Jess Hamilton is project manager with Margulies Perruzzi in Boston. Lab Manager recently spoke with Jess about his career, experience, and personal interests.
Q: How did you get started in your career? Did you major in your field in college, get an internship, switch careers mid-stream, etc.?
A: I majored in Architectural Engineering Technology at Wentworth Institute of Technology. While a student, I completed a co-op to receive real world experience, which led to a 13-year employment at a firm that focused on workplace and real estate repositioning. Once I had solid experience established, I decided I wanted a bigger challenge and switched to a focus on the life sciences field by moving to a firm that did exclusively that. While there for four years, I got to work on a variety of lab spaces, mostly for tenants, as well as a repositioning project. I learned a ton about this exciting and quickly growing market sector. I recently joined Margulies Perruzzi to help contribute to our growing life sciences practice.
Q: What is a typical day at work like for you?
A: There is no such thing as a typical day in architecture which is why I enjoy it so much. A few examples of what I do during the workday include having project calls, reviewing drawings, helping to create fit plans, or even getting to enjoy our office’s roof deck on nice days. I can also be out on site for existing conditions surveys or walking spaces under construction to review progress. At least once a week, I enjoy lunches with former coworkers to stay in touch and discuss industry trends or I meet with potential clients.
Q: What lab projects are you working on at the moment?
A: I am currently working on two lab projects at Margulies Perruzzi. One is a conversion of a three-story, 90-year-old brick and beam former ice cream factory into a lab and office building in Boston. It’s been challenging to uncover the existing conditions of the building as well as to figure out how to reconfigure the spaces for lab use from office use. Not too far away from that building, I am also working on a project to create a four-story, ground-up lab and office building. The goal of this building is to reflect the surrounding brick and beam buildings while also introducing some modern elements such as curtain walls. We are also looking to use CLT (cross laminated timber) as the floor decks, which has not been done for lab buildings in the Boston area yet. This will look great when it’s complete and be more sustainable than concrete and steel, while still achieving the same vibration and acoustical properties as would steel and concrete.
Q: What do you hope to accomplish in the next few years in this new position?
A: I want to help Margulies Perruzzi continue to grow in the life science market sector. There are so many exciting projects underway in the Boston area right now that we are seeing new opportunities on a weekly basis. We are continuing to build our portfolio of experience with multiple ground-up and office-to-lab conversion projects as well as various tenant improvement projects in construction that we are excited to see completed soon. It’s been very rewarding to contribute to the companies working to solve many of the current challenges to cure diseases and disorders to improve people’s lives.
Q: If you won a million-dollar lottery tomorrow, what would you do with your winnings?
A: I would spend half on investing in real estate and look to spend the rest on an investment into the Boston Public Schools. Both my daughter and son are enrolled there. There are so many needs throughout the school system so the money could be used to make a difference for some of Boston’s kids.