pepper serves. He played a significant role in establishing and expanding Pepper’s science and technology portfolio as well as the industrial and manufacturing markets in Indiana, and his expertise also extends to commercial, higher education, hospitality, residential and retail work.

As President, Dan provides oversight on some of the firm’s most prominent projects, including those in the science and technology sector, by working together with clients to ensure we are attaining their goals. 

Dan earned his Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering from the University of Illinois and is a LEED Accredited Professional. He is a member of the American Society of Civil Engineers and serves as an Executive Leader for the American Heart Association’s Hard Hats with Heart annual campaign.