A privately held real estate investment group that owns and operates a series of Class A+ high-rise office buildings throughout the United States requested TRANSEARCH to work on a new mandate. Headquartered in Chicago with properties in Dallas, Houston, Philadelphia, and San Francisco, the firm takes a long-term approach to managing its $6M+ square feet of assets. The ownership group and the Managing Director are highly focused on ensuring their properties are considered “best in class” for their tenants.
In February 2018, the firm was seeking to bring in an experienced, capable, well-rounded Vice President of Project Management & Engineering to oversee all projects across its portfolio. The Vice President would be responsible for all tenant improvement projects, tenant amenities, capital projects, lobby renovations, plaza renovations, engineering projects (including upcoming chillers & boiler replacements), and spec suite buildouts. While this person would not be expected to be “boots on the ground” for every project, they would be expected to source and select contractors, architect, designers, engineers, and related staff to accomplish the project. The Vice President would oversee the overall schedule, budget, and quality of the work while pushing down day-to-day responsibility to the local teams. Working closely with the high expectations of the ownership group and communicating effectively between stakeholders would be critical to success. Ideally, this person would have a mix of project management, design, construction, and engineering experience to understand the various moving parts of the process. Still, Metropolis and the TRANSEARCH team agreed that culture fit would be paramount to success if this person were to stick and thrive in the organization.
The firm retained Chris Swan to execute this important search. Chris is the Global Practice Leader for Construction, Engineering, Architecture, and Real Estate for TRANSEARCH International. He was selected due to his deep experience in the industry, his international exposure and local proximity to the Headquarters, and his established relationship with the firm.
As in all searches, identifying a candidate with both the right blend of hard and soft skills proved to be a challenge. Overall, TRANSEARCH contacted over 300 candidates from leading firms in the Chicagoland area, as well as numerous firms in major cities throughout the United States. The team developed numerous high-quality candidates that ultimately missed on one or two key critical elements each time. Chris used a consultative approach to truly understand what elements of the role and candidate background were “must have,” and which elements were “nice to have.”  After about 6 months of search, TRANSEARCH identified a candidate they believed could be the winner. This candidate was successful and happily employed at a large real estate management firm, but also eager to explore opportunities to challenge himself and advance his career. As with many top candidates, confidentiality was considered a priority for him – he was open to exploring, but only on the condition that it would not jeopardize his current employment. TRANSEARCH carefully navigated an interview process that allowed us to dig into his career history, career aspirations, leadership style, and cultural fit and still maintain discretion. Metropolis agreed with the TRANSEARCH assessment of this person’s background, and working with Chris Swan, quickly made a compelling and exciting offer. The candidate accepted and is excited to take over his new role with the firm this fall.