Illustration by Jonny Ruzzo
Adam Mopsick has worked for one company the majority of his career – the one he started.
Mopsick entered the construction industry right out of college and started his company, Amicon, with a co-partner shortly afterward. After all these years, Mopsick still sounds as enthusiastic as he did when he first started the Miami-based owner representation and construction firm.
What keeps him enthusiastic? He said it’s the daily energy, wealth of opportunities and the challenge of continuing to expand his company’s growth.
The Built Blog interviewed Mopsick to find out more about his background and perspective on the industry. Edited excerpts follow.
Built Blog: How did you get into construction?
Mopsick: After graduating from the University of Florida with a degree in finance,
I worked as a superintendent for a luxury residential building. I thought I might go to law school, but I fell in love with the real estate and construction industry and stayed. At 24, I started my company with my partner, Ross Adickman.
There are lots of ways to carve out a path for yourself in this industry. Almost every type of business needs construction at some point, and we are able to provide an important service to each type of client.
Built Blog: What areas does the company specialise in?
Mopsick: We specialise in expert client advocacy and high-end owner representation; for example, helping a hotel owner navigate buying a second property, such as finding the design and construction teams, negotiating the contract, getting permits and so forth. We also have a real estate consultancy and a construction division that offers general contracting services.
We work with local and international developers, nonprofits including schools, religious organisations and cultural centres and associations that need professional project management. We also deal with luxury residential and commercial interiors, restaurants and hospitality groups.
We view things from a client’s perspective and focus on their ultimate goals, often recognising that a project team is focused in the wrong direction. We identify issues where project teams spend time and resources that don’t align with the client’s ultimate goal.
Built Blog: How has the industry changed in the last ten years?
Mopsick: It’s always been slow to evolve and change compared to other industries, but over the past ten years construction companies have been embracing technology, which allows for greater efficiency in project management. It’s a big change that has helped us tremendously and allowed us to scale and easily track information.
There’s also been a big move into consulting. We started our consulting business ten or 15 years ago as a spinoff from our general contracting business, and the demand has grown exponentially every year. We almost underestimated how strong the demand is. The industry can be too fragmented, and projects often lack a central point of leadership.
Built Blog: What are your challenges?
Mopsick: There’s always something that’s going to cause an impact, whether it’s a hurricane or something else. Construction has not slowed down here because of COVID-19. The luxury residential sector in South Florida has actually benefited because a lot of people have gravitated here from the northeast. The challenge as we’re growing is finding highly professional, well-rounded talent to help do the work and perform at a high level. It’s not easy to find professionals that live up to our standards.
Built Blog: What do you like best about the job?
Mopsick: It’s dynamic and exciting and changes every day. One phone call can change our trajectory for the entire year. Two days ago, a client called and said he wanted to start a new line of business and he needed to build an agricultural centre. We immediately started scouting locations for him.
Built Blog: What’s one of your company’s greatest successes?
Mopsick: Being able to start new business lines and grow with professionalism and consistency. For an owner representation and consulting firm, this type of growth is somewhat rare in this industry. We’ve been able to develop our internal systems and recruit and train young people and have them become ingrained in our culture, which has contributed to our growth. We’ve also empowered them to become future leaders in the industry.
Built Blog: What’s a mistake you made starting out in your career?
Mopsick: I made a US$30,000 error bidding on a project to build two houses for a developer. As the lowest bidder, we got the job and lost money on that line item. However, if I hadn’t made the mistake, we may not have been awarded the project, and it led to us building a dozen more houses for him and other developers, so the mistake more than paid for itself. It was also a lesson in being more careful in our estimating process.
Built Blog: What’s something you wish you’d known going into the industry?
Mopsick: Growth is not a straight line; be patient. Growth comes in spurts and you need to take it as it comes.
Built Blog: What’s the best advice you ever got about this industry?
Mopsick: Always treat people with respect and the rest will take care of itself. Don’t take anyone for granted or burn any bridges.