By Jeremiah Jensen
The brokerage business is changing, and it’s producing a new breed of brokers capable of fielding the increasingly complicated needs of clients in today’s market. The professionals melding data and new technologies with the high-level of service customers are demanding are the ones at the top of the industry. For the first time in the eight-year history of D CEO’s Power Brokers program, we’ve selected outstanding commercial real estate professionals to honor in eight specialties.
Ward Richmond is a recognized leader in the industrial sector and oversees multiple national accounts. He has developed a strong understanding of supply-chain real estate through negotiating more than 500 transactions in 50 cities around the globe. He was Colliers International’s top Dallas producer in 2018.
“A key strategy of mine has been to work closely with business and life coaches. I also regularly attend seminars to elevate my game. … The industrial market has been riding the monster tidal wave of activity generated by rapid eCommerce growth for a long time. And so far, 2019 already has the pedal to the metal. … My advice to young brokers is to be disciplined about your approach to your goals and adjust as needed—but do not quit.”
Since graduating from Texas Christian University (where he and his twin brother were standout football players for the Horned Frogs), Terrence Maiden has focused his distinguished real estate career to benefit the southern sector of Dallas, where he’s now leading development of the former Red Bird Mall. He’s also co-founder of the nonprofit Two-Wins Foundation.
“My philosophy is people-first. Being in an industry like real estate, which is often driven by profit and wealth, I always remind myself who we are doing this work for—the community. I am motivated by knowing that my efforts each day can impact people for generations to come. It’s a huge responsibility. … My advice for young brokers is to trust the process. Half the battle is staying committed to the industry through the highs and lows.”
Steve Lieberman knows how to juggle. He leads his company as CEO while also consistently ranking as one of the nation’s top retail brokers. He pioneered the use of data mining in retail real estate and has long worked to solve inefficiencies in the sector. Last year, Lieberman closed more than 650,000 square feet in transactions valued at $350 million.
“Looking back on my career, I’m most proud of representing Bed Bath & Beyond, our development of Arlington Highlands, the redevelopment of Village on the Parkway, and the opportunity ahead with the Knox District. … A key strategy has been knowing that the best team wins. Partner, align with, inspire, leverage, and reward the best team possible, as all collaborations are connected and cumulative.”
After attending the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, playing Division 1A football, and serving as an officer in the U.S. Army, Mark Allen pursued a career in commercial real estate, joining SVN to specialize in multifamily investment sales. In under two years, he has closed more than $250 million in commercial property transactions.
“A week into my career, I secured a listing from a referral in Appleton, Wisconsin. It was a small multifamily community in a market I’m not familiar with, and it was my very first transaction. I knew I could sell anything after that. … I’ll never forget the advice I was once given by Roger Staubach: ‘Prospect, prospect, prospect, and meet with at least two potential clients per week.’ Although this advice is simple, it has paid off.”
A 21-year Hillwood vet, Tony Creme has been a key player in the growth of AllianceTexas. During his tenure, it has grown from 50 industrial tenants to more than 500. Last year, Creme brokered 3 million square feet in lease deals, launched 4 million square feet of spec space, and led the acquisition of 500 acres of new industrial land.
“The value of working hard was instilled in me at an early age. I learned there is no substitute for putting in the time and effort necessary to succeed. … I have been with Hillwood my entire career. I’m fortunate to regularly interact with the leadership team, and I continue to learn from them every day. … The fundamentals of the overall industrial market are still very good, and 2019 will be a great year, especially in North Texas.”
After a long career in the retail division of the former Staubach Co., Lynn Dowdle went off on her own in 2011 to forge a new area of specialization: hotel site selection. Last year, she closed 21 sales valued at more than $44 million—all hotels, with the exception of Music City Frisco. An active industry volunteer, she also recently served as president of NTCAR.
“This business is not for sissies.It often takes a ton of perseverance and fortitude to get the tough ones done. … If I go into each transaction knowing I can accomplish my goal of creating value, there’s usually no stopping me. I believe reputation is everything, so I’m very intentional about the way I transact. … My advice for young brokers is to work hard, work smart, and don’t expect to be an overnight success. That can take about 20 years!”
Office property owners across the region trust Chris Taylor to lease up their space. With good reason. He was the top-producing broker across all business lines for the Dallas office of Cushman & Wakefield in 2018. Taylor closed more than 1 million square feet in lease transactions and helped bring two projects to 100 percent occupancy.
“I’ve always strived to develop sincere business relationships and friendships, to be persistent, work hard, be consistent and honest in my business dealings, and always put the interests of my clients first. … I have had several great mentors throughout my career, but Johnny Johnson and Bret Bunnett have had the greatest influence on me. … My advice for young brokers is to always remember that this business is a marathon, not a sprint.”
Throughout his 35-year career, Jeff Ellerman has had a hand in many of the region’s largest and most notable office leases, negotiating more than 30 million square feet of deals valued at more than $14 billion. Last year was another blockbuster for CBRE’s top producer, with headquarters leases for AT&T, Fossil, Merit Energy, MetroPCS, and Kosmos Energy.
“The commercial real estate game is long, and you have to show up every day hungry, committed, and disciplined. I’m motivated by the chase of the next deal and executing the best possible outcomes for clients. … Other than the safety of my family, my greatest fear is losing my competitive edge. … My advice for brokers just getting started in the business is to stay focused and disciplined—and keep making those calls.”
Dave Anderson is a real estate rock star. He’s a vice chairman at CBRE, one of just three industrial brokers worldwide to earn the title. During his 35-year career, he has put together more than 1,000 deals, totaling 100 million square feet of space and 10,000 acres of land. Last year, he closed 8.5 million square feet in transactions for a combined value of more than $350 million. This would be notable for any broker, but even more so for Anderson, who did it while in a third year of a fierce battle with pancreatic cancer. D CEO is proud to honor him with its first-ever Power Brokers Lifetime Achievement Award.
“It’s difficult to select just one. However, a transaction our team closed last month for a 1.2 million-square-foot build-to-suit for Goodyear has to rank high on the list. It involved site selection over a broad area, labor and transportation analysis, tax analysis, and negotiations of incentives, including infrastructure upgrades. Perhaps as rewarding as the end results we achieved (and subsequent pay day) was an email from the client during the process saying within the first five minutes of meeting me, he knew I was the right guy to handle the job.”
“I love tackling the challenges each transaction brings, but what I value most is the people in our industry. My associates with CBRE, quality competitive brokers with high morals, the best developers in the nation, and a strong array of investors. Trust me, that is not true in most cities.”