“Kyma Ganzer may not look like your traditional Preconstruction Manager, and her college major was anything but conventional, but she had tremendous initiative and experience. We saw the potential in her right away, and she has continued to be a shining star on our team,“ explained James LaRosa, CEO of LaRosa Groups.
Kyma is a petite, five-foot-tall weightlifter who majored in Women’s Studies and African American studies at Wesleyan University in Connecticut. How did she end up at LaRosa Groups?
Meet Kyma Ganzer
As a child, she loved to tap dance and pictured owning a dance studio. Her dance dreams dissolved early in her college career when she calculated paying back her college loans and the cost of starting a new business. Instead of focusing on her ultimate career, she followed the advice of her advisors and studied the subjects she loved. “The career decision will evolve,” they advised.
“Between the two majors, I wrote numerous papers and read a thousand pages a week. It was a rigorous schedule and created the outline of work ethic and organization for my future career path,” Kyma explained.
By the time Kyma finished college, she had been recruited by the credit card division of People’s Bank. Within days, she realized corporate America was not her ultimate niche.
She met people who were investing in real estate, and before her first anniversary at the bank, she bought a small apartment building that had been vacant for 30 years and required a complete renovation.
With no background or training, Kyma served as the general contractor for the renovation. Before long, she had the apartments fully renovated and rented. It was a great feeling; she could pay the mortgage, start paying off her student loans, and say goodbye to her first job in corporate America.
Kyma joined a previous coworker who had started a mortgage company. Within two years, she turned her rental building into condos and sold the units to the existing tenants. She bought multiple properties and became a realtor, selling the homes she renovated. It was a promising and financially rewarding career until 2007 when Kyma saw a shift in the real estate market and did her best to liquidate her holdings.
“The market changed drastically between 2007 and 2008, and I knew that I needed to work for someone else despite the reduction in income. Half of something is better than all of nothing,” Kyma rationalized.
She started to work for Diggs Construction in the comptroller’s office, was promoted multiple times, and went back to school to earn a degree in Construction Management at CCSU.
2014 was a pivotal year for Kyma. She earned her Master's degree, married, moved, and joined the LaRosa team as a Project Manager. Seven years later, she was asked to take on the role of Preconstruction Manager, a position held by Ron Penton, who was retiring.
“Kyma has the skillset required to do the job well,“ explained Ron Penton, who was the first person at LaRosa to hold the position of Preconstruction Manager. “She is a good listener and knows how to get along with a wide range of personalities, which is key when trying to get people with different agendas moving in the same direction.”
After four months of intense training, Kyma transitioned from Project Manager to Preconstruction Manager.
“Filling Ron’s shoes was huge. He had 30 years of experience in the industry and knew so many people. He introduced me to every possible person in his Rolodex, people from his past and current and potential clients,“ Kyma explained, “Having that soft launch before taking the position made a big difference.”
What is a Preconstruction Manager?
Before we focus on Kyma’s day-to-day responsibilities, it would be essential to define the role of the Preconstruction Manager:
“At LaRosa, preconstruction is a team effort that includes me, the project estimator, and the contract manager. Together, we work with the owner, design team, architect, and subcontractors,“ explained Kyma. “As Preconstruction Manager, I serve as the hub, managing the communication, schedules, and relationships between team members. My goal is to make sure the project's overall design meets both the budget, the owner's intent, and the municipality's guidelines, and our operations team is prepared to start construction once the financial closing occurs.”
A preconstruction manager is a multifaceted professional who combines technical expertise, project management skills, and interpersonal abilities to lay the groundwork (literally and figuratively) for successful construction projects. We are lucky to have Kyma on our team as Preconstruction Manager!
Kyma’s Day-to-Day Responsibilities as a Preconstruction Manager
Kyma is an early riser and starts her day by meditating, writing in her journal, and working out, which helps set her energy level for the day. By 7:00 am, she is already calling building departments. They are often understaffed, and many officials jumpstart their day by coming in early.
“In 2023, I had more than 100 permit applications approved in numerous cities and towns,” she commented.
Kyma spends 80% of her day on the phone and in meetings. Some are in person, while others are virtual. She often schedules onsite meetings to synchronize the logistics. Where are we putting the trailer? Where are the subs going to park? What might need to be done in terms of utilities? Do we need to open walls before construction to minimize surprises?
“Depending on the project, we are looking to mitigate unforeseen circumstances and be as efficient as possible with the time we have in preconstruction by getting ahead with material orders and working with the estimators to refine the numbers to meet the budget as well as the needs of the project,” Kyma explained.
As the Preconstruction Manager, Kyma is also responsible for community outreach, hosting events and job fairs to attract local subcontractors, and meeting the city’s set-aside requirements of hiring women-owned and minority businesses.
Kyma’s responsibilities often include visiting the building departments in person. Several departments within each municipality and the building department have to sign off on the permit applications. In her experience, "the squeaky wheel gets the grease."
“Taking the time to visit the different building departments builds long-term relationships and allows them to put a face to my name. It’s a strategy I learned from Ron Penton,” Kyma explained. “I also support their department charity drives and thank them after permits are issued. My hope is that in the future, I will be able to pick up the phone and get things done faster because I took the time to connect in person.”
The rest of her day is spent catching up on emails and returning phone calls. Sometimes, she has networking events or award ceremonies to attend after hours. If her day ends earlier than expected, she tries to meet her goal of 12,000 steps a day.
Her favorite part of her job is two milestones: The groundbreaking, which signifies the project is off to a start, and the ribbon cutting, which indicates the project has been successfully completed.
“Seeing the projects through from concept to reality is euphoric. Those moments of my career are imprinted on my memory for life. I remember the final walk-through for every project, even as project manager,“ stated Kyma. “As I look back, I can see how far I have come. It can literally be the same design, but with a different team and different subs, nothing is ever exactly the same. Each project is an opportunity to learn and grow. If there is a mistake, I learn from it, and that lesson comes up as an opportunity on the next project,” she added.
Kyma’s hobbies include raising her two rescue fur babies, fitness training, swimming, and traveling. She is a member of the Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Inc., which was founded in 1913 by 22 African American college-educated women committed to public service in local communities and is now the largest African American women’s organization in the world. She often volunteers for Habitat for Humanity, which connects her two worlds and allows her to give back while continuing to learn about the construction industry.
“In Connecticut, your reputation precedes you. It was important for me to align with a company like LaRosa that shares the same core values, and I am grateful to be part of their team of construction professionals,” Kyma remarks.
We’d like to thank Kyma for her outstanding work at LaRosa. To learn more about our core values as well as potential job openings, visit our website.