Follow us throughout our 12 part series as we sit down with the top Architects and General Contractors in New York City. This month we met with Paul Reehling with of OTL Enterprises.
Paul Reehling, Principal of OTL Enterprises, leads the establishment with his partners John Carson and Angelo Cosentini. Paul joined the company in 2004 and in 2013 he was announced Partner. His current role involves overseeing the management teams for all OTL projects as well as company operations, ensuring the company is properly staffed, running efficiently, and that the project pipeline is always full.
Adler Windows: What made you want to get into the construction industry?
Paul Reehling: I always had an interest in construction and architecture, even though I didn’t study it. I originally went to Penn State to study engineering however I ended up graduating in communications. Construction allows me to pair together my creativity and analytical sides. While in college I spent the summer of 2004 working in the field for OTL, in 2006 I was made a full time Admin Assistant and from there I worked my way up.
AW: Where did the name OTL originate from?
PR: John Carson has a funny history with company names. He wanted to be an upfront and honest contractor and so On The Level Enterprises was formed.
AW: Describe your role at OTL and how has it changed over the years?
PR: Since I joined OTL in 2004 I have managed to work in many departments of the company – admin, estimating, accounting and project management. Now, as Partner, I keep tabs on every project. My everyday tasks include answering emails, site visits, meetings with clients and potential clients. Right now, I am currently managing 4 different teams so I am constantly interacting with project managers and supers. No two days are ever the same, it is a very exciting industry to work in.
AW: OTL places high importance on personal attention and relationships – tell us more about this and the foundations of OTL’s success.
PR: OTL is built upon relationships, and these will always be an attribute to our reputation. When John Carson partnered with Angelo Cosentini in 1985, the company excelled on word of mouth alone. In 2006 I suggested that we get a website and in 2009 we began to market ourselves. Since then we have continued to grow successfully.
AW: What would you consider to be your biggest professional achievement to date?
PR: Becoming a partner of OTL.
AW: What is one project that stands out in your mind as being one of your most memorable?
PR: My most memorable would be 130 Delancey – my first job as project manager. It had a complicated sequence as we were re-placing the building structure while it supported occupied space. It was very challenging but it gave me invaluable experience. I wouldn’t have been capable if John and Angelo did not give me the confidence that I needed. We ended up completing the project successfully, under budget and on schedule.
AW: Have you had any watershed moments in your career to date?
PR: Many years ago, I was working under a project manager who was going home to Ireland to get married. I feared that he would not return after the wedding and I would be left to take on all of his work. Unfortunately he was unable to return to the US as I had predicted. It was a very difficult but fulfilling time in my career, as I was forced to take on much more than I anticipated.
AW: Has there been any major influences in your career? A mentor perhaps?
PR: My partners, John Carson and Angelo Cosentini. We have a very positive business and personal relationship. They have both guided me and given me direction throughout every stage of my career. Without them I would never have gotten to where I am today.
AW: What do you believe to have been the biggest attribute to your success?
PR: Constant hardwork. It can be grueling in this industry, especially in NYC. You can never step off the gas as every day a new challenge presents itself. There is so much information to be learned in construction and I believe dedicating time to constantly learning as much as possible contributed to my success.
AW: How to do you envision the next ten years of your career?
PR: I believe that OTL will continue to grow and focus on complex and interesting projects.
AW: What advice would you give to someone who is currently trying to make it in the industry?
PR: Dedicate yourself to a specific aspect of the industry, stay focused and work hard. I would also suggest networking by calling people instead of emailing when possible as it builds a stronger connection.
AW: What is your favorite thing about NYC?
PR: The endless expansion of culture and opportunities to discover what you want to do in the world. You can completely delve into any culture here, as cliché as it sounds New York City is a melting pot of world culture.