Tag Archives: Executive Q-and-A

Bill-Mason

The Pipeline to Presidency: Words From Bill Mason

Bill Mason worked as a mechanic and rigger at a Phoenix-area boat shop through high school and while attending Mesa and Maricopa community colleges, where he completed an AA degree in refrigeration and air conditioning. Afterwards, he worked for a small sheet metal shop for a year.

In 1978, he was hired by IMCOR, then known as Karber Air Conditioning. He worked as a mechanic and delivery/yard guy for a short period and entered into a four-year apprentice program.

During this time, he drove a service truck and performed everything from air-conditioning service calls to sheet metal work, piping, welding, shop sheet metal fabrication, start-up and warranty work. As time went on, he became the piping superintendent with three employees to manage. When the division grew to more than 140 pipe fitters and plumbers in the late 1980’s, Mason took on a management role for multi-million dollar projects.

He was then promoted to vice president of facilities services and for approximately eight years was involved directly with customers on multiple project types. Mason was named president of IMCOR in 2003, with 25 years of experience.

How long have you worked at IMCOR? What IS your proudest achievement since joining IMCOR?
Thirty-six years. I am proud of several achievements, such as managing the first high-rise building (Phoenix City Hall building) for IMCOR as the project manager and in general working my way up from a service technician to the president.

How did the company navigate the recent recession?
IMCOR broadened its customer base by increasing its service group, adding plumbing-specific service, opening a manufacturing group, and IMCOR actually had some construction projects that were perhaps better than expected during
the downturn.

What is one of the most memorable IMCOR projects for you?
The Phoenix Convention Center, phases 1 and 2, that we completed with Hunt-Russell-Alvarado, a tri-venture, was a very large project stretching over five years (2004 to 2009) that required the installation of several hundred feet of 36-inch condenser water piping that was suspended approximately 100 feet above the floor that connected the Northwind (now NRG ) cooling towers to the Northwind ice storage plant located below 3rd Street adjacent to the convention center’s lower level.

IMCOR is celebrating its 40th anniversary. How has the company evolved in the last decade?
Over the last 10 years, IMCOR has grown to nearly a complete city block, increased its BIM department to eight stations, added a computerized automated pipe cutting machine, several automated welding positioners, a 50-feet-by-120-feet metal manufacturing building with a three-ton and six-ton overhead fully mobile cranes, a coil feeder system for the sheet metal plasma cutting table, and has become a high purity piping contractor. IMCOR has also updated its project management and accounting computer programs.

What’s in store For IMCOR in the near future?
Looking forward, IMCOR is faced with the same tough competition as others and plans to maintain a tight overhead and continue to think outside the box to remain competitive in a tough marketplace.

Megan Creecy

Executive Q-and-A: Megan Creecy-Herman

Megan Creecy-Herman
Senior Director, Leasing & Development, Liberty Property Trust

Years in CRE: 11
Years at company: 1.5

What was it about the industry that attracted you?
The excitement of building a career in an industry where I knew that no two days would be the same. Our industry is dynamic and constantly evolving with the broader economy as companies’ logistics and office needs change and become more sophisticated. It is really the dynamic nature of our industry that first attracted me to commercial real estate, and it has been the excitement of watching our industry evolve that has kept me in the industry for more than 10 years.

How has the industry changed since you started?
I entered the industry in 2003 and to say that things have changed since then would be an understatement. Our industry has evolved in many ways, not only due to the economic downturn we experienced from 2008 to 2011, but also due to changes in the way companies do business. Since the beginning of the last recession in late 2008 we have seen many themes including a flight to quality, tighter lending standards and a sharp decrease in the velocity of new development. With regards to how business has evolved, we continue to see the impact of e-commerce on our industry and how it continues to shrink the footprint of retail big box space. In addition, the needs of e-commerce users are driving the evolution of big box warehouses with a focus on energy efficiency, higher clear heights and more strategically located distribution centers in order to deliver product to the consumer faster. In the office sector, there has been a growing trend toward more open floor plates and increased energy efficiency. These needs are translating into increased productivity, lower build-out cost and higher parking ratios.

Of what professional achievement are you most proud?
I would have to say my Master of Business Administration (MBA), which I received from the University of Arizona. I pursued my MBA through a 20-month accelerated program while working full-time and serving in leadership roles in NAIOP Arizona, NAIOP National and the Junior League of Phoenix. The experience was invaluable.

Valladao,Greg-cut

Executive Q-and-A: Gregory Valladao

Gregory Valladao
Senior Managing Direct/Market Leader, Cushman & Wakefield Arizona

Years in CRE: 17
Years at company: 3.5

What was it about the industry that attracted you?  
I heard how great “closing dinners” were, and I was hooked. Seriously, in the mid-1990s I was grinding out billable hours as a litigation attorney when I had a relative suggest I look into commercial real estate. Knowing that Phoenix was going to continue to grow, I was intrigued by the idea. After quickly realizing how entrepreneurial the business was, I was convinced it was the place for me. Within a matter of days I left my well-compensated law firm job to take a runnership at Grubb & Ellis that paid $16,000 a year. It was one of the most frightening, but best decisions I ever made.

How has the industry changed since you started?
The industry has become more data driven than it was originally. Real estate decisions today are often made based upon pure “metrics” rather than the gut instinct that many developers tended to rely upon. This has been driven by the large amount of available data on the internet as well as the lending institution demands. While personal relationships still play a large role in the industry, these changes have forced everyone to become a little smarter, which is great for the industry.

Of what professional achievement are you most proud?
Having had the opportunity to participate in brokerage, development and management over a 17-year career, and the long-standing relationships I have developed are my proudest achievements. From my perspective, I am very fortunate to be in a strong, collegial market where I can still consider some of my fiercest competitors good friends. There are very few places that can be found, especially in the hyper-competitive real estate industry.

John Fortini, WEB

Executive Q-and-A: John Fortini

John Fortini
Managing Member, Silver Fern Companies/Silver Fern Capital

Years in CRE: 17
Years at company: 15

What was it about the industry that attracted you?
When I was a kid, I loved Tonka trucks and building things. As I grew older, I was intrigued by how things come together. So, I started with houses, then subdivisions, and now I get to put entire projects together. There is something very satisfying about seeing the tangible proof of our efforts.

How has the industry changed since you started?
In one word, regulation. There is now a tremendous amount of documentation, regulation and up-front work that needs to be completed before you turn any dirt.

Of what professional achievement are you most proud?
In 2012 I was diagnosed with an aggressive form of cancer. The past 22 months have been about setting priorities and taking care of what’s important. While I am still fighting, I feel like I have achieved a new appreciation for life that has translated into how I manage business.

Dan Puente, WEB

Executive Q-and-A: Dan Puente

Dan Puente
Owner/President, D.P. Electric, Inc.

Years in CRE: 33
Years at company: 23

What was it about the industry that attracted you?
I was very young when I first started in this industry. I learned quickly that this industry offers opportunity; you get out of it what you put into it. You can rise through the ranks working for someone or you can carve your own path and work for yourself. This industry is also filled with good, hardworking people who are always willing to help others succeed.

How has the industry changed since you started?
There are three things that come to mind: technology, improving efficiencies and contracts. When I started, my method of communication was a pager, a roll of quarters, pay phones and a fax machine with that rolled paper that turned black in sunlight. Today, our field managers use iPads as a common tool in the field. Technology has also helped with improving efficiencies. With everything at your fingertips, it has helped pave the way for lean construction and IPD delivery methods. The only negative in my opinion is the advancement of contractual legalities. When I first started, contracts were a couple of pages long and now they are two inches thick. Contracts today deflect all the responsibilities onto the subcontractors. Fortunately, there are a lot of good people in this industry, and we rarely have to refer to the contracts when issues arise; we just talk them out and the responsible partner steps up.

Of what professional achievement are you most proud?
I would have to say the growth of the people in DPE. I often say that personal and professional growth are interrelated. This is very true for us. With the dynamic people at DPE, the company has grown to be known as one of the premier electrical contractors in the commercial industry. One other thing that comes to mind is how the DP team handled the adversity of the recession. We all made sacrifices, changed and adapted to the new normal and stayed positive doing it. As the owner, I am very fortunate and blessed to be surrounded by so many awesome people. I have no doubt that someday when the DP at DP Electric retires, this company will live way beyond me. I am proud of that accomplishment.