Vancouver Career Spotlight is an interview-style blog series that features the amazing professionals that live and work in the Greater Vancouver area. Our vision is to showcase the many career opportunities that exist in Vancouver and provide inspiration to the future generation of workers and career changers.
Kevin Keresztes is a Development Coordinator at Onni Group, a real estate development company in Vancouver. He obtained his Masters of Urban and Regional Planning from Queen’s University.
Why did you choose this career path?
I have always been interested in cities, architecture, urban design, and real estate. This interest drove me to pursue a career in Real Estate Development where I am able to have a direct influence on the communities and neighbourhoods we live, work, and play in.
What are your main responsibilities?
As a Development Coordinator, my responsibilities include:
- Assisting and ‘shadowing’ the Vice President of Development on multiple mixed-use projects.
- Securing municipal approvals and executing contracts, legal agreements, and RFPs.
- Reviewing consultant construction drawings such as architectural, engineering drawings, landscape architecture, code, etc.
- Coordinating meetings, conference calls, municipal submissions, and internal submissions.
- Evaluating and interpreting municipal policy and how it applies to certain sites/projects.
What are the opportunities for career growth and advancement?
A development coordinator is a junior position within the development team at a real estate development firm. Opportunities for career growth include promotions to development manager, director of development, VP of development, and president of development. As growth increases, so does responsibility and autonomy.
What kind of person would like a career in real estate development?
Someone who is interested in exposure to the many different sides of the development and construction of buildings and communities. A person who works well in organizing multiple teams at once and managing many different consultants and stakeholders would enjoy this career. The job requires patience because from the acquisition of land to the completion of a project, that may take 5 to 10 years, so somebody who can appreciate the necessary steps to reach milestones along the way while working towards project completion would like this career. Lastly, somebody who enjoys working in a dynamic and fast-paced environment with many people would enjoy this career.
What is a common misconception people have about this career?
When I tell people I work in real estate, the common misconception is that I am a realtor. The reality is that we work with many different consultants, internal staff, lawyers, sales and marketing professionals, and municipal staff to successfully complete a project and move homeowners into their new units.
What school subjects would a person in this career typically excel in?
Math, geography, urban planning, project management, architecture, design, landscape architecture, AutoCAD, and business subjects where a person would be working closely with others.
What type of education would you typically need to work in this career?
University or college degree is likely a must. There are no certain requirements for this kind of work, however, education in urban planning, architecture, engineering, urban land economics, economics, and business are strongly preferred.
What are the best programs to get this education?
Recommended education would include completing a business program or individual courses focused on Real Estate/Finance, Economics, and/or Urban Planning. UBC has a Master of Community and Regional Planning program and Diploma in Urban Land Economics program. BCIT has a Professional Real Estate Advanced Diploma. SFU Continuing Studies has the City Program, which delivers urban planning courses as well.
What types of organizations would typically hire for your skillset?
Private sector development companies include: Onni, Bosa, Beedie, Westbank, Amacon, Wesgroup, Concert Properties, Cressey, and Ledingham McAllister.
Public sector development companies like BC Housing also hire real estate development professionals.
What advice would you give to someone who is interested in pursuing a career in real estate development?
Research the different stages of the development process and all the types of consultants that developers work with in order to understand all that goes into completing a real estate development project. I would also suggest speaking to real estate professionals to get an idea of more day-to-day tasks as well as the bigger picture of the job. Additionally, learning from someone in the industry what they like and/or do not like about their career, industry, company etc. would help you to understand what a career in real estate development could look like for you.
Connect with Kevin on LinkedIn.
I hope you enjoyed this Career Spotlight interview about the real estate development career track. Below are additional resources if you’re interested in researching this career further. Feel free to ask questions in the comments. If you’re interested in seeing if this career is right for you, send us a message here, and let’s help you find a career that aligns with your personality, interests, and goals.
More information about Real Estate Development in BC:
Urban Development Institute (resource for job opportunities)
Daily Hive (track development topics in Vancouver)
Education Programs (in the Greater Vancouver area):
UBC Master of Community and Regional Planning
UBC Sauder Diploma in Urban Land Economics
BCIT Professional Real Estate Advanced Diploma