Dave Margolius, executive vice president of the New York Metro Region, provided unique perspectives on 2021 in New York Real Estate Journal as part of their Year in Review that underline the strength and resiliency of Shawmut’s people and culture, commitment to client service excellence, and ability to adapt. Read the Q&A below.

What was the biggest lesson you learned while working during the pandemic? Change has been intense throughout the pandemic. We had to have an increased emphasis on not only how we prepare our people for change and adapt to it, but also on how we align around and embrace change. It forced us to come together in more impactful ways. We also saw the strength and resiliency of our people and of New Yorkers. The tough times brought out the best in our people—in how we continued to show up for our clients, in how we bonded together to support each other, and in how we never gave up. I love the grit of New Yorkers!

How has your working environment changed over the last year? Most things about our working environment changed over the last year, both on our construction sites, where we had to quickly adapt to social distancing, contact tracing, and increased sanitation as well as in our offices, where we were working completely remote for many months. We rose to the challenge of connecting and nourishing our employees amid the pandemic. It was important for us to reexamine what connection looks like, knowing our people need different things and how we continue to cultivate a culture that supports everyone bringing their best self to work, in whatever that meant for them. This will continue to evolve.

What was your greatest professional accomplishment or most notable project, deal, or transaction in 2021? Our teams worked throughout the pandemic and delivered successful projects, despite the hurdles thrown at them. I’m immensely proud of how our people came together and fought tirelessly to put our clients above themselves. At a time when no one wanted to leave the safety of their homes, our teams left their families to work day-in and day-out to deliver for our clients. We’ve always said our people are our strength, and that has proven tenfold throughout the pandemic. I am humbled and thankful for what our people accomplished in 2021. We will never forget what our industry gave during these unprecedented times.

What are your predictions for your industry in 2022? 2022 will bring its own set of challenges for sure, as some of the same challenges will linger from 2021. I do believe we will find our groove for the new normal of work and how we apply flexibility across our teams and company. Also, in many ways, the pandemic thrust technology forward in our industry, and I see more adoption of technologies that will make our work safer, more efficient, and sustainable.

What is the best advice you received in 2021, and who was it from? “Eat at a local restaurant tonight. Get the cream sauce. Have a cold pint at 4 o’clock in a mostly empty bar. Go somewhere you’ve never been. Listen to someone who you think may have nothing in common with you. Order the steak rare. Eat an oyster. Have a negroni. Have two. Be open to a world where you may not understand or agree with the person next to you but have a drink with them anyways. Eat slowly. Tip your server. Check in on your friends. Check in on yourself. Enjoy the ride.” — Anthony Bourdain