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  • Writer's pictureMAREJ

Macedonia to the American Dream: Niko Spasov Constructs a Lasting Legacy

Construction Manager and Partner at Community Builders

Years with company/firm: 1

Years in field: 8

What is your greatest professional accomplishment?

My greatest professional accomplishment is my recent career move to Community Builders as a construction manager and partner. Over the years I have focused on continuous improvement in various aspects of my career and personal life which ultimately led to this opportunity. It’s a testament to my commitment to every team that I’ve worked with and how I’ve given back to the teammates and community.

What is your most notable project, deal or transaction?

My most notable project is the American Dream at the Meadowlands. I was part of the team building the DreamWorks Water Park, which is the largest indoor water park in North America holding the world’s largest indoor wave pool amongst other notable features.

How do you contribute to your company and/or the industry?

As a construction manager with Community Builders, I am leading projects and teams to achieve the project’s goals and deliver the same on time, within budget, with no safety issues and with the highest quality product that meets and exceeds the client’s expectation. Above what I do in my role, I strive to give back to the community by volunteering my time and skills to various nonprofit organizations around Morris County.

Who or what has been the strongest influence in your career?

Conor Evans, managing partner and founder of Community Builders, has been an integral part of my career development throughout the years that we have worked together. I’ve had the pleasure to work with him on projects in various sectors of the industry and have been a part of teams that he has built and led to success. His vision, values and his empowerment of me to lead in my own right has had the most influence on my career.

What impact has social media/networking had on your career?

Social media and networking have had a tremendous impact on my career.

From connecting with industry leaders on professional sites like LinkedIn to attending events and meeting members of the industry, it has opened many doors. Communication is key in any industry and having the available platforms to stay connected is valuable to anyone.

Tell us how and when you began your career in the profession you are in, about your current position and why you chose the field/profession you are in today?

When I moved to the United States from Macedonia, both my father and my uncle were working in the construction industry. From the age of 13 I was interested in learning any trade I could. I explored my options and took an opportunity in New York as a laborer during the summer of 2014 and quickly learned the concrete and steel industry. I was intrigued by the people that were leading the projects I was on, from their communication, to planning and execution of the work. Having started studying for my Construction Engineering degree at NJIT, I knew that the field experience was as valuable as my college education. I continued working during the days and took night classes to get my degree. Driving to New York daily, I always passed the American Dream project with seven tower cranes erected and was amazed by the size of the job, one day I stopped by, found the management trailer and asked if they offer internships. January 15th, 2018, I reported to my first internship as a Field Engineer. Shortly thereafter, I was offered a full-time position. The experience I gained in this position allowed me to move through the ranks with different companies and teams within the industry.

What were some of your early goals and did anything happen to change them?

My early goals were to take on as many responsibilities as possible, showcase my capabilities to the leaders I worked with and become comfortable with failing. I stayed true to my goals, learned that failure is not always a weakness and always gave it my best, even when I failed at something. Those failures were lessons that I needed to overcome and excel in my career.

What unique qualities and or personality do you feel makes you most successful in your profession?

A unique quality of mine is being coachable. I know and accept that I, like any other human, have flaws. Being coachable is one of the qualities that have allowed me to keep improving and growing in my profession. I am surrounded by people in the industry and community who are willing to coach me and give me needed advice.

What challenges and or obstacles do you feel you needed to overcome to become as successful as you are today?

Learning the English language was the biggest obstacle I needed to overcome to become successful. At age of 13 when I moved to the United States, all I could say is hi, bye and thank you. It took me over three years before I could have a fluent conversation with my peers and even then, I was struggling with my heavy accent and wrong pronunciations of certain words. I have mostly overcome that and am fluent in the English language.

What was the most defining moment for you?

The most defying moment for me was building up the courage to drive into the American Dream job site, find the right person and ask for a job.

When I received the offer letter for my first internship with a large international contractor, I knew that the world of opportunities laid ahead of me and nothing was out of reach. I think back to that moment every time I find myself in a situation that seems impossible.

Who do you feel was most influential in your life when choosing this profession?

The most influential person in my life when I was choosing this profession was my father, Toni Spasov. When we moved to the United States, my father started working in the construction industry, residential roofing and siding to be exact. He worked very hard with one mission in mind, to support our family and create opportunities for me and my sister to excel in our lives and careers. Every summer, very proudly I was next to him swinging a hammer and learning the trade. At the end of the first summer, he gave me some advice that ultimately made me pursue my Construction Engineering degree years later. He taught me the 4 v 40 rule, as he called it. He knew I was passionate about building and how intrigued I was by construction sites as we drove to work in the mornings. He said, “Use the next four years to learn as much in the classroom and in the field, apply it to your life and career and you’ll be successful for the next 40 years.”

What is the funniest, most unique situation you have faced/conquered during your career? Or in your life?

The funniest and most unique situation I have ever faced in my life was 8th grade Spanish class. It was the year I came to the United States.

While in ESL classes learning English, to fulfill the curriculum I was placed in a Spanish class, taught by an English-speaking teacher. I to this date wonder how and why I was placed in that class. I tell the story to almost everyone I meet and still laugh about it to this day.

What inspiring advice would you give to a young executive graduating from college?

Remember that every experience, success or setback is equally important to your growth. Be coachable, find a mentor and have an open mind. Believe in yourself, stay resilient and never stop striving for excellence. Success is not about climbing the ladder; it’s about lifting others as you rise.


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