The company new vigor can be attributed to Ali and Uğur Dumankaya who now sit on the board of the firm.
Turkey’s building companies have been growing at an admirable speed over the last couple of years. They have become some of Turkey’s largest holdings and powerful forces for economic growth in the country.
And now these huge family holdings are undergoing a fundamental shift. They are being run by a second or third generation of managers and owners. The shift in management and vision is the difference between father and son, the older generation versus the younger. This new generation is different in the most basic way from its predecessors; they have a construction and management education.
The older generation learned the craft the old way, mainly from their fathers at construction sites or in boardrooms, via trial and error. This generation is different. They are getting their formal training not on the site or in the boardroom but at universities, in undergraduate and graduate programs, in some of the best schools in the world.
Not long ago the construction sector in Turkey was thought of as highway, bridge, and dam construction. Residential projects were saved for high-end architectural boutique firms or big real estate companies that might employ building contractors.
Lately, however, building contractors have come into their own with residential projects. They are no longer just taking jobs offered but realizing their own projects.
The real estate boom in the last five years has turned medium-sized construction companies into prestigious corporations, catapulting the construction business to the forefront of the Turkish economy. Where once building contractors put their signatures on small projects, 100 to 150 unit residential developments, as the sector has grown, contractors are leading 3,000 unit residential projects.
Building contractors used to be seen as businessmen with only a bottom line, but this is no longer the case.
Real Estate Boom
The real estate boom has helped bring new leadership to the helm of these huge contractor companies. As the workload increased and building contractors started multiple projects at once, company leaders began to call on their sons to help at the firm. This led the sector to have a new generation of leaders who were university educated and spoke several languages.
With this new leadership, Turkish contractors have not just made their mark on the domestic market but have also executed prestigious projects abroad. They have managed to continue their success with creative marketing strategies despite the global economic crisis, while companies who have not had the benefit of this new infusion of young, well-educated blood have struggled to keep their heads above water.
Among the second generation building construction leaders some names are especially noteworthy such as Dumankaya Board Members Uğur and Ali Dumankaya, Teknik Construction Vice President Umut Durbakayım, Aşçıoğlu Construction Board Members Cenk and İrfan Aşçıoğlu, Okan Construction Group President Ömer Okan and Varyap Chief Executive Officer Erdinç Varlıbaş.
These and other leaders are battling for a new direction in the construction business in Turkey. They have been trying to promote their ideas and personalities within the industry. Their biggest challenge has been trying to overcome the generational divide between them and their fathers.