My First Project: Lee Crewson, Founder & President

Jul 10, 2020 | First project

At Peak, it is all about the team. 

That is why, when developing not just the concept of Do-it-Together Development, but the four tenets that make it up, we made sure that the first two tenets were to build your team early and to leverage your team’s talents. The latter two tenets, protect your time and manage your project proactively, only work once you have assembled and begun leveraging your team. 

For this series of posts, we want to give you some insight into the Peak Development team. We have assembled our team as carefully as we recommend that our clients assemble theirs. We share many things in common, but the most important is this: we all worked on that first project that made us fall in love with construction. 

If you’re reading this, you have probably experienced the same thing at some point in your career. 

To kick off this series, our Founder and President, Lee Crewson shares the story of his first project: 

My love of construction began with one of the largest fires in the city of Buffalo’s history. 

Back in the late 90’s, I was a student at University at Buffalo, working on my Bachelor’s of Science degree in Mechanical Engineering. I was also working part time at the Buffalo Business Park on Broadway in the city of Buffalo.

The building that burned down was a large, wood framed, exterior brick building. The fire destroyed the entire center of the building. But, the exterior brick remained. 

Over the course of the next year or so, there was an effort to replace that building with a single-story, 40,000 sq ft. metal building. The building was ultimately partitioned into three tenant spaces. Two were 15,000 sq. ft. each and the other was 10,000 sq. ft. The complete building was built, then the tenant fit-outs were done in all three spaces.

The start-to-finish process consisted of going through the insurance claim, clearing the demolition, designing the new building, getting all of the city approvals, construction, the tenant build-outs, and then getting tenants moved in. 

Now, when I say “we,” I might be overstating things. At the time, I was around for the complete process, but I was still going to college full-time. I would pop into the site regularly, and was there in the afternoons and on weekends. My actual involvement was limited to cutting grass, picking up garbage around the site, and bringing coffee to the guys doing the real work. 

But, that was the first time that I had been exposed to construction at that level. And I was absolutely taken by it. 

I loved the process. I loved the fact that, at the end of the project, you had a visible, tangible thing that you were a part of. Although my role on that project was extremely minimal, I really enjoyed being involved with the project, and I really enjoyed being on the project site. 

It was an extremely fun and exciting time in my life that changed the direction of my studies and ultimately, how I have spent the last 20 years of my life. I couldn’t have told you back then that today I’d own and operate Peak Development Partners. It’s amazing and humbling, and I’m grateful for every moment of it, and every person that has helped me make it this far. It’s true that together is the best way to get to the top!

Stay tuned to this space to read more first project stories from other members of the Peak team. 

About the author

Lee Crewson

Lee Crewson

Founder & President

Lee has made commercial construction management his life’s work, focusing on building places where people live like multi-family, hospitality, student housing, and senior living for successful developers. He’s also committed to the values of this country and has over twenty five years of service in both the active and reserve forces as a Commissioned Officer in the US military. Lee embraces the power of a committed team that collaborates early and often and is happy to guide any developer who shares the same philosophy for success.