Fall 2011

Time off pays off for Muszynski and Violante

Time off pays off for Muszynski and Violante
From left are Brian and Karina Muszynski, and Samantha and Steven Violante.

While Watson School graduates Brian Muszynski ’01 and Steven Violante ’01 are enjoying their careers as project managers on some impressive construction projects, both say one of the secrets to their success was found at a ski resort.

Muszynski is a project manager for Bald Mountain Development, which is building the luxury resort Rosewood San Miguel de Allende in Mexico. Among his tasks was to work with the team designing a rooftop bar overlooking the beautiful colonial town. The hotel opened this year, and the first phase of 29 residences was recently completed. 

Violante is a senior project manager for Tishman Construction Company, managing $500 million worth of contracts for the building of One World Trade Center, also known as the Freedom Tower. With Tishman, he previously worked on an electrical substation that powered lower Manhattan after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks and on 7 World Trade Center — the first new structure on the Ground Zero site.

Both say their lives are examples of how time off after school can pay off down the road. After graduation, Violante and Muszynski went to Breckenridge/Keystone, Colo., where they worked at ski resorts. After a year, Violante traveled, then went into construction management with Tishman in New York.

“I appreciate the experience of living so far from home and being able to spend the time I had trying to figure out what direction I wanted my life to head in and what was really important to me,” Violante says.

Muszynski went on to work for a student exchange company in Chile, sending kids to work at ski resorts in the United States. In 2002, he decided it was time to put his engineering degree to work and called Violante, who suggested that he give project management a shot. Muszynski went to Atlanta and worked for a commercial construction company and then, with the help of the contacts he made in Chile, got a job working for a developer on the luxury Winter Park Resort project in Colorado.

“You never know who you’re going to meet and where it’s going to take you,” Muszynski says. “While I was — in my grandmother’s opinion — goofing off, I met the contacts that helped me get where I am now. Sometimes it’s hard, financially, to take time off, but I’m a firm believer in taking time off after school to do something productive.”

Muszynski is pursuing an MBA at Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business, then hopes to continue in project management in his own firm or as partner in a small company. Violante says that after the Freedom Tower project is complete, he might transition to real estate development.

“I believe that both of these fields, construction and real estate development, allow for some flexibility, as projects tend to last for two to seven years,” Violante says. “Once a project is completed, you move on to a new project, a different location, a different project role.”