Winning the Interview with Kelly DeWees

Kelly DeWees panelist for Winning the Interview

In preparation for our webinar on September 14, 2022, we met with Kelly DeWees, Project Executive for Jay Paul Company, and learned a little more about what she looks for in a partner for a potential project. 

About Kelly DeWees

Kelly began her career in Las Vegas as a project engineer for general contractor Perini Building Company. She found her passion for high-end hospitality while working on The Ritz Carlton at Lake Las Vegas. For several years, she contributed to some of Las Vegas's most notable and acclaimed hotels, restaurants, spas, nightclubs, and casinos. She successfully managed the build and opening of Encore Tower before directing the Design-Build Cap Ex Team at Wynn and Encore. She later helped transition the construction management department to a general contractor as the QE on the Nevada Contractors License, B Unlimited. 

 Kelly relocated to San Francisco in 2013 for her role with Jay Paul Company. Throughout her 24-year tenure, Kelly has been privileged to be mentored by the industry’s top professionals and has dedicated her time and talent to work on extraordinary projects that raise the bar for luxury real estate. 

What Kelly Loves About Development

Even after 24 years, Kelly still loves development and construction. "I love the psychology of how and why people move through a space and creating amazing experiences for people." This passion also presents itself in the types of companies she works for and who she chooses to work with, "I built my career working for people that don't cut corners. I enjoy working for thoughtful owners that care about the end product and will stand up and say, 'this is the best.'"  

What Makes for a Good Partner?

With Kelly, being direct and honest are key components of what she looks for in a potential design or construction partner, "When I sit in on a presentation or a pitch for a new product, I am really interested in how the team conveys the information. I don't want to be sold."  In addition, she really values potential partners that do their research prior to meeting with her and know what her team is looking for. She also likes it when potential partners admit what they didn't know about a project and what they learned from it, "We know every single project didn't always go well. Finding partners that are honest about what they learned and how they corrected the problem helps to create trust from the beginning." 

 Also, Kelly says it's important for consultants to do their research prior to presenting to her firm, "We perform above industry standards. Do not present a team that isn't interested in achieving that level of performance and don't bid on our job if you don't want to be that kind of partner." 

How the Good Partners Set Themselves Apart

From Kelly's perspective, good consultants and contractors really know the details. "I love when a partner really knows the details. For example, when it comes to the general contractor, it's great when a contractor gets field-staff perspectives and expertise included in the presentations before coming to the shortlist meeting with me and my team. It always feels good to know a contractor has taken it to the next level – not just a high level. In that instance, you can tell the general contractor really thought it through and their numbers are more solid. They've gone deeper than that first level of takeoff." 

Kelly says the kind of meeting she has with a design consultant or contractor that has done more research is evident from the beginning, "You can tell they've had meetings and discussed the project right away. When we meet with them, they bring up issues they've uncovered and they bring up ideas on how they can go about solving those issues. That kind of effort stands out."  

Interested in Working with Clients Like Jay Paul Company?

If you or your firm is interested in working with clients like Jay Paul Company, make sure you connect with her team at the shortlist presentation, the bottom line for Kelly is, "Did we connect, or did they just talk to me for an hour?"  
If you want to hear more from Kelly and ideas on how to win more work with clients like Jay Paul Company, check out our webinar on September 14th at 1:00 PM ET. Register here.