Sam Hamburger grew up in Birmingham, Michigan in a small family of four, that quickly grew to a family of seven, after his mother passed away early in his life and his father remarried shortly thereafter. Adapting to change and appreciating the support and positive influences he’s had around him has always been one of his strengths. Hamburger attended to Hillel Day School through 8th grade, Detroit Country Day for high school, and to the University of Michigan for undergraduate. At U of M, Hamburger majored in Organizational Studies, an independent studies program where he focused on the more qualitative sides of business, which allowed him to take classes that focused on management, entrepreneurship, corporate strategy, and negotiation, among others. The skills he picked up through this coursework, along with his passion for architecture, design, urban planning, and the built environment, led him to pursue a position at Bedrock, starting just weeks upon graduating from U of M in early June 2012. At the time, Bedrock had no more than 20 full-time team members, and over the course of the past 6+ years has grown to over 500. Hamburger focused on real estate acquisitions for the entirety of his 6+ years at the company, and has had the opportunity to work intimately on every Bedrock acquisition in Detroit and Cleveland since June 2012. Sam recently moved into a Mies Townhome in Lafayette Park with his girlfriend Lauren, and looks forward to many more adventures ahead.
How Sam Gives Back:
Board Member - Give Merit - The program's mission is to provide sufficient resources and opportunities for under-served youth in Detroit to embrace education and become world class citizens.
Active Doner and Participant - Jewish Federation of Metro Detroit - As the major instrument of Jewish philanthropy and engagement in the Detroit area, we are a community-driven organization committed to taking care of the needs of the Jewish People and building a vibrant Jewish future, in Metropolitan Detroit, in Israel and around the world.
In his own words:
1. What’s your most important career accomplishment to-date?
My most important career accomplishment to date is working on the acquisition One Detroit Center in conjunction with the successful retention of Ally Financial's headquarters in the City of Detroit. We acquired One Detroit Center and signed a lease for 330,000 SF with Ally Financial on the same day, which was the culmination of two to three months of diligent work by a small but focused task force within Bedrock. 800 jobs remained and 700 jobs were relocated to the City of Detroit, due to our team's efforts.
2. How have you redefined leadership through your professional success?
Through my professional success, I've taken the opportunity to lead by example and become a mentor for those younger professionals who I have the opportunity to interact with on a daily basis. I recognize young, passionate, and driven people and do what I can to expose them to as much as possible as quickly as possible, since I feel strongly that on-the-job learning is where one learns the most.
3. Why is civic engagement (volunteerism) important to you?
None of the opportunities we are lucky enough to play a significant role in would exist without the communities within which we all operate. Giving back to the community through civic engagement and volunteerism is extremely important not only to the success and vitality of a given community, but in providing perspective and a strong sense of community for those lucky enough to be the volunteers, versus the beneficiaries of such volunteer work.
4. How have you disrupted the idea of traditional leadership? How do you express leadership?
I do not think about applying leadership techniques formally on a daily basis, however, I do acknowledge that those on my team, and those around me at the office, are constantly observing how leaders at the company are communicating with one another, providing feedback to their team members, executing on projects, and living their lives. I try everyday to lead by example, and acknowledging that so many of the skills involved in doing so often cannot be taught in the classroom, but in one-on-one meetings, or in effectively executing in high-pressure situations, is how I express leadership.
5. What is a blue sky goal that you would like to accomplish in your career?
I would like to work on a project that is considered groundbreaking with regard to the techniques in architecture and design that were implemented and integral to the project's success, that blazes the trail for such techniques to be common practice in future projects. This could be in connection with building type and/or materials utilized to finish the project, mix of uses incorporated, utilization of public space, landscape architecture, etc.
6. Why did you choose to pursue your passion/profession in Metro-Detroit? How do you intend to impact the region through your work?
I chose to pursue my passion and profession in Metro Detroit given the immense opportunity that was (and still is) present at the time that I was working to identify my first job out of college. Growing up in the suburbs, Detroit was never on my radar as a place to live or work following graduation, and was never on my radar as a place to visit as a kid, other than for sporting events, the Auto Show, and the occasional off-Broadway show. To see the impact that a lot of my work has had on downtown Detroit specifically over only 6 years, has been something I couldn't have imagined being a part of before I started at Bedrock.
Meet Sam at the Vanguard Awards! Click HERE to join the celebration!