Christina Oden is the founder and president of OMD I Corp., a commercial and residential general construction company licensed in New York, New Jersey, and soon to be Florida; formerly known as Oden+Matilsky Development Corp, prior to acquiring her former business partner’s shares in the company late 2019.
Oden comes to the table with a vast knowledge and a 25-year pedigree grounded in New York City construction and land development. Having now built more than 50 high-end restaurants and boutique hotels, as well as 30+ condos, makes her a sought-after builder and one that has the luxury to pick and choose which subcontractors she employs on development projects.
Her vast background in operations and construction in the food and beverage industry all but assures the client that she will have the ability to recognize and easily rectify any potential operational issues with the build, prior to its construction. She not only brings a higher level of Southern integrity but also her keen eye and attention to every minor detail to every build she signs on to develop. Oden is among the less than 3% of women within the construction industry nationwide.
HER EARLY START
Oden got her start in the construction and development industry in a small town in rural Kentucky, where she grew up just outside of Fort Knox Army Military base. She grew up farming crops, raising farm animals, and building whatever needed built or mended. She says that, “In Kentucky, women work right alongside men out in the fields, and no one thinks a thing about it.” She left farming life to attend college in Kentucky and then later made her journey to NYC to attend Law School. During undergraduate school she worked full time for an entrepreneur in the food and beverage industry, who set out to build and operate six restaurants in 3 years.
She took that ambition and moved to New York City where she would attend NYU Law School (Personal Injury/Civil Rights) and where she began working for a prominent developer. Over her tenure, she would oversee projects including The Trump Bar, 10ak, The Playboy Club, Brooklyn Chophouse-Times Square, H&H Bagel, Baby Brasa for Chef Franco Noriega, Jean Georges, LT Burger for Chef Laurent Tourondel, AG Kitchen for Chef Alex Garcia, and a few mega ground-up full building developments. She fell in love with NYC construction and land development, building close to 100 NYC luxury restaurants, several boutique hotels, and hundreds of high-end residences.
THRIVING AND KNOWN
Later after honing her knowledge, she founded her company with a male partner but almost immediately bought out his shares deciding to tackle this venture on her own. “I never thought anyone would take a woman seriously here until I got in there and did it. I realized that no one cared that I was a woman, all I needed was to be good and ethical, not male,” she says. Now many years later she is among the less than 1% women founders in the construction industry in NYC.
When asked what her construction trend predictions are for NYC, she had this to share: I am very optimistic about the reports of this newly passed infrastructure plan; I feel that if done correctly, it could lead to a massive increase for our workforce development and an influx of apprenticeships for our skilled trades, that until now unfortunately has only seen decreases year after year. A lot of older tradesmen are retiring and the younger generation has this incorrect preconceived notion that the construction industry is only made up of backbreaking low earning dirty fingernail positions. I feel this influx will bring more insight to the industry as there are many high paying white collared jobs here for the taking.
I am also seeing an incredible increase in the use of AI (automated intelligence), BIM (Building Information Modeling), and Digital Twinning/3D Models. The technology surrounding the construction industry has grown exponentially since I learned the trade.
With the advancements of technology, we are now able to get inside the build even before mobilizing to the site and this allows us to do many wonderful things such as estimate material, labor costs more accurately, and finalize the designs of all interiors with far more precision then ever before. Now, clients do not have to use their imagination, they can see quite vividly their project completed quite realistically. Also, helping to combat the increasing labor shortage is the ability to automate and augment human processes that would have come at a much high manpower expense. We can decrease the amount of hours required at half the cost.
Another trend that I am seeing is building with a greater sense of sustainability. Being cognitive, purposeful of the material use, and utilizing engineering products that will not take from the environment but rather assist it. It is not just recycling materials anymore, but rather highly inventive materials are being used. I feel this is where the industry is leaning towards heavily with no end in sight.
While I do not forecast the average brick and mortar office space coming back strong just yet, as it is far more financially appealing for businesses to promote their employees to remain working at home, I have seen a considerable amount of massive sized data centers popping up everywhere from dot com/app companies that are no longer remaining out in Silicon Valley. I am also seeing a lot of these oversized warehouses that are being built to facilitate the pandemic/post pandemic ecommerce delivery loads. While we are not building traditional working offices right now, we are keeping quite busy building 100-200,000 square-foot data centers and warehouses.
For More Information
For more about Christina Oden and her construction company, visit www.omdicorp.com.
Modern Contractor Solutions, October 2022
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