Raffi Asatoorian

Business Development Manager

  • Urban Engineers of New York, P.C.
  • Member, Public Relations Committee
SMPS New York is very fortunate to have February’s Member of the Month as part of our organization. Serving as a business development manager for Urban Engineers, Raffi Asatoorian brings years of experience and knowledge to our chapter His ability to relate with people and understand our industry is a true asset. He has also been a welcome addition to the SMPS Public Relations committee as well as a familiar face at many SMPS New York events. Let’s read below as Raffi has shared some of his thoughts and ideas. Where are you from originally and what brought you to New York City? I was born and raised in the suburbs of the Nation’s Capital, Potomac, Maryland, where I lived and worked for over 25 years; I guess you could say that I was a “beltway brat” as a result of my interest in our political system; I have maintained that interest throughout my career. I lived in Wisconsin for a number of years, attending the University of Wisconsin ~ La Crosse, where I was driven by my business administration classes, and where I ultimately completed a degree in Communications, with a focus on Public Relations and Organizational communications. During this time, I continued to exercise my civic interest, interning and volunteering my time for a local Congressman.

After finishing up in Wisconsin, and to further my political interests and activities, I begin looking for work in that area; soon after, I was recruited by a California State Senator who was running for Congress in Los Angeles county where I worked on issues that impacted the people of his Senate district during the day, and in the evening, volunteered on his campaign team, working tirelessly on what was the largest Congressional race in the country at the time. Ultimately, the people elected him to office, where he still serves. Soon after, I transitioned to his U.S. House of Representatives district team, where I was involved in issues related to Transportation, Science, and Economic prosperity in the district.

I later left the Congressman’s office and took a job as Director of Public Relations with a national political lobby office that focused on grassroots activism; I helped run their Western Region offices. In early 2003, I decided to move back east, and relocated to the New York metro area where I have been ever since.

[expand title=”Read the rest of the article here…”] Have you always worked in the A/E/C industry? If not, what type of work did you do previously? Shortly after settling in New York, I took a job with Fluor, a Fortune 500 engineering firm, where I worked as a business administrator and assisted in reconciling accounts in an effort to close their New York City offices. This was not the first time that I had been exposed to the A/E/C industry, but it was the first time I was exposed to the inner workings of running an engineering company in New York City. Through this process, I was introduced to Urban Engineers, a 50-year-old company with headquarters in Philadelphia. At the time, they had been making strides to open a New York City office to complement their over 40 years’ presence in the State, with an office in Buffalo, and 10 other offices in the mid-Atlantic. I took advantage of this great “start-up” opportunity, and have since been developing Urban’s brand, chasing business opportunities, and developing relationships in this competitive city.

I’m driven by opportunity, and I’m always looking for the next challenge; I truly find the work to be fascinating, the margins a bit challenging, but thankfully, over the course of the last 10 years, we have grown the operations from a 3 person business development team, to more than 40 professionals in New York metro region, working on various Planning, Design, and Construction Management service contracts city/state wide. Can you describe for us a typical day as a Business Development Manager at URBAN Engineers? A typical day for me at Urban begins by reflecting on our short- and long-term goals that are highlighted in a business plan that we develop in the early parts of 4th quarter, for the following year. The plan includes details related to our projections, resource issues, and marketing/public relations needs. As a Business Developers, this plan becomes the “prime directive” and drives our efforts which include constant research, tracking projects, lead generation, team building, and strategic marketing. This is done so that our firm has a chance to propose on business opportunities in this competitive city. Success requires countless hours communicating with colleagues, industry peers, and industry leaders, along with the ability to deliver a proposal / project on time, and on budget.

Urban Engineers is a growing organization, committed to being the first choice of its clients. By providing innovation, technical excellence, and on-time performance, we create value for a proud Urban Engineers’ family. What SMPS events throughout the year would you advise newer members not to miss? In my opinion “The Marketing Event” is hands down the best event to attend. The SMPS team develops a thoughtful program for business developers and marketers at all career levels.

It is also important to interact with your industry peers; I encourage member/non-member alike to engage in networking opportunities. The relationships and information harvested from these activities will translate into valuable contacts and information that you can carry with you through your career and beyond. What are some of your favorite hobbies and/or activities? I enjoy the outdoors, but prefer to be out on a golf course or beach rather than tooling around in the woods; a perfect urban outing for me would be a nice roof top lounge in NYC, taking in the “outdoors” with colleagues and friends! [/expand]