Our blog series, “Inside Live Oak” gives an insight into our business and a look at the professionals who are integral to our success, as well as the success of our client’s projects. This week, we sat down with Kevin Powell, Preconstruction Manager here at Live Oak.
Tell us a little about yourself and how you got into the construction industry.
I joined the Army right out of high school and served in the 82nd Airborne Division at Ft. Bragg, NC. When my four years were finished I joined my sister and her business partner, renovating homes and businesses in the Riverside-Avondale area here in Jacksonville. It was mostly field work, and after 6 years of working in that position I decided I wanted to stay in the construction industry but I didn’t want to work in the field forever. I went back to school at UNF to get my bachelors degree in Construction Management. Throughout school, I worked for commercial contractors in the area. Following graduation, I worked in various sectors to include commercial, retail, and multifamily construction for 6 years.
What is one of the big challenges associated with your role?
I would say that facilitating effective communication between us, subcontractors and the owners and clients can be a challenge. It’s easy to send an email and have it misinterpreted. I prefer to take the extra step to call people and communicate directly to reduce confusion and ensure we are all on the same page.
What is your favorite part about your role?
Making new connections is by far my favorite part of the role. I learned early on in my life that no one person can know everything. You may not know the answer to a question, but through your network, you know someone to call who does. I also enjoy hearing different perspectives on construction politics, new policies, new codes and learning from those who can share their knowledge of these items.
Are you excited about any current/upcoming projects?
The Mayfair is a 243 unit apartment complex in Alachua County just outside of Gainesville that should start in March. This project is for a new client using a previous development company. I’m excited about this project because it is a local project using familiar subcontractors. Another project, 655 East Bay in Charleston, is a more of a custom project with 51 all-brick units and 6 townhomes in a separate structure. We will be working to match the historic arch features in downtown Charleston.
What has attributed to your success at Live Oak?
I think the key to my success at Live Oak is my willingness to learn. I am fortunate to be at a company like Live Oak where I am surrounded by individuals who have 10 – 20 years of experience in the industry and are more than willing to share their wisdom with me. I have truly enjoyed getting out there and talking to others who have helped me assimilate more into the multifamily niche.
Any big changes in the construction industry (recent or upcoming) that you’re watching?
A lot of our materials are imported. It will be interesting to see how the banks react to potential changes in U.S. trade policies. It’s too early to determine if these changes will be good or bad. It’s interesting to see how this will play out on a national and international level.
Anything else you’d like to share?
I’m a father of three. I have a 17 year old daughter, a 13 year old boy, and a 7 year old boy. I grew up surfing so lately I have been trying to teach them how to surf. I try and stay active, I love to run and I will be running the Chicago marathon this October. Because of my kids, I am passionate about Club Blue, the young professional’s group of our local Boys and Girls Club. I am the chair of the group and am excited about the work we have to do.