Cocktail Confessions – Volume 3

June 30, 2011 at 1:10 pm 1 comment

beach cocktailBy Kim Johnson, Corporate Art Force

Welcome to Volume 3 of Cocktail Confessions. Cocktail Confessions is a bi-monthly publication in which we track down three industry veterans, drink some cocktails and get them to answer three questions to help us learn their industry secrets. Their answers are published exclusively on the Pulse and are meant to provide interesting commentary and insights for the NAIOP constituency. 

If you have questions you’d like asked for future segments, please leave them in the comments section, below.

Tom Commerford, Mary Burnton, Bill WardwellThis issue features Tom Commerford, Vice President Investment Services at Grubb & Ellis|Northco Real Estate Services;  Mary Burnton, Vice President at Zeller Realty Group; and Bill Wardwell, Executive VP Brokerage Services at Welsh Companies. They were each asked the same three questions, and their responses are outlined below.

Question 1:  How does your company separate itself from its competition and create value during a “down cycle” like we are experiencing today?

Tom Commerford:
In any cycle it’s important to service the needs of the client. A client relationship, whether new or existing, needs to be nurtured and appreciated.  Grubb & Ellis takes an entrepreneurial, as well as a personal approach.  In effect we become an extension of the client’s company. This approach serves to create a competitive and mutually beneficial outcome.

Mary Burnton:
Zeller Realty Group prides itself on being a boutique firm. We respond to our clients quickly, and think outside the box. Our team of experts in Minneapolis and Chicago can guide clients through conception to completion.

Bill Wardwell:
Welsh has endured four recessions throughout its 34-year history and the company has thrived in both good times and bad. We are very careful, conservative, diversified, and structured to handle the challenges of today (i.e. valuation, portfolio optimization, troubled assets, and consulting/advisory services) and positioned with strong institutional investor relationships.  Our founders and leaders understand the cycles and have assembled the right platform, right people, right vision, and a strong corporate culture.

Question 2: What habits have you formed that keep you energized and on top of your game?

Tom Commerford:
Staying connected to the real estate community through continued communication with clients is critical.   In addition, being on the investment sales side, I continue to FOLLOW THE MONEY, from a buyer and seller side equation. Transactions create energy.

Mary Burnton:
There are three primary ways I keep my energy level high:

  1. Exercise. I run, bike, and my latest obsession: P90X.
  2. Eat healthy foods. My lunch virtually every day is a peanut butter sandwich on whole wheat, an apple, a banana, and yogurt. Boring you say? I say Bring. It. On.
  3. Listen to music. I love 89.3 FM (The Current) and was lucky enough to attend the Coachella Music Festival a couple months ago. Arcade Fire rocks!

Bill Wardwell:

  • Never rest on our successes – focus on the future: i.e. our new affiliation with Colliers International
  • Focus on understanding customers’ business needs: preparing for, anticipating, and expecting the unexpected
  • Focus on changes in technology
  • Focus on tenure and talent: long-term relationship, trust, market knowledge
  • Listen well – both to your employees and clients

Question 3: Since the name of this series is Cocktail Confessions, next time we see you at Happy Hour we should all know – what is your favorite cocktail?  Shall we buy you a single or double?

Tom Commerford:
It’s hard to beat a Jonnie Walker Black and soda, with a lemon twist (easy on the soda).

Mary Burnton:
No favorite cocktail, per se. You can always buy me an ice cold beer though. Fat Tire, Stella or Leinenkugel summer flavors will do.

Bill Wardwell:
Grey Goose Martini with a twist – just one!

Entry filed under: Cocktail Confessions, Featured Articles.

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1 Comment

  • 1. Colleen Ayers  |  July 7, 2011 at 12:25 pm

    Great taste in music, Mary!


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