In November, we spotlighted several veterans in construction in our Behind the Build blog series in lead up to Veterans Day. Nevertheless, veterans are a vital segment of the building workforce and we think it’s important to continue to share their stories throughout the year.
In this week’s Behind the Build, we speak with Balint Simsik, Project Manager for Related Companies. Below, he shares more about his journey in real estate development as well as how serving as a captain in the United States Army helped him find success in the industry.
Why did you choose construction after transitioning to civilian life?
At Related Companies, I work in real estate development. We work hand in hand with the general contractor and subcontractors to ensure projects are completed on time and budget.
Real estate has always attracted me for two primary reasons. First, it’s a very relationship-based industry which means you constantly work with people; from lenders and capital partners to architects and engineers to contractors and craftsman. Secondly, the final deliverable, the building, is a product that is tangible and visible. It impacts people’s lives and changes the cityscape forever.
What do you like most about working in real estate?
Similar to why I was attracted to the industry–I love working with great people on something that will have a lasting impact for many generations. At Related Companies, the people in the firm are exceptional; smart, driven and entrepreneurial.
What do you think is the most challenging aspect of working in the industry?
Each development is unique and different enough that almost no part of the process is the same as any previous project. The site itself, the entitlements, the design of the building, the financing structure and the construction process and materials are all different–this variation means you are always learning, always thinking of how to do things differently and better, even if you are an industry veteran. It’s certainly one of the most challenging aspects of the industry but also what keeps the job interesting and exciting.
What transferable skills did you gain during your service?
The opportunity to lead and manage soldiers in the Army was a tremendous learning experience that most civilians of a similar age just don’t get. These people and project management skills are very valuable particularly when coupled with some technical expertise.
What advice would you give other veterans considering a career in real estate?
The real estate industry has lots of similarities to the military which makes the transition an obvious choice for many veterans. If you’re considering making this a career, spend some time with people in the industry and make sure it’s the right choice–you’ve worked hard in the military to gain the skillset you have, spend the time to make sure your next career is the right one.
What do you think the industry can do to hire more veterans on the jobsite?
General contractors and owners and developers should look to attract and hire more senior enlisted soldiers and junior military officers for project management roles within their organizations. With the right mentorship, these veterans will thrive and be a great asset to your company.