As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
I had an affinity for design from a very early age. My cousin studied architecture as an undergraduate student, and during holidays, he would bring home the study models and architectural projects that he built over the course of the semester. Fascinated by their design and inquisitive by nature, I would usually deconstruct his finished models and attempt to put them back together again. That, coupled with my appreciation for math and sciences, led me to a keen interest in architecture.
One thing that comes to mind is my first entrepreneurial endeavor. As a sophomore who looked to fill a void, I started my own campus business called Trendsetters Entertainment, providing diverse media outlets for the Cornell Community, mainly as a campus DJ. As a result of my company’s success, by senior year, I was able to establish a scholarship fund that offered freshmen students an opportunity to receive a $500 book award. Not only were my efforts recognized at the university-level, but I took pride in being able to help my fellow students with their educational expenses.
Another highlight of my undergraduate career was the opportunity I had to study abroad in Rome, Italy for a semester during my architectural program. I was able to study the vast examples of architecture in Rome and travel to many other cultural centers, including Naples, Sicily, Milan, Tuscany, Florence, and Venice, as well as other parts of Europe. It was during that time that I developed a true affinity for traveling and fine dining.
When you went to Harvard, you pursued a Masters in real estate. What made you do that?
During my time at Cornell, I was fortunate enough to secure summer internships at different architectural firms, which provided insight into the day-to-day responsibilities of someone in that field. I remember one summer (at a leading NYC firm that I won’t mention), I was specifically assigned to stair details. At the time, I couldn’t believe adults did this work 40-60 hours per week. While that internship gave me a greater appreciation for the intricacies of design, it also made me realize that pursuing a career in that field was not for me.
While there were still aspects of architecture that I loved, I felt that my personality of being outgoing and more deal- and people-oriented would be better suited to the real estate & development realm. I wanted to shift my mindset from a design perspective to a more practical business perspective. With that new realization in mind, I was eager to get into the workforce and make my mark on society, so I stayed for both the summer and winter sessions and completed the Master’s program within a year. That, and a Yankee fan doesn’t do well in Red Sox land.
What are you doing currently?
I currently work at Turner and Townsend as an Associate Director in the Project Management Division. T&T is a market leading global consultancy firm offering integrated professional services within the real estate & construction industries. Scopes of work include full-service Project, Cost and Program Management for the build-out of commercial interiors (office & retail), ground-up core & shell developments, asset repositionings, tenant improvement and headquarter relocation projects. Previous & existing clients include: Bloomberg LP (120 Park & 919 3rd Ave), Microsoft Corp. (Chelsea/Flatiron), Hilton Worldwide, Inc. (Waldorf = Astoria, NY), citizenM (Bowery Hotel & Times Square Hotel), China Center New York (1 World Trade Center), Mason Tenders Training Fund (LIC), Castleton Commodities International (Houston, TX), Adidas (stockBot Automation) and Time Warner Inc. (30 Hudson Yards). 75% of what I do includes corporate office interiors and tenant fit-outs. The other 25% is ground-up development and out-of-the-ground construction projects, which include hotels, retail, offices, and schools.
Why did you start PRI-O-LEAU Development Group?
Honestly, I started PDG after the mass exodus layoff at AIG. I knew I had too much talent to simply collect unemployment. I wanted to remain current within the industry and hone my entrepreneurial skills, so I founded PRI-O-LEAU Development Group (PDG) out of a need to provide complete real estate life-cycle services from a single source. Over the course of two years, PDG has advised investors, owners, developers, local municipalities and non-profit entities on real estate projects from concept through completion.
Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
Professionally, I want to continue to build my brand by helping others with their real estate needs. I see myself adding to the New York City skyline and developing real estate nationwide and abroad. Ultimately, I see my own business flourishing, where I can provide opportunities for employment to other real estate development professionals who share my same passion.
What do you do in your downtime?
Honestly, my fiancé would say my work/life balance is pretty poor. However, I’ve always subscribed to the philosophy that “if you do what you love, you’ll never work a day in your life.” With that said, I use my downtime to feed my other interests which include traveling, shopping, cooking and acting as assistant coach for my son’s little league team.
What do you want people to know about you?
Most of my contact info hasn’t changed, so feel free to give me a call. Let’s do lunch. Let’s do drinks. I’m open to new opportunities.
244 Fifth Avenue, Suite 2607
New York, NY 10001
Office: (212) 561-6707