Amy Bradac on the Importance of Client Connection

Armed with experience from multiple angles of the building industry, Amy Bradac sought to prove the capabilities of her own successful firm

Though officially established in 2013, Amy Bradac first had the vision—and the name—of her real estate construction management firm, Bradac Co, when she was just five years old. While branding professionals offered her alternatives when she founded Bradac Co, she opted to keep the name, paying homage to her childhood dream of eventually owning an architecture business.

She began her career in architecture but after six years determined she didn’t have enough exposure to the day-to-day details of construction. “I found there were multiple ways of putting things together, and as an architect, I didn’t really know how to optimize my detailing for it to be built most efficiently,” she says. “I wanted to know how changing my drawing ever so slightly, changing the aesthetic only a little, could maybe make it a million times easier to put together. You just don’t get that kind of build experience in an office.”

Amy Bradac, CEO of Bradac Co Portrait by Miles Bianchi

This fueled her decision to take a job working for a general contractor. What was supposed to be a short-term stint for Bradac to hone her building skills turned into seven years as a project manager at a highly regarded small contractor in the Bay Area with a focus on repeat clients.

As a contractor, she found that she often had the ability to connect deeply with clients and understand their goals, allowing her to anticipate client needs effectively. Her experience as an architect also helped her understand the designer’s perspective and bridge communication gaps between different disciplines on projects. Recognizing that her unique blend of experience would be valuable to owners, she decided to explore a role as a construction manager.

As her business got off the ground, it did so with Bradac possessing the architect/builder/project manager trifecta of skills and experience that she feels differentiates her firm from others in the San Francisco Bay area. She then cultivated a small staff that all came from architecture, construction, and engineering backgrounds, and found herself pleasantly surprised by how well her team was able to find common ground with their expanding clientele.

Customer experience is a key factor for Bradac Co, and she doesn’t shy away from candor to ensure the best possible outcome. “If the client says they want something next week, and I know a week isn’t enough time for the team to do a good job, I definitely will speak up,” Bradac explains. “I’ll always remain the owners’ advocate, but I might shed some light on areas where expectations should be adjusted.”

An aerial rendering of the Mission Bay Uber headquarters. Courtesy of SHoP Architects

Bradac Co caught an early break when, within its first year of business, she beat out several competitors for a then-fledgling client that has since become a dominant force in the transportation network industry. Bradac says they initially built out 90,000 square feet of office space for this client; that quickly led to multiple projects in multiple buildings. The company’s next headquarter move is its biggest yet—four brand-new buildings, adding up to one million square feet, set to open in 2020.

“I pinch myself on a daily basis,” Bradac admits, elaborating on how grateful she is to be granted opportunities for larger buildouts such as the new campus. “I ended up really understanding the clients from the start, which allowed us to do a great job for them, so they have given us the amazing opportunity to grow with the projects.”

This green wall, designed by Atelier Cho Thompson for Goodwater Capital, is part of an ongoing quest for sustainable opportunities in the office. Amy Bradac is driven to keep her firm ahead of the technological curve while maintaining a nurturing atmosphere for both her team and its clients.
Photo by Alicia Cho

As Bradac Co flourishes and diversifies—with yet another very high-profile client from the Bay area ramping up activity—Bradac continues to further develop the management style that distinguishes her firm from the competition. From its flexible office culture to its ongoing quest for sustainable and accessible continuing education opportunities for employees, she is driven to keep her firm ahead of the technological curve while maintaining a nurturing atmosphere for both her team and its clients. One important way she does this is to always find out what the client cares most about and make it her primary goal—even if the requests prove to be unexpected challenges. “A client might say, ‘I know you just built this, but we need to scrap it and start all over,’” Bradac cites as an example. “I tend to respond with ‘OK, let’s do it,’ where others might say ‘What? I just built that!’”

It all adds up to what she feels has become the most important core value of Bradac Co, six years in: a sense of partnership. “Most bigger firms have an established way of doing things, but we’re so little; we work right alongside you and can be more flexible and responsive … working so closely means your goals become our goals. I think that sets us apart.”

AlfaTech has been providing engineering design services, technology, and energy solutions to the built environment for over 30 years. We are proud to be involved with exciting clients on landmark projects such as Uber, and honored to work with leading firms such as Bradac Co.

“Flexibility and people-centric design were tenets of RMW’s partnership with Bradac Co, and Uber on their Mission Bay campus project. Our collaboration propelled RMW’s design approach and enable thoughtfully crafted experiences for each user in each building’s tasked focused spaces.” -Terry Kwik, Principal, RMW architecture & interiors