“There is something special about Hobart and William Smith, something special about the history and culture, in which everyone is interested in and committed to the growth of the student as an individual,” says HWS Trustee Tom S. Bozzuto ’68, chair and CEO of the Bozzuto Group, a family-owned integrated real estate services organization based in Maryland.
Since its inception in 1998, the Bozzuto Group has been a part of that investment in Hobart and William Smith students, recruiting dozens of Statesmen and Herons to its property management and construction teams. Many of these team members began as interns; in 2014, one quarter of the 24 summer interns hired were rising HWS seniors.
“When you’re hiring people right out of college, you’re looking for people who’ve been taught to think, people with the intellectual tools to absorb and understand new ideas,” Bozzuto says. “The HWS people that we hire, without exception, have fallen into that category.”
As the HWS students and alums undertake internships and lay the foundation of their careers, the Bozzuto Group’s close connection with the Colleges yields mutually beneficial results, explains Bozzuto Campus Recruitment Manager Marlena Buckalew Grozholz.
“At Bozzuto, our strategy for campus recruiting is to build relationships with a core group of universities and HWS is at the top of our list,” says Buckalew Grozholz. “Prior to arriving, students are aware of our brand and values and most likely have friends or classmates who have worked for us. Tom’s affiliation with Hobart and William Smith has helped our recruiting efforts tremendously and made us an employer of choice.”
The Bozzuto Group, which will soon break ground on its first project in Boston, is the recipient of numerous national awards and recognitions, most recently named a Finalist for the 2015 Global Awards for Excellence, for its Monroe Street Market in Washington, D.C. In 2013, Bozzuto himself received the lifetime achievement award from The Urban Land Institute’s (ULI) Baltimore District Council. He is also the recipient of the Freddie Mac Builder of the Year award, and has been awarded the Environmental Builder of the Year by the Maryland-National Capital Building Industry Association (MNCBIA).
The company’s core values — concern, creativity, passion, and the pursuit of perfection — stem first and foremost from Bozzuto’s parents, he says, adding that “one of the benefits of owning your own company or being majority stockholder, is that you have the ability to create it around your own value system. Hobart and William Smith had a lot to do with shaping our values. The behaviors and contributions of every person defines what an organization is, and the Colleges truly nurture and grow the individual capabilities of each student. At Hobart and William Smith, it’s an education and an active experience where you work with faculty to develop your best self.”
Below HWS interns share their stories:
Molly McElgunn ’15: Summer Program Intern*
Major: Anthropology. “My anthropological studies throughout my four years at HWS have fully prepared me to continue and develop my career at Bozzuto. Through my research method class, I learned a variety of ways to interview people, as well as how to analyze the information gathered from the interview in order to answer a particular question. During my internship, I needed to be able to find out what it was exactly my clients were looking for in a home and find ways of matching their needs to what I had available in the building.”
Why Bozzuto: “They truly care about their employees and hold each one to a very high standard of excellence. The company core values of concern, creativity, passion, and perfection were also something that drew me to it.”
A Day on the Job: “I had been working with this young, professional couple who was debating between our building and a competitor’s for a few weeks. The prices between the two buildings were pretty much the same, so I knew that I had to sell the experience better than my competitor. After taking them on countless tours and revisiting the apartment countless times, I was able to finish the sale. When the whole process was over, my property manager pulled me into her office to congratulate me on a job well done. It was at that moment that I felt as if I wasn’t merely the intern, but a vital member of the team.”
Chelsea Maloney ’14: Sales and Marketing Associate
Major: English and Women’s Studies. “Being able to use vital critical thinking skills, as well as come up with new and unique ideas for our community are imperative to this job. HWS trained me to harness those skills and implement them at Bozzuto.”
Why Bozzuto: “I chose the Bozzuto Group after realizing how much other Bozzuto employees truly loved their jobs and the company as a whole. The company culture, the benefits, and the opportunity to grow were just too amazing to turn down.”
A Day on the Job: “I spend most of my days touring prospects throughout The Winthrop in Towson and help find the perfect apartment for them. I also run a lot of our social media sites and marketing sites, including Facebook, Instagram, YouTube and Craigslist. I’ve learned all about ‘reach’ and ‘hits’ and how to market to as many people as possible, and how to turn those hits into something beneficial for both the people we are reaching and our community. It’s been really rewarding to see the different campaigns I’ve come up with be successful.”
Derek K. Niziankiewicz ’12: Leasing Manager
Major: Anthropology and Latin American Studies. “Almost regardless of the path of your education at HWS, you develop the experience and skills that eventually translate into success in the workplace. While a more technical education may prepare you for the workplace in the next three to five years, Hobart and William Smith Colleges give you the skills, experience and the network to succeed your entire career.”
Why Bozzuto: “The Bozzuto Group has a reputation in the property management industry for delivering a premium product without sacrificing the corporate culture that makes it such a unique company. Combined with the opportunities for growth, it made Bozzuto Group the obvious choice when deciding where to start a career in real estate.”
A Day on the Job: “I am primarily responsible for the management of a four-person leasing team and oversight of revenue management and daily pricing at a 500-unit residential building with two commercial spaces. The most rewarding part of my work is the office atmosphere and interaction with my colleagues. Bozzuto Group fosters a positive environment that makes coming to work an enjoyable experience. With the support of my mentors in the company, however, every day is a chance to learn something new about real estate.”
Blake Nicholson ’05: Property Manager
Major: Economics and Environmental Studies. “My majors provided me with a well-rounded education and a valuable skill set. I continue to value the problem-solving skills and strong work ethic learned at Hobart and William Smith.”
Why Bozzuto: “After meeting with Tom for coffee on campus, he set me up with recruiters at Bozzuto’s corporate office in Greenbelt, Md. I’ve been with the company ever since and Tom continues to be a mentor. At Bozzuto, I overcome challenges and solve problems every day. What I can say about this industry in dealing with people and their homes is that no day is the same. There is always something new that comes up, new things to learn and new people to interact with that keep things fresh.”
A Day on the Job: “I’ve been fortunate to have experience managing several Bozzuto communities throughout my career. In 2013, I was promoted to manage the physical and fiscal performance of Union Wharf, a luxury apartment community composed of about 300 apartment homes and 4,500 sq. ft. of retail in Baltimore, Md. Union Warf has been the recipient of numerous awards including 2014 Building of the Year by the National Association of Home Builders, Delta Associates Best Baltimore Apartment 2013, Multi-Housing News Excellence Awards and 2014 Best New Mid-Rise.”
Beyond the Bozzuto Group’s support of the Colleges’ emphasis on experiential learning, Bozzuto lends his support to students and to the HWS campus itself in a number of other capacities. On the occasion of their 40th wedding anniversary, he and his wife, Barbara, established the Thomas S. Bozzuto ’68 Endowed Scholarship Fund. The scholarship supports academically qualified and financially deserving students, who, like the scholarship’s namesake, demonstrate leadership qualities through their involvement in the life of the Colleges.
While at HWS, Bozzuto was a member of the football team, Little Theatre, the Hobart Student Association, the Druid Society and the president of the Hobart student body. He worked in Saga and graduated with a B.A. in English. He also holds a master’s degree in metropolitan studies from the Maxwell School at Syracuse University.
A regular Reunion volunteer, Bozzuto was recognized by his peers with the 2008 Alumni Citation, which was awarded with gratitude and admiration for his longstanding engagement. He has served as a member of the Board of Trustees since 1999 and as a participant in the Executive-in-Residence Program. He took a chief role in supporting the Colleges’ capital campaign and was the lead donor in the renovation of the Colleges’ boathouse, named in honor of his father, Charles Bozzuto.