Designing the Deal: Collaborative Work Between Brokers and Designers
Updated: Sep 21, 2022
Today's SIOR Spotlight guest is Frank Di Roma from Ware Malcomb! Frank is Principal at Ware Malcomb and is responsible for leading the firm’s continued growth in Canada. He oversees the management of the Toronto and Vaughan offices, business development, account management, and project visioning and design. As a licensed architect in Ontario, his in-depth expertise includes project management, client communications, schematic design, design development, contract documents and contract administration.
Read on to learn more about Frank's involvement with SIOR Canada Central Chapter.
What’s your story and how did you get started in the CRE industry?
I got involved in the CRE industry early on in my architecture career. By studying market trends and creating real estate-driven design solutions, our team understands how buildings and sites work together to maximize long term real estate value. As a real estate focused architecture and engineering firm, Ware Malcomb has expertise in providing creative design solutions that are cost effective and maximize long-term value for our clients. We understand the importance of balancing the requirements of Landlords, Property Owners and Property Managers, with the specific needs of end users, ultimately producing successful projects.
My team and I work with a variety of different brokers, everyone has their own perspective of their market, which in turn helps us understand a variety of industries.
Our design solutions are based on sound real estate expertise, so we’re able to help our clients throughout the entire project process, not just with the design of their sites and facilities.
How and when did you realize it was the space for you?
All the aspects of architecture appealed to me. In school, I enjoyed and excelled in drawing, math and all the courses related to architecture. I’ve always wanted to be an architect since I was 13 years old. I had always enjoyed being on construction sites, viewing buildings, talking about architecture and now I’m proud to say I’m mentoring the next generation of architects as well.
I ended up landing the job because of the real estate knowledge and site considerations I was able to provide.
Do you remember your first project?
It wasn’t one of my first projects, but a more recent, memorable transaction I was involved with was the Campbell’s Soup site in Toronto, at the time it was an existing warehouse building up for sale. It was a Sunday morning at 6:00am and I was there because a real estate friend asked me to come as an advisor. I ended up landing the job because of the real estate knowledge and site considerations I was able to provide.
I was involved very early on in the project and helped the owners make a business case to buy the property. This is a great example of one of Ware Malcomb’s biggest differentiators. Our design solutions are based on sound real estate expertise, so we’re able to help our clients throughout the entire project process, not just with the design of their sites and facilities.
What’s required to maintain a successful career in CRE?
Finding that work/life balance is definitely important in this industry. It’s imperative to make time for what is important, and know that all of your hard work will pay off.
I have cultivated many relationships through the networking opportunities at SIOR and there are many educational benefits to the programs too.
What are some benefits and privileges being involved with SIOR?
I don’t carry the SIOR designation since I am an Architect, but being involved in the SIOR organization has tremendous benefits. I have cultivated many relationships through the networking opportunities at SIOR and there are many educational benefits to the programs too.
Who were your biggest inspirations and helpers?
Leaders at Ware Malcomb like Jay Todisco, our President, inspires me. I’ve learned a lot from him, and continue to work with him and the rest of our leadership team to elevate Ware Malcomb’s service offerings across North and South America.
I look for inspiration everywhere, whether that be with travel, other architecture and buildings in the communities I live in and new ones I visit.
What advice do you have for newbies in the industry?
Don’t give up and stick with it! Nothing comes easy at the beginning. It took a long time to get where I am now and I’m really proud of that. It’s hard work but in the end, with hard work comes reward.
Do you have any interesting quotes or mantras that you would like to share with our audience?
I actually heard this from a FedEx guy the other day, but it resonated with me. He told me: “Busy keeps you employed!”