5 Questions With Charlie Yowell, PE, Principal and Branch Manager at Bohler

“5 Questions With…” is a recurring BioBuzz series where we reach out to interesting people to share a little about themselves, their work, and maybe something completely unrelated. This week we welcome Charlie Yowell, PE, Principal and Branch Manager at Bohler.

As Principal and Branch Manager of Bohler’s Raleigh, North Carolina office, where life sciences development is booming, Charlie has designed and permitted more than two million square feet of life sciences, research and development, laboratory, and manufacturing space. Understanding the varying operations and utility demands of different tenants and end users, as well as zoning, redevelopment, and conversion challenges, Charlie’s team guides developers in creating highly flexible and marketable life sciences facilities, bringing them to market fast.

1) Please introduce yourself to our audience by looking back at your education, training, and career path.

I graduated from Virginia Tech with a B.S. in civil engineering in 2006. In my senior year, I had the opportunity to participate in the inaugural Land Development Design Initiative (LDDI) program, which Bohler helped establish and continues to support through sponsorship, mentorship, and speaking engagements with students. The program gave me a great introduction to the land development industry and really helped to guide me in my career.

After graduating I moved to Northern Virginia, where land development was booming, and started my career. After gaining some experience at two other firms, I was eventually recruited to Bohler by a colleague I’d worked with before. I already knew a few others at Bohler, too, and it felt like the right fit. The people and the culture are fantastic, and I am energized by the fast-paced environment. After joining as a Sr. Design Engineer I excelled at Bohler and quickly moved up through the ranks.

In 2016, Bohler’s leaders approached me with an opportunity to move to Raleigh and help to grow the office and expand the brand across the Triangle. After scoping out the area with my wife, we ultimately decided we were ready for the change and new challenge. Now, I’m leading Bohler’s continued growth in the region.

2) Can you tell us more about Bohler and your day-to-day work at the company?

Bohler is a land development consulting and technical design firm that helps developers identify and act on opportunities to move their projects forward faster. Bohler is especially adept at leveraging industry change and tackling site challenges in service of achieving successful land development projects that grow clients’ businesses and transform communities.

For me, in my role as Principal and Branch Manager every day is different. I truly enjoy the work that we do to bring land development projects to life for our clients, but what motivates me the most is providing opportunities for my team to grow. We embrace a growth mindset here, and there is always a new area for each of us to develop into. Whether it’s expanding your current role, moving into a new one, or taking on a new type of project, Bohler provides a path for each person to accomplish their personal goals.

3) You’ve been with Bohler for over 10 years, moving up the ladder four times to your current position as Principal. What has contributed to your success, and what advice would you give to a junior employee who wants to move up the ladder as you did?

I believe that personal organization is critical for driving yourself forward. Disorganization and scatteredness can lead to personal burnout, under-delivering to your clients, and losing respect from your staff. I encourage all young employees to build those organizational habits early.

I also encourage young people to be a sponge at all times. Soak up as much information as you can and be curious. Ask questions. Why did we design it this way? Is there a better way? At Bohler, I expect my team to ask questions and learn from every situation.

4) What are some trends that you’re seeing in the life sciences real estate space? Do you think these are trends that are here to stay, or are they temporary?

Life sciences facilities are highly customizable and highly sought after. The current market has created opportunities to convert an existing office or retail space to labs or research development space on a fast timeline – driven by factors like low vacancies and high rents. For developers seeking to begin this type of project, speed to market and flexibility are the most important aspects.

In consulting with owners, developers, and tenants on life sciences facilities across North Carolina’s Research Triangle, I see opportunities to improve speed to market delivery. I recently published an article outlining four ways to streamline the overall timeline for building or retrofitting these facilities.

5) What is something you’re hoping to achieve in 2023, either professionally or in your personal life?

I’m very excited to announce that the growth of our Raleigh office will lead to us moving into a larger space in the spring. In addition, my focus for this year is to increase Bohler’s share of the life sciences market sector. My team understands the unique challenges associated with developing these specialized facilities, and we’re ready to help the next development team move forward quickly.