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Alumni Interview: Alyson Shave - Development

Interested in Real Estate Development? Alyson Shave discusses her role at Qualico and what inspired her to pursue a career in this industry.

Alyson Shave graduated from UBC Sauder in 2011 with a double specialization in Logistics and Real Estate. She currently works as a Project Manager at Qualico Developments Ltd.

Q: Can you describe your position as a Project Manager?

A: As a Project Manager, I am responsible for planning, procurement and execution of the projects Qualico is building in Surrey and surrounding areas. Some of my responsibilities include, monitoring the Site Super and general contractors, safety protocols, cash flow management and making sure the project is completed on budget and on time. In addition, I spend a lot of time communicating with municipal governments to get permits approved, because in the development business you cannot do anything unless the municipality is on side.

Q: How did you decide to pursue a career in Real Estate Development?

A: I actually started my education in the faculty of science at UBC. After completing my Bachelor of Science degree, I decided on completing my Bachelor of Commerce with a double major in Logistics and Real Estate. Having a family that is associated with the real estate industry, I decided to explore my career options within the field. I was hired (along with other recent Sauder graduates) at Wesgroup Properties as a Development Coordinator. In this position I learnt many aspects of the business that helped me gain a better understanding of what a development project entails. Gaining this experience helped me decide that I wanted to pursue a career in the real estate industry.

Q: Where do you see your career going in the next 5 to 10 years?

A: I really love working as a Project Manager at Qualico, I am exposed to many aspects of the development business and I am constantly learning. I see myself staying at Qualico for the foreseeable future as it is a very stable company that is adding great value to the real estate market. But deep down a part of me wants to explore my entrepreneurial abilities, my dream would be to start a development company in Vancouver because there is a lot of potential to be successful.

Q: Do you frequently leverage the Sauder Alumni network?

A: The Sauder network is very prominent in the Vancouver real estate industry. Firstly, having a degree from Sauder is extremely reputable, employers highly value students who have gone through the program. A fair amount of people that I studied with at Sauder are working in different streams of real estate which has resulted in substantial working relationships. There is a lot of mutual respect among Sauder graduates, which can make my job easier when I need to reach out to someone for a favour. I also constantly use LinkedIn to connect with other Sauder alumni, I highly encourage students to leverage LinkedIn to meet likeminded individuals.

Q: What advice would you give a student wanting to establish a career in the real estate industry?

A: Firstly, never say no! Say yes to every opportunity that is presented and frequently venture outside your comfort zone, that is the best way to learn and grow. Also, never settle, find something that makes you happy and run with it.

If you want to work in development, it is a good idea to gain experience with different departments that collaborate to make projects a reality. It is important to understand how to finance a project, but it is equally important to know how to market a project, how land is acquired, how to work with municipalities on receiving building permits and how to design and construct a building.

Q: Do you have a preference to work in a private or public company?

A: My two positions to date in the real estate industry have been at private companies, so I cannot directly speak on how I would enjoy working at a public company. So far I have enjoyed working at a private company because there is less ‘red tape’ and strict policies to follow. Generally, private companies are more nimble and can act faster on getting deals approved because there are less people involved in decision making. Also, having to report to shareholders in a public company slows down the approval process and can limit the scope of projects that qualify as viable investments.

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