Focus Feature: Sheila Eustace

11 November 2021

Focus' newest team member, Sheila Eustace, joined the team as a Development Manager and is currently involved in the 203 S. Marion project which is scheduled to begin in the coming months. Prior to joining Focus, Sheila was an Assistant Project Manager with the Walsh Group where she focused on multifamily construction. We sat down with Sheila to learn more about her experience, her perspective and what she brings to the team.

As a Development Manager, your primary responsibility is to see a project from concept to close out, what excites you most about that job description? What do you see as the biggest challenge?

I am thrilled to be back in a sphere that allows me to flex my creative muscles. The decisions we make to program amenities, select the unit finish, and tie the design to the local community will have a direct impact on the experience of future tenants. I am most excited to help drive the schedule, to be on a team who does everything they can in the sake of efficiency.

My biggest hurdle will be navigating the lender solicitation and partnerships. I also have a goal to master the proforma some day, and I am eager to the tackle these new challenges. I know that the Focus team is one of the best of the best and I am so thrilled to be learning here on this team.

Prior to joining Focus as a Development Manager, you were on the construction side of the business. How do you feel that experience gives you an advantage? What about the transition was most appealing for you?

From interior design, to architecture, to general contracting, and now to ownership, the experience of wearing different hats in the building process gives me an advantage to see the perspective of each party. In my time in design, to general contracting I observed that the final decision makers of the design were the paying owners, it’s always been a goal of mine to be the developer but I wanted to build a toolbox from the design and general contracting spheres that gives a unique perspective. I am excited to learn from a new set of experienced team members and consultants as we all drive these projects to be useful, beautiful and cost effective.

You were trained as an architect, how does that training translate in your role at Focus?

I think that my background in architecture keeps my intentions in a development pure. Focus is about creating spaces for people to be inspired. We operate within a budget and with a commitment to lenders, but a major goal is to create a space people are excited to experience. My design background helps balance the scales of value engineering while keeping the integrity of the design intent. I love learning new ways to save money with minimal impact to value. It’s about what decisions impact the cost versus the experience.

Outside of Focus you are an avid runner and a member of the Chicago Area Runners Association whose mission goes well beyond running. Talk a little bit about your involvement with the organization and why you’re passionate about it.

I have met so many different people from all over the world through CARA – Europe, Asia, South America. You learn so much from people who have different backgrounds, cultures, and opinions from you. And with CARA you get to make new friends while training for a marathon. It’s a very enriching organization to me and keeps me healthy and social especially through the winter months.

Anything else you love to do outside of work?

Traveling. I have been to 19 countries and counting. I am also a first generation American, my family on my father's side live in England and so I am very lucky to have loved ones to visit across the pond.

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