What is the biggest misconception about the industry?
I think the biggest misconception is that people think you have to study construction or engineering to get into this field. There are so many people who came up through the ranks in the field and are thriving in this business without an engineering or construction-related degree. There are many different aspects of construction that provide opportunities for people from all walks of life.
What is your biggest current challenge at work?
The market changes constantly, and price and availability of construction supplies fluctuates daily. We have to plan appropriately to help our clients and designers find the right available supply for their buildings in order to create a better value proposition for their end-users, and that’s become more and more challenging to do in the past few years.
What keeps you up at night?
I worry about how fast the market fluctuates and the available labor pool for the industry. It’s highly volatile and feels much like 2008. Interest rates are rising to fight inflation and material shortages increase demand, thus increasing costs. At the same time, we have fewer people in the industry to do the work all while new projects are popping up at record rates.
What project is your company most proud of?
The project HITT is most proud of would have to be Co|Lab, our dedicated research and development facility in Falls Church. It was definitely a risk to take on a mass timber facility with a goal of becoming net zero. We took a big swing at sustainability on our own dime so we could better approach it moving forward for our clients. In the end, it’s a gorgeous, sustainable building that is where our R&D team partners with others in the industry to find better building solutions, and that’s certainly something to be proud of.
How does your ABC membership help your company?
Our local and national exposure via ABC helps HITT connect with potential clients and subcontractors / suppliers while also providing great programs and trainings for our team members. The networking capabilities ABC provides to its members are limitless; you get out as much as you put into it.
What did you want to be when you grew up?
I wanted to be like my mom and dad – both were electricians within IBEW in Chicago. In fact, after high school I followed in their footsteps for a couple of years until I decided to go to college. After college, I didn't want to leave that hands-on experience behind, so through the guidance of a dear friend, I opted to study construction management. It gave me the opportunity to manage construction projects while still being right in the middle of all of it.
Tell us something no one in the industry knows about you.
I can still kick a field goal from 40+ yards! Even though I didn't make the team at Purdue when attempting to walk-on during my freshman year, I still enjoyed playing football. After college, I played semi-pro football in Chicago for two seasons before moving here to the DC area. Now, I'm teaching my kids how to kick while coaching their football teams.
What do you look forward to each day?
What are you like to work for?
I’m a listener. I've been blessed to always receive positive feedback from those who have worked with me. Through the years, I've tried to listen as much as I teach. Despite having a short fuse, I've learned to be the diffuser rather than the catalyst in an intense situation. It’s important to learn from your mistakes, because you are going to make them.
What is your favorite metro Washington hangout/restaurant?
If I had to pick a spot, it would be the District Wharf. The scene is great! The social aspect is amazing, and the rooftop at Whiskey Charlie is second to none.
Who would you trade places with for a day?
Lando Norris, an F1 driver. I'm kind of an adrenaline junky, and I love to watch racing. How fun to be behind the wheel of a $12M race car!
What is your favorite movie or TV show?
What do you do for fun?
Yard games. I love playing corn hole, washers, bottle bash, can jam, etc.
What business/career advice do you wish you had when you began?
Stash more money away. No matter how tough, try to max out the 401K every year!
What book are you currently reading?
"One Second After" by William R. Forstchen. It's about the entire country losing power –permanently.
What was your first job?
My first job was at Villa Pizza. I was 14 years old, and our family was friends with the owners. To this day, this is still my favorite pizza!