New at the top: Ceribelli reaches top of Apex

November 3, 2013

I started my career as a clerk and ended up as the chief operating officer of the company. If you love what you do, you never work another day in your life.

In the 30-plus years I’ve been in energy consulting, I’ve had the good fortune of working on some pretty significant projects that impacted communities and the nation.

During my career at Weston Solutions, I did a lot of work around military base reconstruction and redevelopment. I helped with the first-of-its-kind conveyance of military bases back to local communities, to stimulate economic activity.

I led the team that helped establish military facilities in Iraq and Afghanistan to support the war effort. We did that without incurring any casualities among our staff.

I led a significant response effort after Hurricane Katrina. We did a lot of recovery and rebuilt two of the main drainage canals in New Orleans in the event of a flood activity.

I attribute a lot of my success to knowing my strengths.

I came from a very close-knit family of six. I have four brothers and a sister. All of us played sports. We were all competitive. It’s become one of my signature strengths.

That competitive spirit drove me to seize every opportunity in my career; that propelled me to higher levels of responsibility.

I left college after my sophomore year, decided I wanted to get married and finished my schooling at night. I had the good fortune of landing at a company where I started as a clerk. It was an entry -level position doing tasks from delivering equipment to shipping and receiving.

I eventually became a controller of one of the operating divisions.

Back then, the engineering business was dominated by leaders who were engineers, understandably so. But I brought a lot of management systems and metrics to our large projects. My boss saw that I had strong business acumen that was important for advancing the business within his operation.

So I was assigned to take over an operation. That was the first time in the history of that company that a non-engineer managed a technical operation.

I helped build processes that helped project managers deliver their projects more effectively. That helped me gain credibility in their eyes and demonstrate that I could add value.

I was promoted to vice president in my 30s, senior vice president at 40 and then chief operating officer at 45.

But I am most proud of knowing my strengths and the strengths of my team. When you succeed as a team, it’s more fun than when you succeed individually.

In the same vein, Apex also knows its strengths. We are involved in a lot of products that are driving economic revitalization.

We are truly supporting the country’s efforts to develop our energy resources efficiently, effectively and environmentally friendly.

As we drive forward and continue to develop, understanding our strengths will be critical to success.

— Interview with Vanessa Small

Peter A. Ceribelli

Position: Chief executive of Apex Companies, a Rockville consulting and engineering firm involved in energy, water resources and environmental fields.

Career highlights: Chief operating officer, Weston Solutions; senior vice president, Weston Solutions.

Age: 50

Education: BS and BA, West Chester University.

Personal: He splits time between Glen Mills, Pa., and Rockville. He and his wife have three grown children.

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