Development Magazine Winter 2013

Perspectives

NAIOP 2013 Developing Leader Awards Showcasing Young Talent

NAIOP President and CEO Thomas J. Bisacquino (left) and Chairman Gene Reilly (near center) with this year’s Developing Leader Award winners.

NAIOP honored the following rising stars within the commercial real estate industry with its coveted 2013 Developing Leaders Award at Development ‘13: The Annual Meeting for Commercial Real Estate on October 9 in San Diego. The annual award — now in its eighth year — honors Developing Leaders (NAIOP members age 35 and under) for their extraordinary talent and contributions to the industry.

Recognized for their strategic vision and leadership qualities, this year’s class of honorees showcases remarkable talent and potential to grow and guide the industry through new trends and changing market conditions. Development magazine recently had a chance to chat with each of this year’s six winners.

head shot of Michael Case

Michael Case
Vice President of Brokerage, Jones Lang LaSalle Real Estate Services
NAIOP Greater Toronto

Q: How did you enter into the commercial real estate industry?
A: I was a summer student with Royal LePage Commercial in Toronto. When I first landed the job, I knew little about the business, but I quickly came to appreciate how everyone in the industry seemed to genuinely love their job. It was a big motivator for me to pursue a career in brokerage.

Q: Where do you see the commercial real estate industry — and specifically your profession — going in the future?
A: I see the Canadian brokerage business becoming even more competitive in the future. There is a big movement toward sustainable real estate and productive workplace environments. I think there will be greater demand for brokers who provide thought leadership and focus on more than just rent.

head shot of Jeffrey Hansen Carlson

Jeffrey Hansen-Carlson
Director of Business Development, Kellerdenali Construction
NAIOP Edmonton

Q: How did you enter into the commercial real estate industry?
A: Unintentionally. I was getting close to finishing my MBA, and I was beginning to pick up some contract marketing project management work. One of my clients was a commercial construction company. Without any forethought or consideration, one day I made an off-the-cuff pitch to work for the company full time. And, as they say, the rest is history.

Q: Where do you see the commercial real estate industry — and specifically your profession — going in the future?
A: The construction sector is getting very sophisticated, very fast. We are not passive players in the sandbox anymore. We are controlling more and more deals with larger and larger clients. Our suite of services has grown from swinging hammers for a stipulated price to managing the entire cycle of a project and administering it on all levels.

Q: Describe a professional experience you’ve had that has influenced your work or outlook.
A: Founding NAIOP Edmonton was pretty eye opening. More people told me it could not be done — or that I was not the right guy to do it — than came forward to help make it happen. The lesson was an obvious one. It’s okay to be polarizing if you have some raw passion behind your ideas. All you need to do with a great idea is share it and get people excited about it. Incredible people come out of the woodwork and make it happen.

head shot of C. Michael Johnston

C. Michael Johnston
Vice President, Menlo Equities
NAIOP Silicon Valley

Q: How did you enter into the commercial real estate industry?
A: Mostly [through] good luck. I also interned in both brokerage and property management during two summers in college. These jobs exposed me to very different sides of the commercial real estate business and helped me pick up enough industry jargon to get my foot in the door after school.

Q: Where do you see the commercial real estate industry — and specifically your profession — going in the future?
A: It’s here to stay! That’s one of the benefits of a brick-and-mortar industry, I suppose. Less broadly speaking, commercial real estate is becoming more and more institutional. That said, it’s a cyclical business by nature, so inevitably there will continue to be interesting opportunities in the future.

head shot of Dan McGrath

Dan McGrath
Assistant Vice President, New Boston Fund, Inc.
NAIOP Massachusetts

Q: How did you enter into the commercial real estate industry?
A: In March 1988, as a nine-year-old boy, I travelled into Boston with my family to see the controlled implosion of the Traveler’s Building. I could see not only that doomed building but also the entire skyline and marveled at the architecture and the dynamism of the city. From that point on, I was hooked on buildings and cities.

Q: Where do you see the commercial real estate industry — and specifically your profession — going in the future?
A: Real estate will continue to adapt as ways of living and working change. From a living perspective, more people are moving back to cities, requiring new and innovative ways to build new housing in our downtowns. The industry will continue to face the challenge of building housing that is affordable in our most sought-after downtown areas, which may require smaller units and new methods of construction. From a work perspective, more and more companies are looking for ways to cut costs and make their space and employees more efficient. This involves new concepts in space design, incorporation of more sustainable features, and changes in the way we, as employees, occupy space.

Q: Describe a professional experience you’ve had that has influenced your work or outlook.
A: I have worked in the real estate industry through two recessions and two booms, and each of these experiences offers significant lessons. The first is to recognize at all times that the real estate industry works in cycles, and real estate practitioners should know (or try to know) at all times where they are in each cycle. Understanding the real estate cycle influences when to invest and when not to invest, where to invest and how to invest. I learned a great deal by experiencing downturns and observed how investors, in the face of a downturn, made thoughtful investments (when many others stayed on the sidelines out of fear) and are now benefiting from those bets as the economy strengthens.

head shot of Kaitlin Murphy

Kaitlin Murphy
Senior Vice President, Murphy Development Co.
NAIOP San Diego

Q: Where do you see the commercial real estate industry — and specifically your profession — going in the future?
A: Unfortunately, there seems to be a trend of small development companies becoming obsolete. Due to increasing regulation and land use hurdles, entitlement and development are more expensive and lengthy, leaving the institutional groups and public companies to take up the task. My hope for the development industry is that the entrepreneurial spirit of individuals will drive this trend the other way, and we will see more local companies take on creative, landmark projects. Real estate will always be a part of a city’s landscape. As the availability of land shrinks more and more, development professionals will have to really start thinking “out of the box,” and that starts with the people who live and breathe a city, day in and day out.

Q: Describe a professional experience you’ve had that has influenced your work or outlook.
A: When I traveled to Washington, D.C., in early 2012 on behalf of NAIOP San Diego for the NAIOP Chapter Leadership & Legislative Retreat, I truly began to appreciate the advocacy side of NAIOP. As a developer, I always have to pay attention to the local land use and tax issues that affect our business, but seeing these issues on a national scale brought my awareness to a whole new level. Because of my experience there, I now engage as much as possible with local politicians and make sure I understand the larger issues that threaten the viability of our business.

head shot of Chris Murray

Christopher Murray
Vice President and Partner, Mid-Atlantic Properties, Inc.
NAIOP Maryland

Q: How did you enter into the commercial real estate industry?
A: In 2004, I was focused on getting into the industry. Jobs were hard to come by for recent college graduates with no experience, so I basically “Kramered” (from the TV show “Seinfeld”) my way into a job. I offered to work for free and started showing up at Mid-Atlantic Properties. Things worked out, and I started getting paid. I am still there almost 10 years later.

Q: Where do you see the commercial real estate industry — and specifically your profession — going in the future?
A: The commercial real estate industry will never go away, but we are entering a period of rapid change. The way that we do business is evolving. There is so much more information available, and websites are making the marketplace more transparent and competitive.

Q: Describe a professional experience you’ve had that has influenced your work or outlook.
A: My company, Mid-Atlantic Properties, completes one community service event per month. It is always a great opportunity to keep your life in perspective. We have worked in a Baltimore soup kitchen, taught computer literacy classes to adults, renovated blighted housing and planted oysters in the Chesapeake Bay.

Getting to Know Them

What’s the last book you read?
“The Paradox of Choice: Why More is  Less” by Barry Schwartz – Dan McGrath
“Lean In” by Sheryl Sandberg – Kaitlin Murphy
“An Army at Dawn” by Rick Atkinson – Chris Murray

What was your first job ever?
Driving a forklift in a warehouse – Michael Case
Manning tables at a local baseball card convention – Dan McGrath
Picking up trash after concerts – Chris Murray

What could we find you doing when you’re not at work?
Playing hockey or baseball; spending time with my two daughters – Michael Case
If you can find me, I’m riding my bike – Jeffrey Hansen-Carlson
Skiing, running and cycling – C. Michael Johnston
Volunteering with refugee children and abused teenagers – Kaitlin Murphy

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From the Archives: Perspectives Articles from the Previous Issue

head shot of Mark Fornes

CEO on Leadership: Mark Fornes, President, Mark Fornes Realty, Inc. 

Mark Fornes is president of Dayton-based Mark Fornes Realty, Inc., an entrepreneurial developer of office, flex, and warehouse buildings in the southwest Ohio market. Since the firm was founded in 1987, its principals have developed more than 2.5 million square feet of industrial and office space and managed more than 1 million square feet of commercial property.

headshot of Megan Creecy-Herman

Developing Leader Views Education, Volunteerism as Keys to Expanding Diversity in Commercial Real Estate 

Megan Creecy-Herman, the youngest person ever elected to serve on the Board of Directors of NAIOP’s Arizona chapter, will celebrate another distinction this January, when she becomes the first woman to serve as chairperson of the Arizona Chapter. When she’s not busy growing business opportunities for Liberty, she’s helping other young professionals grow their careers through NAIOP Arizona’s Developing Leaders program.

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