A farm house, negative edge pool and pool house, sunken tennis court and tennis pavilion, and clay-lined sustainable pond. All on three acres of property.
St. Joseph’s University, New York alumna Melissa Principi helped her client bring her dream living space to life out on Long Island’s North Fork in the town of Aquebogue through New Land Group, Principi’s construction management company.
“I saw a huge need, especially within this space of construction, of someone who could be at the site, be on a job, while my clients might be in the city, maybe they’re at their other house,” said business owner Principi, who grew up with parents and grandparents in the construction and real estate industry.
“Being on the east end, it’s really transformed into a booming construction market. So I created New Land Group. And thanks to St. Joe’s, I got my MBA while I was sort of putting all these things in place,” continued Principi, 35, who graduated from the Long Island Campus in 2020.
Becoming a Business Owner
Principi, whose background involves marketing with FIJI Water and who is a licensed real estate agent, has worked with almost 10 clients since starting her business in 2020.
“A construction manager is someone who can be onsite, call the client and then also be the liaison with the builder,” explained the Laurel resident. ” I can also help get permits, and I do a lot of permit expediting. So I created this little niche.”
According to Principi, the best part of being a business owner is having the ability to say no.
“No is an answer, too,” she explained. “You can say no. That’s okay. And then you get to pick the people you want to work with because of it. And at this point in my life, I’m still so young and still learning, so this sticks with you. And now I enjoy developing relationships with the people I want to work with.That really makes all the difference.”
The hardest part of owning a business? Finding time.
“I think time is what we all want more of,” said Principi, who, in addition to the client in Aquebogue, is also working with another family on a fixer-upper in Mattituck. “I don’t have enough hours in my day. And as a business owner, you can’t turn it off.”
Gaining Invaluable Skills at St. Joseph’s
As a working adult, Principi has found many useful applications for the knowledge and skills she gained inside the classroom at St. Joseph’s.
“It’s a different feeling as an adult, taking a real program that’s geared toward management and leadership and development, and I couldn’t have been happier,” she said.
Principi encourages those thinking about getting an MBA to find the time and go for it.
“Figure out how to get it done, get your FAFSA forms in, do everything you need to do,” she said. “Because in the long run, that little blip of money is nothing in comparison to what you can do with the education.
“To get an MBA while you’re working — to do that full time while you’re living it and breathing it — it’s so much more meaningful,” Principi added.