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Donald Trump Jr. works to prove he's own man.

Despite television shows depicting otherwise, Donald Trump Jr. does not ride on his father's coattails.

A graduate of the University of Pennsylvania's Wharton School of Business with a double major in finance and marketing, Trump Jr. excelled in intensive studies and hands-on experience in real estate development. He now holds a vice president's position in The Trump Organization and appreciates his father's tutelage.

"I'm sure I will pick up a lot of his habits and a lot of his traits," Trump Jr. said of his father. "I think in real estate there could be a lot worse things than that. He's a great teacher. And he's great at what he does, arguably the best."

But Trump Jr. is his own man.

"I think our personalities diverge in many ways too," he said "And I think it will naturally lead us to differentiating ourselves without there having to be a predetermined effort to do so."

In The Trump Organization, Trump Jr. has cut his teeth on such projects as the West Side Yards and Trump Place on Riverside Drive. From drafting offering plans to digging through construction, he helped out where needed and tried to absorb as much knowledge as possible.

He also plays an important role in the development of Trump Park Avenue, a luxury high-end residential endeavor conceived by The Trump Organization.

A businessman at heart, Trump Jr. works with the financial perspective and bottom-line figures of the project. He also had a large part in conceptualizing plans with the architects, solidifying floor plans, working with marketing principals and serving as the central liaison between The Trump Organization and Trump Park Avenue.

Working long hours, as well as taking work papers home on the weekends, has become the norm for Trump Jr.

"I don't know if I ever worked a regular work week, especially now we have projects going on in Phoenix, Chicago, Toronto and Fort Lauderdale," he said. "It gets pretty hectic at times. When we are traveling we get a full 10 to 12 hour work day where we are and that's not counting the actual travel time. It's a 24-hour day almost, when you sleep on the plane, but I wouldn't be doing it if I didn't enjoy it."

Trump Jr. said his father is demanding and he must work hard to meet his father's lofty standards on a daily basis, but he's used to it.

"He's demanding of everyone," Trump Jr. said. "It's the way we were brought up. We weren't spoon fed and handed anything we wanted. If we wanted something, we could have it, but we had to work for it. We always had to have jobs."

Trump Jr. doesn't always agree with The Donald.

"He allows you to make your own decisions," he said. "He's not an over-bearing boss that's right there in your face. He lets you run with the ball and make your own decisions, but if he gives you a piece of advice and you don't take it, that's fine, but you better hope it works out for you. If you are wrong, you'll hear about it forever."

Donald Trump Sr. realizes his son is not a carbon copy of him.

"Don is a bit more contemplative, but I find we are very similar in a business sense but diverge in our hobbies," said Trump Sr. "Don plays golf, he is more of an outdoorsman in that he enjoys hiking and fishing more than I do."

His father said he would "absolutely" hire him whether or not he was his son.

"Don has a very analytical mind, learns quickly and has a good eye design-wise," Trump Sr. said.

Trump Jr. wanted to work in the real estate industry at a very young age, although construction was the first to pique his interest.

"I've grown up in it," he said. "It's like any kid when you walk around a construction site at two years old and you play with trucks you really get a feel for it. You really get a love for it and it becomes a passion of yours."

But there were some doubts after college whether he would, h indeed work for his father.

"I wasn't certain, of course, but he always took an interest in what I did and often accompanied me when I went to visit sites," said Trump Sr. "I hoped he would and am I happy he is. He is doing a great job."

Seeking a year of solitude in Colorado after college, allowed Trump Jr. to begin a career at The Trump Organization.

"I think everyone assumed I would just move off to Colorado and live in a log cabin for the rest of my life," Trump Jr. said.

"I actually did that for about a year to make sure that when I came back and did what I did after I graduated from Wharton, I would love what I was doing. I wouldn't have regrets or question myself and ask 'what if I would have done that'."

Working side by side on many projects has deepened the father and son relationship.

"It becomes a way for us to even have a personal relationship, talking about business," said Trump Jr. "He's so business minded its tough for him to go starting off a conversation about a non-business topic.

"Our relationship has developed on a personal note more since we started working together."

His personal life, however, is off limits to the press. Not giving many interviews that pry into his personal life and keeping a low-profile has allowed him to escape the unfavorable publicity that haunts many of his famous peers.

"I'm not wild," Trump Jr. said. "l get out of town on the weekends. I'm not really doing the city stuff. So I think I am much more low-key.

"I try to avoid some of the publicity that I could get for myself if I really wanted to in my non-business life."

In fact, Trump Jr. has shied away from his celebrity status much of his life.

"When I was younger, it was parental celebrity status and being the kids thereof. It just wasn't my thing," he said. "Now that I am doing stuff on my own I am really adding value to the company, there's a place for me.

"If that can benefit our projects and really help us out and not necessarily impede too much on my personal life, that's fine. I don't know whether that is possible, but we'll find out soon enough. It's not as bad as I thought."

When asked whether or not Trump Jr. could fill his shoes, Trump Sr. responded, "He has the capabilities; the rest is up to him."
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Article Details
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Author:Nelson, Barbara L.
Publication:Real Estate Weekly
Article Type:Interview
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Feb 18, 2004
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