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A Discussion With Jared D’Argenio on Identifying the Right Career Path

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Jared D’Argenio is a highly successful construction consultant currently residing in Delray Beach, Florida. As a primary consultant for MEP World Group, D’Argenio, and his team, work to discover innovative design solutions to improve existing construction methods. During his time with the company, he has been instrumental in the design of graphene-based technologies and his current focus is on improving the performance of items often subject to corrosion. As a self-driven and forward-thinking individual, D’Argenio is helping to transform the construction industry.

 Why did you decide to create your own business?

I started my consulting company almost twenty years ago because I didn’t want to work for other people. I often find that companies, especially the larger they get, follow a defined set of procedures and protocols, which in some instances are helpful, but in other instances hold them back because they’re too large to pivot. I believe that great innovation comes from the ability to learn from your mistakes, listen to your employees and pivot. 

What do you love most about the industry you are in?

It encompasses so many different avenues because everything you see, touch, or feel has been constructed in some manner. There’s no limitation to the structures or problems we can solve. It’s an extremely wide field that has lots of applications for us to continue to innovate. 

How do you motivate others?

I’m terrible at motivating others. To be honest, I am not a people person. I am not good at leading teams.  I ‘m better at creating the products that other teams will then follow and sell. I’m not a salesman. I work best as part of a small team of people with similar skill sets.  

How has your company grown from its early days to now?

My consulting company started in the IT industry twenty years ago, and it has gone through several iterations, from IT to general business consulting to now the construction industry. 

Where do you get your inspiration from?

I think I was born with it. I’m mechanical by nature. I hate this description, but it fits me well: I’m extremely handy. There is not much I can’t fix, reverse-engineer, or identify the problem. I may not be able to fix them all, but I’m pretty good at figuring out what’s wrong, and if I can’t, I’m pretty good at calling in someone who can. 

Who has been a role model to you and why?

My father. He and I are very much the same, very methodical and very organized. He was self-employed for the majority of his life until he retired. He taught me to not just follow along, and one of his famous quotes was, “If it was easy, everybody would do it.” 

How do you maintain a solid work life balance? 

This is a problem for me to some degree, but I take it in spurts. There’ll be periods of time when I’ll work twenty hours a day, and then there are days when I completely shut everything off and focus on my girlfriend and daughter. 

What traits do you possess that makes a successful leader?

My willingness to research on my own and not just take direction from other people has helped me to do well. I won’t just take your word for it. Trust but verify. 

What suggestions do you have for someone starting in your industry?

A lot of people say to me, “How do you do what you do?” I don’t know. I never know where the next client is going to come from but thank God they always have. I would say people should build and maintain personal relationships and stay in touch as much as possible, because you never know when one of those relationships may be someone you need to lean on. 

What is one piece of advice that you have never forgotten?

Don’t ever accept that you can’t do something. As a highly motivated individual I’ve always been able to accomplish whatever I set my mind to. 

What is your biggest accomplishment? 

My ability to overcome preconceived notions. I like to surprise people where I can. I am always working to improve myself both personally and professionally. 

What’s one piece of advice you would give to others? 

Do something that you love rather than seek a career only based on what the monetary value of that career may be. I don’t feel like I ever work. What I do is not work to me. There is not one speck of dirt on my boots or one bead of sweat that I sweat that is not thoroughly enjoyed. I don’t have to report to a mundane job doing the same thing over and over.  I have very few days that are the same as the one before. That’s far more important than money to me. 

What is the biggest life lesson you have learned?

Believe in yourself and not others. 

Outside of work, what defines you as a person? 

My daughter and my relationships with my family are very important to me. Plus, I’m an avid deep sea fisherman, and I love to cook. 

Where do you see you and your company in 5 years? 

Probably right where I am today. Regardless of any success that may or may not come, money will not stop me from doing what I love, which is innovating.  Money is just a placeholder, it’s not the reason. I do what I do because it makes a difference and the people that I’m surrounded by have the same theories that I do, and we all want to innovate because we can make things better. One of the worst things in life is wasted talent. If you’ve got the ability to make change – even if no one recognizes it, but you fulfill something personally within yourself – I believe it’s worth it to keep going. 

Explain the proudest day of your professional life. 

Completing my first massive IT installation. To take raw space that has no IT infrastructure and turn it into a complex network, including all the wiring and switching and racks and mounts that are all required to allow businesses to thrive, their telephone systems, their computer systems, was an incredible experience. And the look you get from a business owner when they see this huge obstacle in front of them, and wonder how is this blank space ever going to be functional? When you wire it all and you turn the whole thing on and you hand them the keys to their network, and they are just blown away. I always tell people, you know that closet in your office that has all that stuff that nobody knows what it does? I know what all of that does.

CEO of Penske Media Group. Experienced Content Editor with a demonstrated history of working in the newspaper industry. Spoken on stages around the globe - NYU, US Embassy, P&G Toronto, and much more.

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