Long Island Business News - August 4, 2023
While finishing her four-year degree at the Fashion Institute of Technology, Kaci Szabo began a commercial business supply company with her aunt, partnering with her throughout college to see through the startup of GKS Industries, which her aunt still runs today. After graduation, Szabo began working at Tishman Speyer in Manhattan as the assistant property manager. She subsequently accepted a job with JLL on Long Island as the property manager of a class office building that was previously in receivership.
A year later, the building was sold to Damianos Realty Group. Damianos came into the building and completed a full renovation of the building in 2019 to ensure that it matched the rest of the firm’s portfolio and Szabo found being part of the team inspiring. In December 2020, she was promoted to assistant director of property management and in October 2021, she was promoted again to the position of director of property management.
Transferring out of New York City to Long Island was pivotal to her career, and she says, “This was one of the best things to happen to me Working with Damianos in Suffolk County brings so much more fulfillment, knowing that I’m working where I live. We participate in charity events for the community and even some of our tenants live in the same town as I do. It’s been a great seven years working on Long Island and I wouldn’t change any of it.”
One of the things she loves best about being in the commercial real estate industry is that no two days are alike. She jokes that, “Just when you think you’ve seen or heard it all, there is something that surprises you. In this industry, you will never be bored, and I never am. At Damianos, property management isn’t just property management, we play a role in the construction aspect as well, which is a whole other field that has been exciting and refreshing to learn and expand on.”
Szabo’s father has worked in the commercial real estate business for over 30 years, and she says that watching him move up quickly through the ranks from the bottom inspired her to persevere to do the same and become director before the age of 30. She is equally inspired by her mother, who “was the director of our household, raising and managing the dynamics of three children, making me want that life, too. I’ve always dreamed of being a parent and thankfully, this year that dream will come true. I’m aspiring to have the best of both worlds.”
Szabo notes that being in the construction and property management field people are always surprised to hear that she attended the Fashion Institute of Technology. “I majored in advertising and marketing and loved my college experience there,” she says. “Though I may have gone to school for advertising, my whole family has always been in the commercial real estate industry in property management, construction and engineering. I joke that I was brainwashed all my life to be in this industry, and I wouldn’t change it.”