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Steven Ogier

DNA VP OF CONSTRUCTION

Steven OgierSteve joined ContraVest in 2000 and currently serves as the President of the general contracting company, ContraVest Builders. As a licensed General Contractor in multiple states, Steve has been personally involved in the development and construction of over 7,000 apartment units. He passed the National Association of State Contractors Licensing Agencies (NASCLA) Accredited Examination for Commercial General Contracting Contractors which facilitates licensing and building in multiple jurisdictions.

As a principal in all three Contravest operating companies, Steve plays an active role in the apartment development company and site acquisition.

Before working with ContraVest, Steve spent five years as a sales professional in the medical and financial services industries. After graduating from The Citadel in 1990, receiving a B.S. degree in Business Administration, Steve served five years in the United States Army as an Airborne Ranger qualified Armored Cavalry Officer stateside and in Germany. In 1995 Ogier was honorably discharged as a Captain. He held a Real Estate Broker license in Colorado, is a Certified Commercial Investment Member (CCIM) since 2006.
 

Steven Ogier
President
Contravest

Contravest logoHave you always aspired to becoming a VP (or above) of a construction company?

Not at all, it was a unique opportunity to join a family company and I took on the challenge.

Was construction always your career path?

Construction was never my initial career path. I was in the military, then medical and financial sales and finally transitioned into a field operations role as an Assistant Superintendent. I had broad transferable skills such as people and project management, so it was a great opportunity, and a big challenge.

What is the biggest obstacle you’ve faced along your career path and how did you overcome it?

Experience matters in this industry so early on when I transitioned to this career there were definite challenges around managing and mitigating issues. I wasn’t familiar enough with the details, the common problems and solutions to be able to find quick answers.

Overcoming it was partly about immersion in the industry. I learned as much as I could as quickly as possible. I asked questions, observed others in the industry, and did research. But I was also able to apply broader experience from my career, and often found new solutions. The benefit of coming from outside the industry is bringing those new ideas and approaches rather than relying on always doing things the same way.

What technical skills do you think are integral to your role?

You need to get on-site field experience to increase your knowledge of your product and industry. It will improve every job you do.

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


Leadership and never stop pushing yourself to improve. Spend time in the field and look for opportunities to develop leadership skills. Attend seminars, development courses, find a mentor. Learn to lead a team, even if it is in the field or at a low level.

Identify the brand you want to have and work to develop that through building a network, delivering results and bringing new ideas to the table. Your brand is your reputation, your professional experience, and your vision. That’s what will get you noticed when there are opportunities for advancement.

What’s your favorite part of your job?

The leadership component. I especially enjoy working with a team of skilled, driven people, and developing that next generation of talent. When you have a great team you are able to deliver results. This enables us to get the next job and the team is rewarded.

In your opinion, how important is networking?

Incredibly important – you need to be able to connect the dots, both internally and externally, as a professional and as a leader. Those relationships are key. The people you know give you avenues to go to for advice, support or to find business opportunities. It’s been fundamental to my success and for Contravest’s.

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

It’s extremely important now. You need to have a quality profile, especially on LinkedIn. I have hired four people from LinkedIn. It breaks down barriers so you can connect with people who might be a great hire or a great boss, but for whatever reason you never would have met at events or in person otherwise. Social media can give you a level playing field, especially if you don’t have an existing network because you’re new to the industry or region.

Compared to 5 or 10 years ago, in your opinion how would you say your role has evolved?

You need to be more tech savvy. The technology is changing quickly and while you don’t necessarily need to use all of it, you need to know what is available and what is valuable. If you don’t keep up then you will get left behind. Technology can offer a lot of opportunities for efficiency and accuracy so the companies and individuals who embrace it will be working more effectively. You can get a lot more done with the cell phone in your pocket today than you could with all the technology available 10 years ago.

Is there anything that the next generation should know?

Regardless of your background or education, be ready for the opportunity when the doors open. Prepare now for your next role. Develop yourself as a leader, be a problem solver, build a network and have great relationships, find a mentor who will help you with your weaker areas. Improving your strengths will only get you so far if you ignore your weaknesses, but if you can fix or improve some of those weaker points then you will be amazed how far you can go.

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

Study leadership and set goals that you reflect on and revisit often. Having a goal will guide your development and motivate you to work hard and push yourself. But you need to be able to adjust those goals to align with how your life or priorities change.