Inc.|September 2020
How I restarted after my mentor died.
Lindsay Blakely

Josh Schuster

Silverback Development


Manhattan is home to commercial real estate dynasties that have built generations of wealth. Thirty-six-year-old Josh Schuster does not belong to any of those. His grandfather was a well-known project executive in the business and taught Schuster how to read blueprints back when they were actually blue, but Jack Schuster passed away years before Josh could chart his own path from his home in Kinsman, Ohio, to New York City’s real estate industry. Josh would find another mentor, Jeff Gershen, only to lose him prematurely in a tragic accident. But Gershen’s legacy was to help shape Josh’s approach to the business and give him the confidence to start his own company.

I grew up on a farm in Ohio, where I had to travel about 30 minutes to get to school. When I went to college at Tulane University, all of my peers were from the Northeast, with parents in finance. I wasn’t necessarily interested in real estate at the time. I thought I’d be an investment banker—I wanted to make a lot of money. But I wound up taking a real estate course and excelling at it, and then I grew a passion for it.


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September 2020