Ziv Carmel

Ziv Carmel

Director of Engineering

Welcome to a new monthly feature in which we go behind “Behind the Scenes” to learn more about a member of the Capstan team.   If you’d like to see someone specific featured, let us know!    

After 20+ years in the cost seg industry Ziv Carmel has seen it all.  As Capstan’s Director of Engineering, Ziv judiciously distributes projects to his team, and supports his engineers with technical assistance, industry insight, and a lot of late-night chats.  Ziv still personally performs hundreds of studies a year, and tackles the trickiest, most challenging projects that come down the Capstan pipeline.  In this month’s Behind the Scenes we chat with Ziv Carmel about his most memorable cost seg projects, and the personal white whale he has yet to slay.

So, I understand that you’ve been “segging” forever. 

It hasn’t quite been forever.  I started doing cost seg in 2001 and joined Terri and Bruce in 2004.  It’s been quite a ride!

Can you share some highlights?  Some memorable projects?

I don’t even know where to start.  I’ve gotten to go behind-the-scenes at some really unique places — a military drone factory, an equestrian center, a jeweler-to-the-stars on 5th Avenue in Midtown Manhattan.  We did a study of a 150 year-old distillery that was fascinating.  My point of contact graciously offered me product samples, but I had to decline…

Actually, one of the coolest properties I ever visited was a high-end custom treehouse designed by Pete Nelson.  He’s the host of “Treehouse Masters” on Animal Planet.

That’s so cool! 

Here’s another neat one – did you know that there are “motorsport country clubs?”  We did a study of an exclusive motorsport club where the members race high-end vehicles – Ferraris, Lamborghinis, the whole nine yards.  They built a private racetrack in the middle of a major metropolitan area just for members to enjoy.  The study results were great – lots of land improvements and site infrastructure.

Wow!  Did you get to race?

No way – you must be a member or a member’s guest.  But, if you’re a guest and you forgot your sportscar at home, they have a fleet of vehicles you can select from.

Must be nice.  But I know the cost seg life is not all glitz and glamour…

Definitely not.  For every upscale country club there are 10 rural bed and breakfasts filled with taxidermized moose heads.

Please tell me you’re kidding.

Nope.  But I can tell you that taxidermized moose heads are depreciable – they’re FF&E.

Good to know.  Do you enjoy visiting rural areas for site visits?

Actually, I really do.  They have an honest charm that I genuinely enjoy.  And don’t even get me started on the airports!

What’s so special about the airports?

Single-gate airports are the best!  They’re never busy, everyone is really nice, and the terminal looks just like your living room – picture a few upholstered couches, maybe a coffee table…

No way!

I have the pictures to prove it.  Small airports have tons of personality.  The Daytona Beach Airport has a little cozy library in the terminal.  In the Ft. Wayne Airport, they give out cookies when you deplane.  My favorite though, has to be Joplin, MO.

I haven’t been there in years, so things may have changed, but when I last flew through Joplin a friendly woman behind the ticket counter checked me in.  Then the same woman put on a hat – I guess it’s like, the “Security Hat” — and took me through security.  Then the same woman took off the hat, put on a reflective vest, and went outside to WAVE IN THE PLANE.

Whatever she’s getting paid, it’s not enough. 

Tell me about it!

You must meet some interesting people in all your travels. 

I do indeed.  In fact, we did a study of a PGA Championship-grade golf course owned by a Hollywood celebrity who must remain nameless.  He and his family seemed like real class acts.  We got great results for them by the way – engineered drainage, irrigation systems, tees, greens, fairways – all huge 15-year land improvements.  Throw in a high-end clubhouse and you’ve got a great study on your hands.

I have to ask – is there any property type you HAVEN’T done? Anything you’ve always wanted to do that just never worked out?

You mean my white whale? [Laughs]. I do have a white whale actually – I’ve always wanted to do a theme park.  Talk about the perfect cost seg candidate – assets upon assets, and land improvements as far as the eye can see.  Plus, theme park infrastructure is so customized and unique — I’d love to go behind the curtain and see how things work.

But Mickey Mouse hasn’t called yet?

Nope.  But I heard a rumor that Donald Duck is interested in R&D Tax Credits…

Ziv Carmel can be reached at zcarmel@capstantax.com or 215.885.7510.