The Keeping it Real series is your chance to hear from Allen & Shariff staff on life, lessons, and leadership, straight from the trenches. Sometimes literally.
Name and Title: Paul Messineo, Business Development Manager
Office location: Pittsburgh, PA
Years at Allen & Shariff: 10 years
Describe something from your past (school, work experience, a mentor) that most influenced you to become a business development manager?
During my first year at a small engineering company, I noticed that 75% of our projects came from only three companies. I mentioned to our company president that we may want to look for additional clients. He agreed and said, “You can help me look for these clients and do engineering design too, but you don’t get any increase in salary. Thanks for volunteering.”
What’s the one skill that you would say is essential to being a great engineer?
The three-fold ability to ask questions, listen to the answers, and implement what you have learned.
What is the most innovative advancement you’ve seen since you first started your career? How has it affected the industry?
CAD. When I started, most plans were hand-drawn—only large companies had access to CAD, and they were just starting to use it. Now, with CAD available to everyone, it is so easy to change plans compared to the hand-drawn method.
Favorite sports team?
Pittsburgh Steelers. Sorry Ravens fans.
Allen & Shariff just celebrated its 25th anniversary. What do you think has given this organization its staying power?
We truly care about our clients. We consider them our friends and we don’t want to let our friends down.
What’s the #1 “rookie mistake” you see in those just starting out their career in your field? Explain.
Being afraid to ask questions. That’s the only way to learn. People really enjoy helping others understand something.
What’s the single most important ingredient when it comes to a successful client relationship?
Creating friendships achieved through trust, which is earned by consistently helping others.
Do you have a personal hero? Someone that really inspires you in your professional or personal life?
My father. He is 82, and he has always been there for me. It’s amazing what he has accomplished during his life: He played offense and defense lines for Northwestern University, bench pressed 600 lbs, attained a 7th degree black belt, was inducted into the Western PA Sports Hall of Fame, led as one of the presidents of a $600 million construction company, and earned an honorary PhD at Carlow University.
How would you describe the company culture at Allen & Shariff?
Friendly and helpful. When you go to work each week, there are two questions that you should ask yourself: Do you like the people you work with? And, do you have a passion for what you do? My answer to both is yes.
What book(s) are on your nightstand right now?
Give & Take by Adam Grant, How to Win Friends & Influence People by Dale Carnegie, and Secret Stories of Walt Disney World by Jim Korkis.