Member Spotlight: Marilyn Zenko

September 23, 2021

The path to a commercial real estate career is sometimes indirect and without a mirror for the blind spots. But as those in the industry know, it is always exciting. 

For Marilyn Zenko what accompanied her on her journey was a dream - to one day be an archeologist in Arizona. She had the archeology part down after receiving her degree from Millersville University of Pennsylvania, but her first jobs were in Kansas City, MO, and Atlanta, GA. While these locations weren't her ultimate goal, what she did gain was an introduction to the commercial real estate industry and CREW. These two elements would prove to be the final piece of her dream puzzle.

Most people associate archeology with the retrieval and preservation of ancient civilizations and cultures. While entirely true, the expertise and skills are also related to evaluating environmental resources and historic preservation, a key focus for commercial real estate development. Hence Marilyn's expertise was critical as she navigated her roles. Through her CREW Atlanta membership, she experienced the strength of connections through CREW, and when the opportunity came for Marilyn to use her expertise for a solar array project it was the perfect fit - the position was based in Arizona - dream achieved (and allowed for participation with AZCREW)!

When Marilyn began working with Terracon, she led their West Operating Group’s Environmental Planning Group, overseeing archeologists, biologists, and NEPA planners. Terracon is a consulting engineering firm with over 150 offices across the US, providing environmental planning, geotechnical services, materials testing, and facility planning since 1965.

In the height of COVID, Marilyn moved back to Pennsylvania to be closer to family and take on an expanded role within Terracon. She continues to manage the Environmental Group (now for the Northeast Division – a role that was created specifically for her) and leads client and business development efforts. Her focus is regularly on lenders, architects, developers, and construction managers to promote the firm’s array of services.

Today, Marilyn lives in Lancaster Co., a mile from her mom, and is an active member with CREW Greater Philadelphia. Over the years her favorite part of CREW has not changed – the networking opportunities and learning experiences provided by being involved. Additionally, the influence that CREW has had on her career is unwavering, “You get what you put into it. This is heard by some but not always applied. If you truly want to get somethingout of CREW you have to be willing to put time and effort into opportunities, and the benefits experienced in return are 10-fold.”

Through her unconventional background and past struggles - once homeless but constantly motivated by her daughters to strive and grow - Marilyn is a strong advocate today of young women and girls in the STEM community. Her guidance is as ageless as the artifacts she’s preserved, “find something that you like and enjoy, and success will follow.”

Members: Click here to connect with Marilyn on CREWbiz