Gary Hornick got started working with his hands at 12 years old, pulling nails as part of his father’s post-fire restoration business.
Flooded and burned houses were Hornick’s early training grounds in maintenance.
It also gave the younger Hornick time with his father, also named Gary, a military man Hornick calls his hero.
“It was exciting just to get to hang out with my father,” said Hornick, 39.
Hornick, chief engineer for Downtown Summerlin, discussed his average workday, travel and his love of karaoke during a question-and-answer session with the Review-Journal.
Answers have been edited for length and clarity.
Q: What are your daily responsibilities?
A: My day starts at 6:30 a.m. every day. I walk Downtown Summerlin. I walk the office buildings — One and Two Summerlin — (and) check in with the new tenants. And at the new Aristocrat campus, I do the same, make sure everything looks good.
I’m checking the landscaping, the cleanliness. Making sure the windows are clean.
I check in daily on the general contractors. Make sure everything is on the straight and narrow.
If there’s a marketing event, make sure it’s not impeded by any noise from the day-to-day projects.
I’m an organized person, but my office isn’t necessarily. I like to see all my contracts in front of me. And I have boxes from parts, equipment, supplies.
Q: How long have you been with Howard Hughes?
A: I started with Howard Hughes in July of 2014. I previously worked at Fashion Show mall for nine years in a similar role. At Meadows Mall, my boss taught me a lot of hands-on work with things like HVAC.
Q: Do you lead a team?
A: I have a team of four guys. We maintain maintenance on all Downtown Summerlin properties including commercial. I have two brand new guys; the others I’ve worked with a little over a year.
I like an employee with not a lot of experience. Then I can teach them the right way to do things. I look for guys who are willing to learn. I’ve taken guys in landscaping and security and trained them in maintenance.
The best way to train someone is to find common ground, see what they are better at. Start with what they are better at, then move into littler projects until they get down the harder stuff.
Q: Any major accomplishments with Howard Hughes?
A: I remember the grand opening of Downtown Summerlin in October 2014. It was a lot of hours. A lot of sleepless nights. A lot of talking to the contractors. It was exciting to see it go so smoothly. It was exciting to see it all come together.
Q: Any upcoming major projects?
A: I’m training to become operations manager. In that role, I’ll also oversee valet, housekeeping; I’ll have new budgets and have to do forecasts. You don’t grasp how much work valet and housekeepers do until you’re in it. I hope to move into this role in the next year or two.
Q: What’s something surprising about you?
A: I love exotic vacations. I’ve been to six countries and 18 states so far. I just went to Turks and Caicos (islands east of Cuba) with my family. I laid on the beach, drank some beer. For my 40th birthday, I want to go to the Philippines.
Also, I love karaoke. My go-to is a duet of “My Heart Will Go On” with my wife, Johna.