July Face of Ensemble – Conrad Garner
The July Face of Ensemble is our Senior Vice President of Development Services (Long Beach Office), Conrad Garner.
When did you join Ensemble and what do you do?
I joined Ensemble in the summer of 2005 as a wee lad fresh out of Architecture and Business school. My primary role is to manage the life cycle development process for our ground up new build and value add renovation projects. I’m also involved in the front end deal analysis with the acquisition group working to evaluate potential deals. As head of the Development Department, I get the pleasure of working with some amazing folks to create some truly wonderful places.
What do you like most about working at Ensemble?
The fact that this is a company founded on tenacity and a deep commitment to strive to perform our best every day. Ensemble may not be a company comprised of world class designers, top notch engineers, strong contractors, Wall Street bankers, or proficient operators, but we sure are good at hiring the right ones and then figuring out how to get the best out of them. We get to create space. We get to figure out how to take an idea on the proverbial napkin and make it reality. In my view, there is nothing better or that I would rather be doing.
Why or how did you get into your current line of work?
In high school I found my love for architecture and was fortunate enough to get into Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo. Then, while in college (slogging away at my architecture lab all-nighters) I started to realize that I was as interested in how a building came to be as I was in the design of the structure. Who built these things, how did they happen, what is the process, where did the money come from, what were the financials to make it all work…? Cal Poly offered a dual degree program, allowing me to overlap the 2 year MBA with the last year of my BArch, coming out in 6 years with both. Won’t lie, the 5th year was tough with my senior thesis and master’s program in full overlap… but what doesn’t kill you…! While in grad school I worked for a small developer; his architect was Cuningham Group and I got to know Doug Lowe and Jack Highwart. Upon graduating I asked Doug if he knew any good developers in the LA area – he handed me Kam’s number on a piece of paper.
Where did you grow up and what was your first job?
California kid, grew up in San Diego. Spent 3 years (6th – 9th grade) in DC area on a job change for my dad; we then moved back to San Diego. I got my first job at 16 working at the Lucky grocery store as a bag boy. Good times!
What do you do for fun after work?
After work I am a dad who is blessed with three wonderful boys – Luke-9, Colin-7, and Jake-5. We play a lot of baseball, beach days, pool days, Disneyland, fishing, travel, legos, sports, and pampering mom.
What is your favorite or most memorable vacation spot?
I grew up in a family that loved to travel. It stuck, and my wife and I have been fortunate to be able to travel well and are now getting the kids into it. For relaxation you can take me to Maui. For scenery you can take me to Switzerland. For an incredible city you can take me to Paris. For food you can take me to Italy.