Beyond The Bio: 16 Questions With Bohler CEO Adam Volanth
This series profiles men and women in commercial real estate who have profoundly transformed our neighborhoods and reshaped our cities, businesses and lifestyles.
Adam Volanth joined Bohler's Pennsylvania region in 1992, two years after graduating from Bucknell University, and he spent the next two decades rising to the top of the company.
In 2014, Volanth became president and CEO of the company, then called Bohler Engineering. Shortly after he took the lead role, Bohler opened its 14th office in Charlotte, North Carolina, in 2013. The company, founded in 1985, now has 26 offices across the East Coast and Texas and employs more than 700 people.
Bohler has several business lines including site civil engineering, land surveying and mapping, permitting and entitlements, planning and landscape architecture. The company works on a variety of property types such as industrial, residential, healthcare, retail and office.
The company has worked on major projects such as Water Street Tampa, Gantry Point in Queens, the North Quincy MBTA Redevelopment in Greater Boston, the RFK Stadium redevelopment in D.C. and The St. James sports and entertainment complex in Springfield, Virginia.
Bisnow: What is your favorite part of your job?
Volanth: The ambitious people I get to work with every day. I am energized by helping our employees and clients accomplish their goals.
Bisnow: What is the worst job you ever had?
Volanth: When I was 16, I pumped gas at a Hess Station in Rochester, New York, in the dead of winter. As tough as the job was on those cold days, I’m glad I took it on because it taught me perseverance and how to make the most of every situation.
Bisnow: If you weren’t in commercial real estate, what would you do?
Volanth: I would be coaching sports in some capacity. It’s rewarding to see people grow and develop, and to foster a sense of teamwork.
Bisnow: What deal are you proudest of?
Volanth: It’s not a single deal but rather the diversification of Bohler’s work over the years. When I joined the firm over 25 years ago, we were primarily working on small retail projects. Now, we’re designing some of the biggest development projects in the country. It never gets old, every site is different.
Bisnow: What deal do you consider to be your biggest failure?
Volanth: My recent fixer-upper in South Bend, Indiana (Go Irish!). It was supposed to be a quick project, but it’s turned into a bit of a larger project.
Bisnow: What is your biggest pet peeve?
Volanth: Negativity. And an unnecessary "reply all."
Bisnow: What is your greatest extravagance?
Volanth: Family trips. My wife and I have six children ranging in age from 14 to 24, so a vacation just based on our size is an extravagance. I really value the experiences we share as a family and the chance to bring everyone together.
Bisnow: What motivates you?
Volanth: A challenge. I love working within a team to solve problems, and the excitement and energy that comes with realizing a solution together.
Bisnow: What advice do you wish you got when you started in CRE?
Volanth: Listen more and be more curious. Understand the why.
Bisnow: What is the biggest risk you have ever taken?
Volanth: Joining Bohler, which was a small firm with about two dozen employees at the time. I was working as a developer for Mobil Oil, and I was one of Bohler’s clients. I really felt that there was something unique about Bohler’s people and how they approached their work. It was a big risk, but I wanted to be a part of what they were doing. The risk paid off and now we’re a team of 700 people in 26 offices.
Bisnow: What keeps you up at night?
Volanth: Not a lot. With six kids, living in chaos is comfortable for me. I try to focus on the things I can control. Every day presents opportunities to course correct — to take something that wasn’t going well and turn it around.
Bisnow: What is your favorite place to visit?
Volanth: Our family getaway along the Tred Avon River on the Eastern Shore of Maryland.
Bisnow: Outside of work, what are you most passionate about?
Bisnow: What CRE trend do you think will have the most impact over the next few years?
Volanth: Rising construction costs are creating challenges across the development world. A lot of creative solutions are being tested to overcome these additional costs.
Bisnow: What would people be surprised to learn about you?
Volanth: In my spare time, I love to ride my Harley.
Bisnow: What do you want your legacy to be?
Volanth: Having a positive impact on people’s lives. It’s the small, daily interactions with people that contributes to this.