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Summer Internships

In the summer of 2019 Epoch had the pleasure of hiring two interns to support the Marketing and Development departments, focusing on everything from social media and digital advertising to conducting market research and construction RFI’s. Aaron Ragnauth, marketing undergrad student at the University of Central Florida, supported the marketing department and Alex Gulzian, Master’s in Real Estate Graduate student at the University of Florida, supported the Development team. Each of them has shared with us their experience interning with Epoch Residential.  Let’s dive into Aaron’s experience first.

Interning at Epoch has far superseded every expectation I had set for myself in my pursuit of a meaningful internship. I have learned from my professors and mentors that an internship should be a stepping stone that leads to the next platform in my career. That is exactly how I would describe my time at Epoch. I worked with the Director of Marketing, Sara, who set daily and over-arching weekly goals. But Sara allowed me to complete them within my own means and on my own terms. I would then send my work to her to be critiqued or qualified. She would then explain the process behind doing them differently or commend the way that I chose to go about completing the task at hand.

I was invited to participate in meetings that were meant for higher-level employees. This allowed me to see the communication and interaction of all aspects of a company; from understanding each other’s roles to following the engagement of action between the different branches. My time at Epoch has been, without a doubt, one of the most meaningful investments in my future.

“Aaron was a great contributor who learned quickly and always showed ambition to learn more.” stated Director of Marketing, Sara Montuori. Now we’ll see what it was like for Development Intern, Alex, during his time with Epoch.

My first interaction with Epoch Residential was in August of 2018. I had just been accepted into UF’s combined Master’s in Real Estate program and attended the MSRE advisory board retreat. I had never networked in a setting like this before and was nervous. My advisor suggested that I talk to Justin Sand because his career path was very similar to my own goals, gaining experience in construction management leading into development. Justin was also new on the advisory board, so we shared a commonality right off the bat. We ended up having a great conversation about real estate, his transition into development, and just overall good life advice for a young professional.

Spring semester came around and the hunt for internships became intense. Development internships are considered the most competitive and rare types of real estate internships to secure. I was nervous to reach out but, on a limb, I emailed Justin asking for help trying to find one. To my surprise Justin responded that while Epoch wasn’t actively looking for a Development Intern, I might be a good fit for the company. This was extremely exciting for me and a big confidence booster. Soon after our initial communication, I interviewed with Justin and the Development Manager, Matt Sand, which quickly lead to an offer and my acceptance of Development Intern with Epoch Residential.

Before starting my internship, Justin and Matt asked me what I wanted to do this summer and my response was, “Everything!” I wanted to be exposed to the entire development process as well as help on the construction management side. The best part of my internship with Epoch was that I was able to realize all my goals and gain invaluable experience in both areas. Some specific tasks included analyzing potential sites by researching rent and sales comparables, performing market research, and supporting construction with multiple tasks including requests for information, architectural drawing quality control, and securing bids from vendors. This was just some of the tasks I accomplished during my internship.

During the summer, I worked closely with Matt Sand, and two Development Associates, Alfonso Obando and Tim O’Neil. I would assist them with their daily tasks and asked numerous questions along the way. All three team members created a sense of inclusion by showing me respect and genuine interest towards my input and ideas. I was invited to many of their meetings and was even encouraged to participate. I reported directly to Matt and felt he was a very positive role model and great teacher, taking an interest in what I wanted to learn and assigning challenging tasks that required creativity as well as knowledge. He gave me the tools and resources to be set up for success and was always willing to answer questions when I needed guidance or was curious about a detail. Another highlight was the day I shadowed Duran Jenks, Senior Superintendent, on the job site. My only experience in construction is with single family homes and small commercial projects. It was incredible to see the coordination that goes into a single 350-unit apartment building and it was especially impressive to see Duran in action, working on multiple buildings. It was a great learning experience to observe how he manages subcontractors and tracks the budget and schedule.

Overall my internship with Epoch was a great experience and one I won’t soon forget. I have learned so much about multifamily development and construction and made friends along the way. One of the things I appreciated most is that I was given responsibilities yet freedom. Most companies will give interns tasks just to keep them occupied, but Epoch made me feel like I was actually contributing to the projects. This made me feel like I was a part of the team. While it is sad the summer has ended and school is starting once again, I am leaving happy and confident with the new knowledge in my arsenal. Thank you Epoch for such a great experience!