Because people are at the core of Stream’s success, we have learned to identify the most talented individuals that contribute to our unique culture of service and leadership. As Stream continues to grow its business and people, we are taking this opportunity to spotlight our talented employees from all service lines, cities, and departments. These individuals are selected because they have had a significant impact on Stream, the commercial real estate industry and the local community.
For those that do not already know him, we would like to shine a spotlight on:
Eamon O’Shea, Regional Director of Building Operations Manager for Stream in Washington, D.C. Eamon oversees the Greater D.C. building operations team who support day-to-day engineering operations at the buildings Stream own and manage.
How did you get into your profession?
I’m a third-generation building engineer. My dad is a building engineer, and my brother and I have emulated our careers after him. At this point, I think you could say it’s a family business, and there is a ton of opportunity in this field. I like to believe that I get to save the day at one of my buildings every day.
Why do you love your job?
I have an immense amount of passion and pride, specifically family pride, for what I do. I long for more knowledge, and every day my goal is to be the smartest person in the room. I find it really satisfying to fix something that fell into disrepair or recruit a new team member whose values and passions align with our firm. It is euphoric to be able to solve a problem or bring someone new into the organization.
When I came to Stream seven years ago, I was given so much freedom to apply my knowledge and creativity. Stream really values me as a person and what I have to say. They have given me more opportunities to grow than I have had at any other company. It is great to be part of a team of people who care about doing their best.
What advice would you give someone looking to go into this field of work?
I’d say two things. Number one, go to trade school. The folks you meet there will shape you to be a force in the industry. Build your network there; network with fellow students; and network with teachers who have worked in the industry and earned the accolades. Talk to your teachers—they want to bring you to the next level.
The second piece of advice is to take time to learn customer service—that is the real secret. You are the first line of defense, the first responder. And as the first responder, you and the service you provide are usually the first thing people remember about their experience at a building. Seek to connect with the people you work with—not only your colleagues, but your clients, which in my case are the tenants. Everyone wants preferential service—the Ritz-Carlton treatment—and people want to have a genuine connection with the building’s onsite representative. It is critical that you drive value by providing superior customer service.
Do you have any great stories from your many years in building operations?
I have so many stories—some funny and not so funny—that have taught me so many lessons. Each day brings a new challenge.
One lesson I learned the hard way is to always check your work. When I was a young engineer, I was on a tall ladder looking at a water source unit riser valve above my head. I assumed the valve was closed and asked my fellow engineer to open the main isolation valve. It turns out, the valve I was standing under was not closed. I received a nice, long, cold, smelly bath. Since then, I always take extra measures to focus on the task at hand, not get distracted, and always double-check my work.
How have you seen building operations evolve over the years?
Because my dad is a building engineer, I have been able to watch operations evolve since I was a boy. Today, all the systems are very technologically advanced. It is essential to understand advanced technology and algorithms to manage the front-end of building operations. Stream takes several measures to make sure everyone is trained and provides continuing education to all of our people, which is invaluable. Also, as I mentioned before, customer service is a vital part of building engineering today. It used to be very back-of-house and out-of-sight. Now, we are expected to be at the forefront. Everyone needs to feel comfortable with you so they can talk about inadequacies in their space and interesting things that are happening in their daily life. I have learned by having these connections, it makes my job easier when challenging conversations must take place. Fifty years ago, building operations were only focused on someone who could turn the wrenches; now it is important to have a vast technology understanding and excellent customer service to succeed as a building engineer.