By Konrad Putzier
For a 30-year-old, Andrew Posil already has an impressive list of achievements — from two graduate degrees over an NCAA championship to his title as reserve army officer. This helps explain why Massey Knakal chose him as director of sales for its new hospitality division.
Fresh out of law school, Posil only completed his training at Massey Knakal in late October. But he is already so busy pitching projects that he hardly has time for his other passion, Lacrosse. “Now my focus is really on building this platform,” he said.
As hard-working as Posil is now, at one point he was more interested in sports than a career.
Born and raised in Baltimore, Posil went to college in Chapel Hill. He majored in communications, but not necessarily because he had his sight set on a media career. “My focus was on sports and socializing. I just took a major that my teammates were taking,” he recalled. Originally recruited as a wrestler, Posil soon switched to Lacrosse.
After graduating from UNC, Posil spent half a year working for a roofing company and developed an interest in real estate. “I climbed on all sorts of buildings and looked at roof systems. I quickly realized that roofing wasn’t what I wanted to do, but I liked the assets,” he said.
To ease his transition into real estate, Posil enrolled in the Masters program in real estate at Johns Hopkins University in 2006. “It was a 12-month intensive program, and that’s when I really got serious about being a student,” he said. “I picked up analytical abilities that I never developed as an undergraduate.” He also picked up an NCAA championship with Johns Hopkins’ Lacrosse team.
Towards the end of the program, Posil interned with the real estate investment firm MCB in Baltimore, and quickly decided to stay on full-time. “It was a firm with three partners. Because it was so small, I got do everything: from sitting in meetings that were way outside my pay level, to janitorial duties,” he recalled.
After three years at the firm, Posil decided that he was ready for the next challenge. MCB’s youngest partner had a law degree, and Posil was impressed by how he combined analytical skills with legal expertise. Going to law school, he thought, would give him the skills he needed to move up the career ladder.
To keep the costs at bay, Posil signed up for the army’s ROTC program. In exchange for a six-year commitment — he now spends one weekend a month plus two weeks each summer at the Amityville armory — the army paid the tuition for two of his three law-school years and gave him a stipend.
“The scholarship was a great way to finance my education,” he said. Not to mention that Posil can now call himself a Lieutenant.
In 2010, Posil enrolled at Emory Law School. But before he disappeared in to a library for three years, he took the time for an adventure. Through an acquaintance, he got a summer job as a project adviser to the Vietnamese development firm, Viettime Holdings, in Hanoi.
The job was challenging — and not just because the developer didn’t speak any English. “Vietnam was riding on a long period of growth, and the bubble was about to burst. I saw the writing on the wall, but it was difficult for folks there, who had seen nothing but growth,” he explained.
Posil had a hard time convincing Viettime to calculate more conservatively, but he says he enjoyed his stay in Hanoi.
Three law-school years after his Vietnamese endeavor, Posil says he is happy to be back in the business. After taking the bar in New York in July, he immediately went on the job search and heard of the opening at Massey Knakal through an acquaintance.
It seems fitting that this young broker on the rise has his first big project in Manhattan’s most up-and-coming neighborhood: The far west side. Along with Bob Knakal and Stephen Palmese, Posil is representing the seller of a development site at 511 West 35th Street, which hit the market in November with an asking price of $75 million.
According to zoning, 75 percent of the building has to be used commercially. Posil said a hotel offers the best solution, with the Hudson Yards and the extended 7 subway line nearby. “There is tremendous growth potential,” he added. The same could be said about him.