Name: Eugene Chernyak
Title: Project Superintendent
Company Name: CNY
Year that you entered your current field? 2008
Who or what do you attribute to your success?
Being proactive. In most work environments, people are there to just “do their jobs” and nothing more. How often does one hear at a work place, “Oh, that’s not my job, so-and-so should do it.” In order to be successful, and more importantly, to learn all that you can, one has to do the dirty work and take on challenges that may not necessarily be in your job description. If you hear that someone has a problem, offer to help and see what you can do to be part of the solution. People will respect you and look at you as a problem solver. A valued quality in any industry.
What advice can you offer to someone who is interested in a career in your industry?
The best advice I can offer to someone looking for a career in construction management is to be able to deal well with uncertainty. If you’re looking for repetitive tasks and a slow-paced job, construction management isn’t for you. What makes construction so unique is that no two days are ever alike. There are constantly new problems, new challenges, and a dynamic work environment that requires decision making and problem solving. The pressure to get things done as soon as possible is always there and being able to manage stress and daily activities are at a premium.
If you have a mentor, who is it and how have they influenced your personal & professional growth?
I was hired in May 2011, green as can be straight out of college. I worked for a firm during the summers while in college but had no major construction management experience. Walter Beal, an executive here at CNY, gave me a chance and has been my mentor ever since. I will always be grateful for the opportunities he gave me and the responsibilities that he entrusted me with. One of the toughest parts of being a great leader and manager is to have faith in people and give them a chance to make mistakes and learn from them. He did that for me.
How have your life experiences impacted who you are professionally?
My family immigrated to New York in 1997 from Minsk, Belarus. My parents couldn’t put two sentences together in English and despite being well educated, they had to hold menial jobs such as delivering bread to bakeries and washing dishes at restaurants. It was heartbreaking to see my father, who was an engineer and a successful businessman, start from scratch. That type of work ethic—perseverance and sacrifice--resonated with me deeply. It drove me to be diligent and take work/school seriously. It drove me to fear failure and never to lose sight of what they did for me.