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How freedom to experiment with advanced tech on the daily satisfies this Berkadia SVP’s thirst for what’s new

Leveraging AI to create the “Berkie” bot is just one reason Joe Pasquale loves working at the innovative commercial real estate org.

Pasquale addressing his Berkadia colleagues. (Courtesy Berkadia)

This article is sponsored by Berkadia and was reviewed before publication. Berkadia is a Company Builder client.

When he was just eight years old, Joe Pasquale’s parents bought him one of the first PCs to hit the market: an IBM XT.

“Back then, you learned to program a computer on your own,” Pasquale said. “There was no internet, no connectivity. I taught myself to code by reading books.”

That early passion for tinkering with new technology stuck with Pasquale, now the senior vice president of enterprise technology services at Berkadia — a commercial real estate company leading the evolution of the industry’s technology landscape.

“At Berkadia, we’re always looking at how new, disruptive tech can be applied to what we do,” he said. “That’s what really excites me about this work: experimenting in the ever-evolving world of technology.”

A joint venture between Berkshire Hathaway and Jefferies Financial Group that launched in 2009, Berkadia is the largest non-bank commercial mortgage servicer in the country, specializing in mortgage banking, investment sales and loan servicing. Through its innovative, data-based tools and applications, the firm empowers clients to maximize their return on investments through expert financing, selling and servicing of multifamily and commercial properties.

Joe Pasquale headshot

Joe Pasquale (Courtesy Berkadia)

As SVP of enterprise technology services, Pasquale oversees a team of 100 employees who maintain and innovate within Berkadia’s infrastructure and operations technology. His team is responsible for supporting and advancing cloud technologies, such as AWS and Azure for client platforms, and managing end-user technologies, including laptops and office technologies such as printing, conference room tech and voice and chat solutions.

Pasquale and team are also responsible for creating the strategic roadmap that guides the delivery of cloud and end-user technology to Berkadia users. Doing this entails ensuring the availability and support for critical applications, ensuring seamless operation and continuous innovation within Berkadia’s technological landscape and partnering with product and engineering teams to deliver the necessary technologies to support Berkadia’s portfolio of software products and applications.

Over the last few years, Berkadia Innovation has developed and delivered a new, proprietary data platform that integrates multiple sources of complex commercial real estate data. This enables the company to form a deeper understanding of internal, market and industry data, and gives clients critical, timely insights into property listings, transactional data and market trends.

Yet, while collecting and analyzing the data was one thing, getting that data out of the platform and into users’ hands was an entirely different challenge.

To support this effort, Pasquale’s team partnered with data team members to research and build a cloud platform using Amazon RedShift. The platform can easily ingest data from multiple sources and perform analytics quickly and seamlessly to answer business questions.

“This is just the beginning,” he said. “It opens up infinite possibilities for how to analyze and manipulate data from multiple sources, private and public, to help Berkadia make smart decisions.”

Other companies talk about values, but don’t live them. Berkadia lives its values by putting people first every day.Joe Pasquale

Now, with the infrastructure set up to access the data platform, Berkadia is perfectly positioned to better leverage generative AI. That includes the release of Berkadia’s internal ChatGPT bot, affectionately named Berkie. Berkie is custom-designed to access internal proprietary data to answer nuanced questions around the commercial real estate industry and market, enhance internal searches and optimize how teams get work done on a daily basis.

“Our goal with Berkie is to create more self-service, such as finding accurate answers to nuanced commercial real estate questions, across the organization,” he said.

Looking for new ways to leverage AI tools, Pasquale’s team is working to enhance the way team members interface with the Service Desk, to build a troubleshooting tool that could help engineers solve user problems more efficiently and investigate ways to analyze its application and cloud environments to detect potential issues and find resolutions prior to causing an outage.

A chance to make an impact, while looking toward what’s next

Two years ago, Pasquale found his way to Berkadia through a job posting that piqued his interest. With two decades of working in the tech industry under his belt — many of those years at giant organizations like Merck — Pasquale was ready to make a larger impact at a values-driven company like Berkadia. When the firm took him through the “best interview process” he’d ever experienced, he knew it was the right fit.

“The interview was a great intro into how Berkadia does business,” he said. “It was focused more on my values than my experience. Other companies talk about values, but don’t live them. Berkadia lives its values by putting people first every day.”

That value system is so critical to the firm’s positive, people-driven culture, it has its own title: The Berkadia Way. It’s a set of principles that affirms all employees are valued for who they are, inclusive of the unique needs, challenges and goals that they carry with them, and unites team members across Berkadia’s 70 offices in the US and India.

While his appreciation of Berkadia’s culture is a key part of his job satisfaction, it’s the freedom to experiment with and implement new technology everyday that gets Pasquale out of bed in the morning.

“If I don’t have that excitement, involvement and desire to continue to improve the business, I’m not as interested in what I’m doing,” Pasquale said. “At Berkadia, we’re always looking toward what’s next. And that keeps me excited about what I do.”

Learn more about Berkadia

Companies: Berkadia

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