How did you find your way into the industry?
As a child I always wanted to build. I was constantly building treehouses, forts, and with Lincoln Logs. In my first job out of college I worked for a private investor and I became his project manager. I was flipping homes in Corona Del Mar and Laguna Beach. But then the recession hit and I needed to find a more stable Plan B. I went back to school to help my transition into real estate development.
What advice would you give to an emerging young leader just starting their professional career?
Network. Network. Network. Meet people at events (like ULI events) and ask them to lunch, coffee, or happy hour (but be extra respectful of their time). Going to lunch with people has provided many opportunities during my career.
What traits do you think define a successful leader?
Someone that is genuinely interested in creating and maintaining a culture that supports the growth of the people around them, learning, respect, flexibility, and compassion.
What is your current job and what types of projects are you working on now?
I am responsible for managing the planning and construction of new homes in University Hills, a neighborhood for UCI Faculty and Staff on UCI property. We currently have 42 single family homes under construction with an estimated completion in September 2018. This project includes 3 more phases; two phases of single family detached product and one phase of apartments, for a total of 300 units. All phases should be complete by Fall 2020.
What do you find most challenging about your profession on a day-to-day basis?
Keeping track of all the minor tasks and project updates. The Irvine Campus Housing Authority operates like a small city. We manage everything from new construction, sales, leasing, maintenance, landscape, community programming, etc. There are a lot of on-going tasks that aren’t urgent, but need to be completed at some point. It’s easy to prioritize the immediate needs, but there are always a number of proposed projects floating around the “To-Do” list.
What are you looking for in terms of career development – OR In what areas would you like to professionally develop further?
I am always looking to improve processes to make projects move along more efficiently. From scheduling, document & task tracking, communication, and follow-up. I know there are a lot of resources out there to help with this, but transitioning to a new system often feels burdensome. I would like to learn more about the tips/techniques/tools that would help create the most efficient process.
Describe a situation that was a great learning experience.
I was responsible for presenting an entitlement package (for an apartment project) to multiple Commissions in the City of Irvine. As the underdog applicant in a competitive race, our team became immediately aware of the importance of developing a strategic plan to build support politically (unfortunately it was too late) during the entitlement process. Academically trained as an Urban Planner (and raised with strong morals), I will always encourage people to promote a fair process.
How do you deal with stress at work?
Our office is located in the community we build and manage, and we have amazing views of OC. I leave everything (except my phone) at my desk and I go for a walk, usually to the construction site and back. By the time I return I’ve scrolled through some photos of my son (18 months old) that my wife sends daily, I’ve checked IG, and I’ve scrolled through a few tweets (which can actually cause stress with today’s news). @BeigeCardigan and headlines. It’s how millennials decompress, right?