The Next Wave: Allen Furman
When a path was unclear, Allen Furman took action to pave his own way in the building industry. After creating his own major at UMass Amherst, Furman constructed hundreds of homes amidst Florida’s building boom, received his LEED Certification, and finally found his way to Cape Cod. Today, as a Project Manager at Cape Dreams Building and Design, he believes it is all about executing clients’ visions with care and cultivating lasting customer relationships.
CCH: What inspired you to pursue the building industry as a career?
AF: I have always known I wanted to be a builder. Growing up, my father put an addition on our home, and I was just taken by it. I went to University of Massachusetts in Amherst (UMass) for Civil Engineering and played football. The two don’t go hand-in-hand in terms of time requirements and responsibility. I ended up leaving football and realized that civil engineering wasn’t the type of building that I enjoyed. They didn’t have a Construction Management degree at UMass, so instead of transferring to a different college, I went through a department there where you can build your own degree. Through the Isenberg School of Management, I developed my own curriculum based on Construction Management. I knew what I wanted and made it work for my needs.
CCH: How did you settle on the Cape?
AF: My wife Susie grew up on the Cape, and I’m the “washashore.” I grew up in Chicopee. Directly out of college, I moved to Florida for the building boom. I got a job there as a project manager building very fast-paced communities. There would be an open field with a road, you would get a stack of permits and just begin. I built hundreds of homes down there in a very short period of time. A few years later, I got a job with Skanska building pharmaceutical laboratories. We ultimately knew that we wanted to raise a family on Cape Cod, so I got an opportunity out here and was able to get back into what I love doing— building homes. We moved into an old historic home in Harwich Center, which comes with its own challenges, but I have been working on it for about 10 years now.
CCH: What do you think stands out about Cape Dreams’ work?
AF: It’s super high quality. We don’t cut corners. If something is not right, we make it right. It’s how I believe a client and customer relationship should be, and it is how Paul van Steensel, President of Cape Dreams, believes it should be. It’s a great fit; Paul and I work well together.
CCH: Do you have a favorite project you have done so far?
AF: They all have their interesting aspects. I like things that are fairly undefined where I can work with a client to really make their home their own. I like plans that have creative freedoms for the client to engage. I use a 3D rendering program where I can fly a client through their home, room, or an elevation, and say, ‘this is what I am shooting for.’ I use that program because it is great for communication and helps people visualize a plan into a room.
CCH: What advice would you give to young professionals on the Cape?
AF: My best advice for anybody is, it is all about relationships with clients, trades, and suppliers. It comes down to being a good person. You have to build the relationships. The more relationships you build, the better off you’re going to be. You have to genuinely care.
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