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June 2020 — August 2020


During my first internship, I worked with OTO Development – a high barrier to entry limited service hotel developer. I acted in an owner’s representative capacity, ensuring our general contractor kept on schedule and on budget, while delivering a quality product. The project was located in the Florida Keys, about an hour away from Key West in a small city called Marathon. The development consisted of renovating a Holiday Inn Express to a Fairfield Inn & Suites by Marriott, an addition of 27 water facing rooms, a seawall, and a marina building.
The decision to convert the brands was done on the basis that the property would be able to capture a clientele with high disposable income. This ultimately translates to a higher Average Daily Rate which results in a higher Revenue Per Available Room.
This experience allowed me to apply various concepts that I learned in the classroom, in the real world. For example, I participated in weekly owners/architect/contractor meetings. In addition to that, I sat in weekly meetings with the corporate real estate team to update them on the progress made, the updated budget, potential change orders, and the three week look ahead, among other variables. I utilized Procore construction management software to make observations, take pictures, and create punch lists to ultimately turn over rooms to operations. I also had the opportunity to pull my very first building permit on behalf of the general contractor.
Because the main project manager who I reported to would fly in every week, I was left to man the jobsite four days out of the week. I had to effectively communicate with all stakeholders to update them on what was happening on the site.
There were many challenges that were overcame to complete this project. In addition to the COVID-19 Pandemic, there was a major labor shortage in the Florida Keys. This was mitigated against by bringing in subtractors who specialize in ‘emergency’ situations, in which projects start falling behind schedule because of a manpower shortage.
I had many takeaways from this experience. I discovered how to navigate the owner’s representative/ general contractor relationship. I also learned how to adapt to the different personalities to ultimately achieve the final goal: to get the project built on time and on budget.

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