What is the biggest misconception about the industry?
The biggest misconception about the construction industry is the mistaken belief that the trades can't provide a fulfilling and lucrative career path. We need to continue to push technical education, including educating the general public about the value of the trades.
What is your biggest current challenge at work?
The tight labor market. Finding qualified attorneys with experience is the greatest problem we currently face. Right now, there is more demand than supply.
What keeps you up at night?
Worrying about the quality of our work. I'm not interested in just being good, I want us to be the best at what we do. For me, 2 in the morning is often reserved for thoughts of what we can add — or could or should have added — to make our work product better.
What project is your company most proud of?
Assisting the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) in terminating a contract to build a cost overrun-plagued facility designed to fabricate nuclear fuel from decommissioned nuclear warheads. The estimate to complete the project soared from 10 years and $10 billion to 30 years and $50 billion. We were proud to protect the American taxpayers from a bottomless money pit.
How does your ABC membership help your company?
We’re a law firm. We don’t build things. Our membership in ABC helps our attorneys understand the business of construction and the issues and obstacles the industry faces. That information helps us better serve our clients.
What did you want to be when you grew up?
A fighter pilot.
Tell us something no one in the industry knows about you.
I speak German fluently and spent my junior year of high school as a Rotary International exchange student living with a German family, with which I am still close.
What do you look forward to each day?
Working with my team, which consists of amazing people and elite fighters, including our office administrator, receptionist, my fellow construction attorneys and support staff.
What are you like to work for?
Difficult. I'm a perfectionist and that is, from what I've heard, annoying.
What is your favorite Metro Washington hangout/restaurant?
The bar in the Hotel Lombardy. Old school.
Who would you trade places with for a day?
Bob Milkovich, CEO of rand* construction corporation. I'd like to see what it’s like to be the CEO of a construction company for a day.
What is your favorite movie or tv show?
Band of Brothers; basically any war movie, miniseries or TV show ever made.
What do you do for fun?
Work with my older son on rebuilding a 1977 MGB convertible.
What business/career advice do you wish you'd had when you began?
Keep your eye focused on the end goal. Employers, including law firms, like to erect false goal posts that don't help you in becoming the highest-level attorney and a self-sufficient revenue producer.
What book are you currently reading?
Alte Sorten by Ewald Arenz — it's a German novel.
What was your first job?
Landscaping for a neighbor — a retired and grumpy Army Colonel — for $3.35 an hour. After that, I worked a phone bank for Ronald Reagan for $5 an hour.