12D — August 19 - September 15, 2022 — Best and Brightest Under 40 — M id A tlantic Real Estate Journal
B est and B rightest U nder 40
James F. Thaon, PE Associate, Branch Manager Bohler Years with company/firm: 8 Years in field: 8
Ben Crowder, PE, LEED AP Associate Bohler Years with company/firm: 11 Years in field: 13 Real estate organizations/affiliations: Urban Land Institute (ULI), US Green Building Council (USGBC)
What is your greatest professional accomplishment? Leading Bohler’s office in Manasquan, NJ (link to page) where I can continue building relationships with landowners and developers throughout New Jersey and along the Jersey Shore. I am also proud of the mentorship I provide to my team. I’m honored to be in a leadership position where I can guide them through their careers and empower them to accomplish their goals. What is your most notable project, deal or transaction? The Crossings at Brick Church Station, a mixed-use redevelopment with 200,000 s/f of commercial space and 800 residential units in East Orange, NJ. Before leading Bohler’s Manasquan office, I led the site civil engineering design of this transformative project out of our Northern New Jersey office (link to page).The NJDOT named this project a ‘Transit Village’ as the community is centered around transportation hubs that promote car-free living and reduce traffic congestion. How do you contribute to your company and/or the industry? At Bohler, we help owners and developers act on opportunities to accomplish their most ambitious land development goals. Currently, that includes guid- ing developers through the impacts of the NJ Department of Environmental Protection (NJDEP)’s new stormwater management regulations.[link to ar - ticle]. Together with my team, I am leading Bohler’s efforts to understand, interpret and adapt to these significant changes. We’re focused on finding design solutions that adhere to the updated regulations while mitigating impacts to density, construction costs, and maintenance programs. What unique qualities and or personality trait do you feel makes you most successful in your profession? Perhaps out of character for a stereotypical “engineer,” I actually enjoy public speaking. In a very technical industry like engineering, it’s important to be able to explain what we do in a way that non-engineers can understand, and even get excited about. What was the most defining moment for you? In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, my girlfriend was diagnosed with breast cancer. Helping her overcome this illness and being by her side during treatment impacted my outlook on life and what is important to me. This experience continues to humble and motivate me in both my personal and professional life. Who do you feel was most influential in your life when choosing this profession? My siblings and I are first-generation Americans. Our parents worked hard to provide us with endless opportunities, but also taught us to work hard, be inquisitive, and remain humble. My father worked in construction in New York City, and would take me on his job sites as a child. I learned about the work and equipment, but the experience also helped me to develop a strong work ethic and a fascination for land development. What outside activities do you enjoy during your free time? I enjoy watching Formula One races, working out, and playing sports. I recently picked up golf, so much of my free time is spent at the driving range working on my form. What inspiring word of advice would you give to a young executive graduating from college today? I would encourage all young graduates to recognize that people are the most valuable asset to building your career, so make meaningful connections and develop strong relationships in your industry. Remain humble enough to learn from those relationships and then help others in return. MAREJ
How do you contribute to your company and/or the industry?
I am committed and passionate about mentoring and empowering my team and supporting their career growth. I lead various training seminars and have helped the firm implement and promote processes to assist with the learning and development of our employees. That’s what motivates me and keeps me going every day. It’s very rewarding to see younger staff develop as the future leaders of Bohler and know that I played a part in that growth.
What impact has social media/networking had on your career?
Networking events and social media apps (like LinkedIn) are key to building relationships in the industry. Similar to how developing an internal team will drive your business forward by focusing on it’s people, external connections create the work, trust, and most importantly, the relationships, outside of just doing the job. By engaging in networking opportunities, I’ve been able to meet and build relationships with key people in the industry that have served me well throughout my career. Tell us how and when you began your career in the profession you are in, about your current position and why you choose the field/pro - fession you are in today? Growing up, my family would go down South every summer to visit my rela- tives (Louisiana for my mothers side and Mississippi for my fathers). My cousin, Marty Crowder, started Crowder Engineering and Surveying, Inc., a small Civil Engineering and Surveying firm in Mississippi. Each summer when we visited, my interest and exposure to his career would grow. My passion in Civil Engineering stemmed from those summertime experiences and from that point on, I knew I wanted to be a Civil Engineer one day.
What outside activities do you enjoy during you free time?
Since graduating college, I’ve found a lot of passion in running. This fall, I will be completing my third marathon, the WineGlass Marathon, in the Finger Lakes, New York. Running has provided an opportunity to stay in shape, refresh my mind, and has allowed me to spend time with my wife and kids outdoors. My wife is also an avid runner, but pushing two kids (six months and two years) in a running stroller adds to the workout! Aside from running, a second hobby of mine is homebrewing beer. Each year, I buy and upgrade all of my homebrew equipment. I enjoy brewing beer for friends and family to enjoy at parties and events. The engineering side of me also loves to experiment with recipes and the chemistry of the beer to under- stand the process. What inspiring word of advice would you give to a young executive graduating from college today? I would encourage them to seek out a career that brings out the best in you with a company that puts the utmost focus on its people and their growth and development. If you love what you do, you will never work a day in life. MAREJ
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