You might not guess that Brian O’Shea is the leader of Clune’s newest office in Dallas, Texas. He doesn’t have a Texan accent, far from it, but he brings over 25 years of construction expertise to this new region and his leadership style has been a perfect fit. When asked what is something people wouldn’t guess about him, Brian said, “People in Dallas are amazed by the fact that while I call Chicago home now, I actually I grew up on a dairy farm in Ireland. I’m a country boy at heart. People are somewhat surprised by that, but those are my roots. That’s probably why I fit in so well in Dallas.”
Brian has also played a key role in Clune’s national expansion in other regions, and has learned a lot along the way. His main takeaway is that you have to walk before you run. “We’ve been very fortunate in Dallas that we had a good foundation of established clients and talented employees when we opened the office,” Brian said. “Those are the major things that have helped us successfully scale up that region.”
Learn more about Brian and Clune’s growth in Texas in our final post in our Clune leadership blog series.
Why did you choose a career in construction and how did you start your career with Clune?
Brian: I was finishing high school in Ireland and didn’t know what I wanted to do but I liked math and engineering so, almost by default, I ended up studying Construction Economics in college. I met Mike Clune in 1996, while working as part of a student summer travel program. At the time, Mike was in the process of buying the company from LaSalle Partners, and it turned out we went to the same high school in Ireland. He offered me the opportunity join his new firm. So I moved to Chicago to work for Clune Construction after finishing college.
What’s the best project you’ve ever worked on?
Brian: Ah, that’s a tough one. There’s been many memorable projects, but I think every project I’ve worked on in a new city is memorable. I’ve been lucky to be part of bringing Clune to new markets with a national law firm partner. I was involved in Clune’s first projects in New York City, San Francisco and Dallas. I think every project we do in a new city has its challenges, but is always exciting and adventurous. And they’ve been huge stepping stones to get us to where we are now.
What do you see next for the Dallas office?
Brian: When I think of the future of Clune Dallas, there’s nothing we can’t achieve. We have a great foundation with the team we’ve built, we also have so many existing clients and relationships in Dallas that we have yet to tap into. I think the future is bright in Dallas. We’ve strategically grown the business there over the last couple years so we can expand as fast as our clients need us. I can see Dallas being one of the bigger Clune Construction offices in the next five years.
In our business it’s all about people. To reach our goals, we need to be the first choice in the industry for top talent to work, and we need to strategically hire the right people. Luckily Dallas has a very talented and diverse pool of professionals to hire from. The key for us is employee retention and recruitment, which is all done through keeping the Clune Culture alive. We’ve been very successful at this so far, coupled with the strategic balance of growing the region at the right pace. Check out available opportunities here.
What is your favorite thing to do in Dallas?
Brian: Because I commute from Chicago, especially in the winter I enjoy not packing a coat. In January, 60 degrees feels like 100 which I really enjoy. Dallas is a big metropolitan city with a great culture along with a large variety of restaurants that I love to explore.
If you could go on a trip anywhere right now, where would it be?
Brian: I have always wanted to travel to Australia. It’s on my bucket list and I hope to get there one day soon.
What do you think makes Clune unique?
Brian: Despite our size and how we’ve grown over the years, we still maintain that family culture. That’s probably a common theme among all the offices. To me that means loyalty, respect and treating both our employees and clients like family. Because we consider ourselves a “big small company”, we still can be really innovative. Our leadership promotes innovation on all levels which is unique for a company of our size.
What’s your favorite memory at Clune?
Brian: I met my wife at Clune, and some of my best friends. In addition, an early favorite memory in 1997, was when we won our first major project in Chicago. We had just started the company and I was an Assistant Project Manager. We won the ComEd headquarters project which was almost 200,000 square feet. That was the largest project we had been awarded at the time, and we celebrated like we won a $500 million project.
Recently, we hosted our annual Leadership Summit in Dallas. It was really exciting to welcome Clune leaders from all over the country to Dallas. For a lot of them, it was their first time in Texas, so to show off our office and how we’ve grown beyond our core markets was really exciting.
What does Clune Culture mean in Dallas?
Brian: We’ve made it a point to recruit Texas-based employees because at the end of the day culture is important to us as a company but also to the people that live in each market. The Texas-based employees gravitate to our family-oriented culture and open-door policy and it’s been a great fit. We don’t take ourselves too seriously. We focus on taking care of our clients and having fun while we do it. Our Dallas employees see this young office as an opportunity to get in on the ground floor of something. My role is to make sure I represent the Dallas office on the executive level and give them the opportunity to grow the region.
It’s no secret that Texas is seeing a boom in construction as more and more businesses relocate to the state. We’re very excited to see what is next for this region of Clune! Learn more about our capabilities and check out what some of the Dallas employees have to say about Brian.
“Brian is a positive inspirational leader passionate about Clune and the people he works with, always striving to improve himself and others.” – Kevin Morris, Project Executive
“Brian has the ability to always get the most out his team. He has created a vision for the Dallas office that we have all bought into and are making it a reality. He has way of connecting with individuals to help them achieve their full potential. He doesn’t sugarcoat what needs to be said to get the team to accomplish the task at hand.” – Steve Lobes, Senior Project Manager
“Brian is an exceptional leader who remains calm and collected during stressful times and situations. He has done a lot to help this office and our company and is always willing to talk about possible growth and learning opportunities. The Dallas office is better for having him at the helm.” – Tyler Stevenson, Senior Project Manager