John Voulieris is the Director of Project Management at Cushman & Wakefield, one of the biggest corporate real estate firms in the world. He and his team have managed construction in Montreal for international firms such as Morgan Stanley, Expedia, General Electric, Wells Fargo, and Warner Bros, and he is also responsible for business development, finding new clients and winning them over in a pitch...
Elevator Pitch: Describe your job in a nutshell.
Basically I manage corporate construction and renovations. I handle the budget, schedule and quality control for any new project. I help put together the design team (architects, engineers), supervise the design process to ensure my client needs are met on paper, and then hire and supervise the general contractor to make sure the design becomes a reality on-site.
Why did you start working at your company? What was the inspiration for this career route?
I was part of a smaller project management firm that was bought out by Cushman & Wakefield about seven years ago so that they in turn could offer project management to their clients in Canada (they already offered it as a service in the US).
I have always worked in construction. I started working on-site with a general contractor after I graduated University and, slowly over the years, moved up into a management position. I love real estate and construction and I cannot see myself doing anything else! It is amazing to be able to see a real finished product (new building, new offices, etc) as a result of your hard work.
What is the best part of what you do on a day-to-day basis? The most challenging part?
I love the sales part of my job. Networking and meeting new potential clients is great. I have built some great relationships with clients who have now become my personal friends.
One of the biggest challenges I see now is dealing with larger and larger corporate clients who have huge internal structures. Gone are the days of one decision maker; now you have to manage dozens of people who do not always agree on what they want.
Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
I want to bring in more and more international firms and have them set up shop in Montreal. I want to help develop the city so it can reach its fullest potential.
What does success look like to you?
Being happy when you wake up in the morning.
What is the most memorable milestone in your career?
Working with Warner Bros. to open their Montreal gaming studio – working with such a cool multimedia firm on a huge high profile project was a dream come true. I have been lucky to work with a lot of great firms in the last few years, but WB with all their movies and TV shows was a big part of my childhood growing up, so it was a real thrill to win that contract and see it through.
Do you have any advice for other young professionals?
Find something you like. Work hard and success will follow.
Do you support any charities? If so, which one(s) and why is that important to you?
For the last two years I have been a member of the fundraising committee (the young ambassadors) for the Montreal Symphony Orchestra. It’s nice to fundraise in the field of the arts as it is a change from the usual business-related pursuits. It helps work the other side of my brain!
What to you is notable?
For me a notable person is someone who makes a memorable and positive impact on those around them. Not just at work, but someone who also applies that philosophy to friends and family as well.
Blackberry, iPhone, Android, or Other?
iPhone, IPad and iMac – Apple won me over as a customer!