An Unexpected Career Path
At first, Farrah Désir (B.S.A.T. ’99) never intended to work in construction. Architecture was always her dream, so she came to study at the School of Architecture and Design.
“Since high school, I wanted to major in architecture,” says Désir, who also took interior design classes at the Fashion Institute of Technology while she was in high school but decided to major in architecture and went to New York Tech, where she could study both.
Several years after graduating from New York Tech, Désir met a former classmate who told her about a position at their company JR Construction. “It was something I never thought I would do,” shares Désir. “[When] the company called me [about] an opening for a general contractor, I initially turned it down and said, ‘No way, I love architecture. I’m an architect.’ Eventually, I was motivated to consider other career options besides architecture because drafting behind a computer all day for 10 hours was exhausting, which did not fulfill my interest in designing projects.”
Désir later took on the role of project manager at JR Construction in New York City and never looked back. “At first, I thought I would do it briefly while looking for an architectural position and had no intention of staying,” admits Désir. “But I eventually fell in love with construction management.”
After stints at the YMCA, construction management and engineering company URS/AECOM, and Gilbane Building Company, where she oversaw construction projects around New York City, such as libraries, schools, and commercial spaces—Désir started to build the foundation of her company, Creative Form Development, by working part-time on residential projects.
The company soon expanded into something more significant and is now a full-service construction management company. “There aren’t many Black-owned female construction companies in the industry,” says