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Paul Reehling

DNA of a VP of Construction

Paul Reehling Headshot Paul hails from Lancaster Pennsylvania and studied engineering and communications at Pennsylvania State University, graduating in 2006. Paul started his career at OTL as a laborer in 2004, working in the field during summer breaks. Since then he has worked in almost every role in the company including accounting, estimating, operations, and project management. Paul was made a partner in the company in 2013 and took on his current role overseeing the management teams for all OTL projects as well as company operations, ensuring the company is properly staffed, running efficiently, and that the project pipeline is always full. Paul thrives on the problem solving, communication, organization, and creativity the job requires and looks forward to a bright future shaping the New York City landscape.

Paul Reehling
Principal
OTL

OTL logoWas construction always your career path? 

No, I originally had aspirations of becoming an Architect. However, I was strong in Mathematics and became heavily involved in art so, after winning a scholarship, I almost ended up studying Ceramic Engineering at Alfred University. I worried that Ceramic Engineering would be too restrictive in the long run so I instead opted to major in Engineering at Penn State. I then changed to General Studies and then to Advertising so I didn’t take the usual academic route.  

My first real introduction was doing some construction work for my uncle before he offered me an administrative job at his company. I excelled in the paperwork aspect of the role and was quickly thrown into compiling a $500,000 insurance claim on one of our projects. The success of this claim put me in high regard with the people at the company so I was soon catapulted from running a punchlist to running my own projects to running the estimating department. During the first 5 years I still didn’t feel like I know what I was doing but just kept taking on more responsibility. 

As I started taking on more responsibility the path to leadership happened naturally. 

Have you ever second guessed your career path? 

I second guessed the lifestyle, the workload and the stress but anything you want that is worth it, you have to work for. I never second guessed that we would be successful. 

What is the biggest obstacle you’ve faced along your career path? 

The more responsibility you are given and the higher up you go, the bigger the attraction to assume you know what you are talking about. It is important to know when you are wrong and to be able to say that you don’t know the answer to something. However, the more people look to you for the answer, the more difficult this can be. 

Have humility, swallow your pride and seek out counsel & advice from those around you who are more experienced in certain areas. 

What technical skills do you think are integral to role? 

Strong communication skills coupled with a foundation in engineering and mathematics are integral to the role. 

What is your advice to someone who is moving up the ranks in the field and wants to pursue a management/executive career? 

Put your head down and make yourself a specialist in what you do, whether that be estimating, project management etc. Then supplement that by pushing the envelope in the areas you are lacking.  

What’s your favorite part of your job? 

I love that this job changes every day and that I get to deal with people. I get to work with some of the most creative, technical and smart people out there and everyone in between. In any one day I will deal with architects, engineers, lawyers, politicians, recruiters, laborers. I think the only people I don’t deal with are doctors! 

What is the one thing you have to have to be a VP of a construction company in your opinion? 

The ability to communicate effectively with all walks of life. In construction, you need to be able to get people on your side and convince them that what you are asking is in their best interests. Without this trust you are fighting an uphill battle to get a project finished successfully. 

In your opinion, how important is networking? 

At a young age I think it is important to network if you want to move around in your career. However, I think that networking becomes very important the higher up you move. If you can’t network, I don’t think you can get to the higher level.  

Networking is critical in my role, managing estimating and generating new business.  

What social media channels are you on? 

LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat 

In your opinion, how important is social media for networking/helping one achieve their career goals? 

Social media has helped me quite a bit and I think it will become more important. Face to face is still the best way to build a relationship, but social media lets you connect with people you might otherwise never meet, and then you can build a real-world relationship from there. 

What advice would you give to the next generation of professionals aspiring to become a construction leader? 

Pick up the phone! I find that a lot of new people don’t know how to get business done on the phone.