Nik Bandak is the president of Bandak Project Management, a company he started in June of 2020 after a good deal of external pressure from friends, clients and his network. Nik’s career path began not long after graduating from Saint Mary’s College of California in 2008 with a degree in financial services. Nik worked in the Bay Area as a laborer, carpenter, project manager and then estimator with a concrete subcontractor. Realizing he wanted international experience, Nik moved to the United Arab Emirates to work for Bechtel on the Khalifa Port and Industrial Zone. After getting engaged, Nik and his future wife, Kelly, decided to move back to Southern California where he was hired in the Construction Management division of a small San Diego-based commercial real estate firm. Nik, Kelly and their twin sons currently live in Southern California.
How do you describe your role to people who are not in the industry?
Bandak: We assist companies and individuals in creating comprehensive and effective real estate strategies, then manage the execution of the strategy starting with real estate negotiations then the design through engineering, permitting and construction. At the moment, we focus on four distinct markets: science, technology, office and multifamily/affordable housing.
Tell us something interesting about your company?
Bandak: Since starting BPM, I’ve been hesitant to call it “my company” because while my last name is in the company name and I hold the risk for our actions, the team is the driving force behind our success. That said, interesting characteristics of BPM include the diversity of project types and flexibility of our expertise.
Our clients operate across multiple industries and are at various stages in their growth, from the startup life science firm to the established public company we read about in The Wall Street Journal for pursuing a cure to some of the world’s most daunting diseases, or from the smaller family development office to the national development firm.
We invest quite a bit of time and energy in ensuring our team touches projects across multiple industries. For example, a team member might start the day at the site of a future multistory affordable housing project in a downtown setting, then close the day out on a design call strategizing the infrastructure of a future largescale clean room manufacturing facility that will produce COVID testing kits. We try to be flexible in service and expertise while acting as subject matter experts in our respective fields.
What can you tell us about any interesting projects you’re working on?
Bandak: Because we work with several science and technology companies, the company names and their modality are confidential. However, two interesting projects come to mind. The first is a diagnostics company that received special approval to produce COVID testing kits in response to the pandemic. We managed a large-scale project, phased the delivery of spaces in a way that successfully started manufacturing testing kits within three months of starting the real estate search. We ultimately delivered the entire project within seven months of kick-off to find a new site. A major undertaking with a significantly impactful outcome.
The other project is a technology company operating in the automotive industry. Their area of focus is incredibly creative, and they are constantly evolving their product to push the envelope. To be part of the process to deliver a project that will push an entire industry into the next chapter is inspiring.
What is your proudest professional moment?
Bandak: I’m certainly proud of certain project outcomes, or working in the Middle East at a young age, but I would have to say starting BPM and having the opportunity to create a platform that supports my team’s personal and professional growth. Final answer.
Before we let you go, let’s get away from the office with two final questions. First, tell us something about you not many people know?
That’s a good one. Both of my parents immigrated to the United States, and neither really spoke English when they arrived. They are two very impressive people. They endured circumstances I will never have to endure because they made sacrifices, or decisions, to help my brother and sister have the opportunities we had or have.
And finally, what do you do to unwind when you are not working?
Bandak: The early phase of any company is busy, but when I’m not working with project team members or on a jobsite, I’m with my family at the beach. My wife, Kelly, and I have three-year-old twins, so “unwinding” isn’t really in the cards these days, but setting that aside, I love to spend time with Kelly and the kids, read, and work on our 1967 Volkswagen Bus Westfalia.