Select Page

Carlos Flores fell off his bicycle and broke one of its wheels when he was 7 years old. His father, Juan, pulled out a wrench from his tool box and showed him how to fix it. At first, Carlos found the lessons from his construction worker father annoying, but as he learned more about the proper use of tools – from hammers to levels, cat’s paws to framing guns – Carlos discovered a love for working with his hands.

Carlos, 25, is one of LRE & Company’s newest members, having joined the team as a construction manager in February. He grew up in Lincoln (Placer County) after his family moved from Mexico when Carlos was just 1. He graduated from California State University, Sacramento in 2019 with a B.A. in Economics.

Can you tell us a little bit about your responsibilites as a construction manager?

I’m in charge of managing budget proposals before we begin any projects. I make sure all projects are built up to code, match the plan, match the budget. Sometimes we have delays, and part of my job is to ensure that we overcome those delays and get the project done on time. A lot of times that requires me working with several people – engineers, building departments, contractors, and even material distributors. I have to be a team player, or we won’t get anything done.

You wear a lot of hats on the job. Is it exciting knowing that you might be doing something completely different from one day to the next?

Oh, yeah. I work on a lot of different projects simultaneously for LRE, so a lot of times my attention is back and forth between projects. Some of them might not be under physical construction yet. To me pre-construction is one of the most difficult construction phases because I still don’t know 100 percent what we’re going to build on. But you can be creative with that. I have to make sure that everyone’s on the same page. I have to make sure the county, the contractors and everyone else is lined up and agree on the same idea when it comes to building something special.

You almost have to be at more than one place at a time. How does that work?

We have sites all over Northern California, and now that we are expanding to different states it’s getting more exciting to work on new construction projects in new territories. It’s exciting to be part of the company’s growth as it increases its presence.

When we’re in physical construction, I’m on the road more frequently. I like to see what’s been done, to make sure that the project is being done on time, and that everything is going smoothly. I’m not the type of person who leaves projects unattended and relies on the contractors to get it done. It’s a quality control issue  – you have to make sure everyone’s doing their job correctly, that everything’s up to code in order to pass building inspection. If the inspector is happy then we’re doing our job.

What is the most interesting aspect of your job?

I like that I get to add to the map, meaning whenever we leave this world and move on to a different life, whatever we build will be remembered. It’s nice to be able to tell someone, “Hey, I was part of the team that built this structure.” It’s a very special moment, a very special feeling knowing that you’ve created something that’s going to be a landmark for someone.

That being said, which project are you most proud of?

With LRE so far, it’s the big Gateway project in Eureka. We’re doing a lot of demolition before we begin construction. I’m excited about that one. It’s something that’s going to bring a lot of value to the community.

Where had you worked before LRE?

I’m still also a real estate developer. I like building spec homes, stuff like that. I really love development, but it can be a little slow. It takes months or even more than a year before you can make money. So I figured, hey, I want to join something that’s bigger than me, and I want to learn and expand my portfolio and my set of skills. So I went from mainly residential to working for LRE. We do full-time commercial work. It has been a challenge to transition. Now that I’ve learned commercial real estate, residential feels like a piece of cake. It’s like I’m on autopilot.

Are you enjoying these new challenges that LRE presents?

I like this fast-paced environment. This is why I joined LRE. Even though I have (residential) developments, I don’t like the slow pace and I’m not at peace when I’m not doing anything. My brain is going 24/7 – let’s go! I enjoy having more on my plate, I like challenges.

I like being part of something bigger than me. I like the fact that this is a big team, and I feel like a big player on a big team. That’s something very special for me, it’s very fulfilling. It’s almost as if you grew up playing a sport, and then you get invited to play on one of the big-league teams.

How did you get in this line of work?

I grew up in construction. My dad had been in construction since I can remember. On weekends when I was little, he would teach me about tools. It became second nature. When I went to university at Sac State, I thought about getting a degree in engineering or architecture. But the way school is set up, it was going to take too long and I wouldn’t be able to afford it. So I ended up majoring in economics and I earned my degree in four years. But I already had construction experience to back me up, and that’s how we ended up here.