How did you choose yourself? (What do you do?)
It was very simple for me. I chose to enter the Architectural/Engineering profession because of my father. During my summers as a teen, I began to look forward to periodically visiting him at the office, during the summer time, helping out in anyway I could. I would help out drafting small details, and help developing blueprints. Both during the times of no CADD and only hand drafting skills, to the ammonia machines for blueprints. But for me, it was a big joy knowing that I could be even a small help to him and his practice. And over the years to follow, that was the driving force to go to college and become a Civil Engineer and practice the designing of buildings together with my father and brothers. Of course since the passing of my father (just over 20 years ago), we continue the business tradition, and still successfully practice Architecture to this day.
Why do you do this, and what drives you?
My father was definitely my mentor. Watching him design building projects and dealing with his clients gave me a great deal of inspiration to follow his footsteps in the business. With that being said, the driving force within me is the satisfaction of having the gratification of driving along a local highway and looking at a structure and being able to say humbly to myself (WOW!!! …We created that building).
Do you have any inspirational quotes you like to follow?
Yes…There are two phrases I always try to live by in life which are very unoriginal of me, but I am a firm believer. “There is a price to pay for everything in life” – both good and bad. And that phrase keeps me humble in my business and personal life. And the other is simple. “Actions speak louder than words”. I live by this and implement it on a daily basis in my business and in my personal life. Sometimes people tend to talk and talk and talk. And, in the end, they never get anything accomplished. Whereas I do my best, on a daily basis, to always keep the phrase from “NIKE” in my mind all the time when I have certain thoughts of doing something.
What is your favorite part about working for yourself?
My favorite part about working for myself is the constant ability to perpetually make many choices throughout the day that directly affect our own business. Especially when you need to make decisions that are very challenging and you sometimes do not know what to do, but must make a move. I actually thrive on those daily pressures.
If you couldn’t do this, what do you see yourself doing?
I would have most definitely aspired to go to school for acting and try to pursue a career in it. To this day, friends and family always say that I missed my calling. Ever since I was a youngster, I made students laugh throughout the day at school. And I still do so with friends and family to this day.
Was there a turning point in your life that led you to go out on your own & work for yourself?
Actually there was never a turning point. It was simply a given, in my heart and mind, knowing I could follow my father’s footsteps.
Do you have any advice for others who might want to work for themselves? Something to encourage them, or something for them to be cautious about…
The advice I would give is to, first and foremost, be absolutely certain that what you are about to do is something you love. After that, the rest will come to you because the love and passion is already within you. And that typically means you will do whatever it takes to make it a success. On the downside, there will be times of trouble – typically, under downward economic climates. Those are the times, from experience, that humble you to make the right choices to stay afloat and do whatever it take to return to prosperous times.
What has it allowed you to do that you wouldn’t otherwise be able to do? If you could choose again, would you?
This has allowed me to, first and foremost, express creativity. There is no doubt it my mind that I would most definitely do this all over again. It has given me great gratification in my career.
Who were some of your biggest inspirations in life… people you looked up to?
Again, I would have to most definitely say my father. He was a man who had a high regard for the ethics of hard work. He also had a great ability to communicate with clients, to the point where they trusted his judgement. It made me aspire to try and develop the same quality. People will trust you when you show them that you have true passion and that you care for what you do.
What are some things outside of your work that keep you going?
My biggest passion, outside of my work, is most developing bodybuilding. It has always been in my heart since my teenage years. I had a gratifying amateur competitive career placing high in many competitions. My biggest highlight was winning the overall Mr. South Jersey competition back in 1998. I still head to the gym almost daily. It still gives me that amazing high while working out. And it provides me with the balance I need outside of my work.
What are some of the biggest challenges you’ve faced?
There is no doubt that the biggest challenge in my career was the economic fall of 2008. We took a big fall that year where are practice was the slowest that I can ever recall. But we maintained afloat and sacrificed where we had to in order to survive. In one way, it was a bittersweet experience. I say this because it’s something that I will never forget. And because of that experience, it keeps you grounded, even when things are prosperous.