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Adam Mopsick on how the city of Miami motivates his work

When Adam Mopsick drops names like Prada, Aveda, Chopard or Williams Island, he’s not talking about a day spent shopping or relaxing poolside. Those brands are among the clients served by Amicon, his boutique construction firm.

The firm manages more than $200 million in South Florida construction projects, from top-tier national brands to a new brewery in Wynwood, a gelato store on Lincoln Road and a flagship Brown Jordan showroom that he says “will help define” the Design District.

“We love building anything that we can get excited about and we can be proud of when it is done,” said the professed “nerd of great design …. We want to walk past projects in our neighborhoods and know that we had a hand in making this thing happen.”

What was your first job, and what lesson do you carry forward to this day? I was a golf caddy when I was 14. I used to handle a foursome, carrying bags for walkers and putters for the riders. I remember Memorial Day weekend, doing 36 holes, three days in a row. By the end of each day carrying heavy bags in the sun, it felt almost impossible to finish. Somehow the end always came. I made $280 that weekend and thought I had won the lottery. I didn’t have to work that weekend or certainly [could have] done less, but I learned then that there really is no limit or cap on what we can do if we are willing to press. Those who want to work hard and remain honest should – and will – earn more.

What do you like most about your business? I love getting deeply involved in our clients’ businesses and understanding their goals. Once we understand what drives our clients (budget, functionality, a certain style) we can help guide them toward success, sometimes in a way they hadn’t considered before. It is a departure from the true general contractor way of thinking, which is basically give us the recipe and we will bake the cake. We believe very much in a team-oriented approach, and our owner representation business has allowed me to take a completely different perspective to every project. Often, clients are unable to properly communicate their goals. We really try to figure that out first so that together we develop the right answers to the right questions.

What motivates you? I have lived in South Florida for almost 30 years, and I have never been more excited about what is happening in Miami [than I am] right now. There is a vibe and energy buzzing around our city that you can taste. Every day it feels as if we are a part of something special.

If you were “old school” in any professional regard, what might that be? Early in my career, a great attorney client of mine told me “it’s better to have a good handshake than a great contract.” I believe in doing business with straightforward, honest businesspeople. As long as we all understand and communicate our initial goals, we will all get there successfully together.

Name something people you’ve lost touch with since high school would be most surprised to learn about you. I am not great at social media, so I am not sure any of them know what I really do. When old friends find out we have these amazing multinational clients like Facebook, Prada, Starbucks and FedEx, they are always surprised.

Are you an early bird or a night owl? I wake up at 4:30 a.m. every day –sometimes earlier. There is a certainty to the morning that doesn’t allow it to ever be derailed by something that just comes up. It is the only time of the day that is truly mine, when the rest of the world is quiet and I can think without a barrage of emails and interruptions. I am usually in the gym by 5:30 or 6 unless I am working or catching up. But the flip side of that is that my brain generally turns to mush at night. I try to never return emails after 9 p.m. because I am usually not happy with what I wrote the next day.

What do you do to relax? I have never been big on sitting still … but I have always enjoyed fitness and outdoor activities. I seek things that force me to completely disconnect. Fishing with my wife, Helen (with whom Mopsick founded the SeeFit Foundation to raise money for visually impaired children), and our three sons always does it. Our vacations are always active, and we love hiking, fly fishing and horseback riding in Montana. On a daily basis, Crossfit and – until a few years ago – Ironman triathlon training do the trick, as well.