Father of two finds work-life balance with JLL

Experienced Mechanical Engineer looking for a change joins a team that supports him

May 04, 2022

Curtiss Fitzgerald, Mechanical Engineer at 1801 K Street in Washington, DC, has always been a hands-on kind of guy. As a kid, he took apart and reassembled toys and devices to figure out how they work. A mechanical career was a natural fit.

The only problem was the workload.

A father of two girls, Curtiss adores spending time with them and teaching them what he enjoys, like cooking and martial arts. He would do anything for his family. 

“I come from a poverty-stricken background. As a parent, we want our kids to have everything we didn’t,” said Curtiss. “I’ve always worked hard for the things I wanted. There was a time when I was working five jobs. I’m not afraid to lean in and work hard.”

Curtiss worked as a diesel mechanic for a transportation company and a maintenance mechanic for a garage door company before landing a building operations job for an animal hospital. He oversaw the maintenance and facility operations of a multi-million-dollar building, but Curtiss was the only person on staff. 

“My schedule was crazy,” Curtiss said. “I was the only engineer. I worked seven days a week and was always on call on the weekends. I didn’t have anyone else to rely on.” 

After over 18 years, the hospital went through some infrastructural changes that made him see his limited growth opportunities. Curtiss wondered if he could achieve more somewhere else.

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“Life is a big gamble, but sometimes you got to take a leap of faith. Sometimes you’ll be caught by a good company,” said Curtiss. “I got caught by JLL, and it’s turned out very well.” 

In 2017, Curtiss put together his resume and put it online. Various companies showed interest quickly, but JLL was the one that called back. The company had an opening for a temporary position.

Curtiss is not someone who likes to sit idle. He decided to take the offer, and within a month, he was at JLL. During the five months as a temp, he worked hard to assist with essential repairs and preventative maintenance tasks. He earned positive feedback about his work ethic and upbeat demeanor from the tenants. 

“Most engineers don’t have a lot of social skills, but I’m very sociable, and I love working with others,” said Curtiss. “I like to teach others a little bit about what I’m doing. It gives them some insight into what we do.” 

When the temporary assignment was over, the property management team asked if he would be interested in a more permanent position. Curtiss immediately accepted. He liked the engineering team and how the supervisor had taken him under his wing to fill in his knowledge gaps. It was precisely what he was looking for. 

“Working for JLL means stability and a lot of potential growth,” said Curtiss. “I came from a place where I was the only engineer, and I didn’t know what I had to learn. From day one, my supervisor has invested in my education and coaching me in what I need to know to succeed.” 

Not only have his supervisor and colleagues mentored him, but JLL has invested in his education. The property management team maintains a development budget for every team member and Curtiss has been able to take up to four classes a year. One time, he wanted to take a fifth class, but it wasn’t in the budget. “I started to pay for this course out of pocket, but my team leader saw how passionate I was about my education. She said she would find the funds,” Curtiss said. “And she did. It meant so much to me that she, and my whole team, supported my personal growth.”

Thanks to their help, Curtiss recently earned his DC Class 3 Engineering License. Earning this license will open more job opportunities. 

Curtis also says being part of a collaborative team that appreciates him has made all the difference.

“Even though there is a hierarchy, no one is bigger than another. We all help and teach each other. There’s a lot of positive energy across the team,” he said. “When you have positive energy, it’s reciprocated, and it’s reciprocated a lot here.”

Best of all, joining JLL has enabled him to spend more time with his daughters. 

“The work-life balance at JLL is beautiful, and our supervisors support our scheduling needs. Now I work five days a week and am on call some weekends,” said Curtiss. “My girls are my heartstrings. Now I get up to see them in the morning, and I’m home in time for when they get back from school.” 

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