Monday, March 12, 2012

Informational Interview

I interviewed a professor in my field of Construction Management. I wanted to link together his understanding of real estate with my field of profession.  Professor Lloyd Crask is a professional Civil and Geotechnical Engineer in the state of California, Utah, and Arizona.  He began in the Construction industry through his family. 

Q:  How did you get started in this field? What was your educational background? What are your major responsibilities?

A: “Within the construction industry I got started through my family. I would work with my father on the weekends, and encouraged through my family. I received my Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering at Cal Poly Pomona. I continued in the work industry and found out the only way to move up in the industry was by obtaining a Master Degree.  At Cal-State Long Beach I received my masters in Civil Engineering in Geotechnical Specialty. I also received my MBA in Management. Some of my major responsibilities in the industry were that I managed civil engineering, worked in job development, I was part of the design team, and quality control.”

Q: What is the most rewarding aspect of your job, least rewarding? What might you change? Would you choose this career again?

A:  “What I found the most rewarding in the field was the completion of a project. The least rewarding was working with people because everyone has a different mindset. Something that I would like to change in the industry is having people prepared.  I would definitely choose this career all over again, although I would like to be on the side that generates the work.”

Q:  What is a “typical” day like for you?                              

A:  “A typical day for me would checking on the projects and making sure that everything is proceeding correctly, while searching for new projects that are obtainable. The day of work would start around 7am to 6pm."

Q:  What obligations does your work put on you outside of the actual job? What are some lifestyle considerations for this career?
A:  “While being part of this busy industry we need to maintain a balance of life which includes work, family, ourselves, and spiritual beliefs.  Some lifestyle considerations in this career are not to isolate ourselves because in the industry you will be dealing with people.”

Q:  What are some common entry-level positions in the field? What kind of salary range and benefits are typically of an entry-level position in this field?

A:  “Some starting positions in this field would be under quality control, in laboratories, as an inspector, field engineer, and dealing with estimates. There is a wide range of opportunities for entry level positions. The entry level pay ranges from $45,000-$6500."

Q: What kind of individual skills and personality is best suited for these entry-level positions?

A:  “Listening is the most important skill in this field and not assuming things, but rather asking questions. Other recommendations would be taking some classes in management, human resources to get a broader understanding of the players that create the industry.”

Q:  How high is turnover? How does one move from position to position or other areas of the organization?

A:  “Turnovers occur based on the performance of employee and the growth is incredible in the field. The career path from entry to top management begins in the office to understand the basic of the operation internally and then move to the field from a foreman, to supervisor, to regional superintendent, and then to upper management. Professional networking is important to obtain information about possible job openings in the field.” 

Q: How is Construction Management (CM) being affected by Real Estate?

A:  “The construction market today is slow but once it begins to rebuild itself the market will be one of the most profitable once again.  Construction in the residential sector is slow which is why real estate is very slow in today’s economy.  In the real estate segment dealing with heavy industrial there is tenant improvements and remodels which are starting to pick up.”

Q:  How did you deal with Real Estate in the industry?

A:  “I have friends that I talk with and see what the trend is. In CM you need to address someone in residential, commercial, and industrial”

Q: What trend of construction will we be observing in the future?

A:  "You will see a larger trend on infields, more now because they will go more vertical. Instead of single story you will see more two and three story with businesses in the first floor and residential in the upper floors."

Q:  Would you recommend going into Construction and Real Estate?

A:  “Definitely, this isn’t going to continue as a downward trend. The stock market is picking up; money is starting to break loose. It is not as tight as it has been in the last few years. A lot more projects are being invested in for the future.”

 In conclusion, it was very interesting learning from an actual professional who has been part of the industry and has completed various projects.  After performing this interview I have a greater appreciation for my career.  As Crask mentions listening is a great skill in this industry and will help you move forward in the industry. 

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