One-on-One with COO – Blake Nybakken
September 14, 2022
Our Communications team sat down with COO Blake Nybakken to discuss culture and his personal brand of leadership.
1) What does our company do in your own words?
We do A LOT! EPIC is a full-service real estate development company that specializes in master-planned, mixed-use developments. From front-end work with our in-house architects, to raising capital, to constructing and managing the properties…we are involved every step of the way, and we truly have a vested interest in each project we build.
2) What are your communication and decision-making styles as COO?
I like to think that I’m very open and approachable. I try to make myself available as much as possible.
Informed decision-making is critical, so I often ask for pros/cons, or try to use statistics or metrics whenever possible so we can evaluate the matter and feel comfortable with the direction we’re going. We also take a team approach with many aspects of our business, so I’m never afraid to get another perspective if I don’t have the answer, or if we need to consult someone else for a particular issue.
3) Describe your ideal company culture.
First and foremost, we hire great people, so we naturally have a team-oriented, collaborative culture. All our departments take pride in their work and recognize that it takes everyone working together for us to have continued success. Beyond that, we have monthly birthday celebrations, morale budgets for each department, and groups like our volunteer committee which has a high level of participation. We really try to embrace an environment that builds camaraderie.
4) What do you feel is the biggest strength of our company?
Our ability to innovate. From creating entertainment districts and water parks at one end of the spectrum to rehabilitating historic buildings and creating affordable housing developments on the other end, we work on a dynamic range of projects and are often presented with opportunities to think creatively for a meaningful purpose.
5) As COO, how do you make decisions that have the company’s future in mind?
One of the things that I always contemplate is: how can we improve? What did we learn from the last project that we can integrate into the next one? Is there anything we should do differently? Our business is centered around people: they trust us with their investments; they live in our apartments; and they choose to locate their companies in our developments. So we always need to keep them in mind to support that high-level of trust.