Cocktail Confessions – Volume 8

October 3, 2013 at 2:56 pm

kiwi cocktailBy Jerry Anderson, Escom Properties, Inc.

Welcome to the 8th installment of Cocktail Confessions, in which we track down three industry movers and shakers, feed them some cocktails, and get their take on the topics of the day.

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

In this installment we are pleased to feature Brandon Champeau from United Properties; Chris Culp from The Excelsior Group; and Jerry champeau-culp-driessenDriessen from CBRE|Capital Markets.

Question 1:  What was the biggest risk you’ve ever taken professionally?  How did it work out?

Brandon Champeau:
Prior finishing my college degree, my plan was to make it big in the music business.  Since I couldn’t hold a note or play an instrument, I pursued a non-paid internship in management/artist development with Island Def Jam Records and subsequently moved to Hollywood, Calif. in 2002 and 2003.  I had an air mattress, my savings and a credit card and didn’t plan to leave unless it was on a private jet.  At 20 years old, reality had yet to show me how cruel the world could be, and after draining my savings and maxing out my credit card, I left with just enough to pay for gas to come home.  A future in the music business looked great driving on I-80 west, and much less appealing (at least financially) on I-80 east.  Everyone in L.A. had a dream of being “the next big thing” at something.  No one was there to make friends, and this constant “race” was both intoxicating and draining.  That being said, the experiences and people I met there cannot be replicated anywhere on earth, and I would do the “Hollywood experiment” over in a heartbeat.

Chris Culp:
I don’t like risk, so I can’t think of any particularly risky decision that I’ve made.  Going to work for my dad, Kim, was a bit of a risk.  However, it has paid off well.  We have been able to work well together and have built a nice real estate investment, management, and development company with outstanding people.

 Jerry Driessen:
One risk I took for NAIOP was a number of years back. I was active on the legislative committee and led the charge for the truth in taxation subcommittee, which included speaking at the Hennepin County truth in taxation hearing as a pro business supporter.  I was outnumbered 20 to 1 by social service agencies.  I presented first and then the others presented, each bashing our argument.  It didn’t work out so well.

Question 2:  What inspires you on a daily basis?  What gives you the “fire” to tackle all the daily obstacles you face?

Brandon Champeau:
It’s very difficult to get bored in my job.  Development projects are a lot like whitewater rafting.  You are navigating a complex path to the finish line, always on the lookout for risks that could trip you up, and this requires a strong team of many disciplines to get to the end.  I love the challenge of that process, and I enjoy picking the right team to help us get to our goal.  When a project goes from a paper plan to a living, breathing building, it’s extremely rewarding to look back at the obstacles we faced, and to appreciate our team’s effort in navigating that process.

Chris Culp:
I love coming to work.  I’m inspired by the incredibly hard-working, dedicated people at The Excelsior Group.  I care a great deal about quality and integrity in my work.  I have been very fortunate to find people to work with that share my passion for quality and integrity.  I want to be sure that I hold up my end of the bargain for those I work with and for.  It’s my desire to provide quality service to our investors and clients and the Excelsior team that drives me every day.

 Jerry Driessen:
First and foremost I am a provider for my family (wife, four kids, and a dog) so that gets me rolling, if nothing else.  Secondly, I really enjoy helping companies solve their real estate issues.  Thinking creatively to come up with solutions, and getting paid to do so is fun for me.

Question 3:  As summer is winding down, what pastimes will you be making the most of?

 Brandon Champeau:
Growing up in Green Bay meant one thing during fall and winter…the Green Bay Packers.  As my wife has discovered over the last few years, nothing is more important than the three hours on Sunday that I get to put on my cheesehead and do things most Minnesota fans will never understand.  My two year old daughter is also starting learn the importance of Packer game day, and so far looks like she’s going to carry the tradition on…which couldn’t make me more proud!

 Chris Culp:
I really enjoy biking with my kids.  We try to stay out of the car on the weekends and use our bikes to get around and enjoy Minneapolis.  Also, since my kids have been born, my wife and I spend the last week of August savoring the last of summer with the kids and our extended families.

 Jerry Driessen:
My pastimes have taken a back seat to work and family.  I try to take the dog for an early morning jog daily down to Lake Calhoun and back.  It becomes a challenge when the trails are icy and it’s 20 below.  Sailing, tennis, waterskiing and a poor game of golf will occasionally fit in the schedule.

Question 4:  The Confession:  What choice of refreshment will you make at your next Happy Hour?

Brandon Champeau:
Bourbon Old Fashioned, but only if I think the bartender will get it right.  Otherwise a craft beer from one of our great Minnesota breweries works just fine.

 Chris Culp:
I’ll choose a beer.  Nothing interesting here.

Jerry Driessen:
The doctor has said one glass of red wine daily.  I try to follow his orders.  I also like Heineken since they sponsor sailing events.

Entry filed under: Cocktail Confessions.

Member Profile: Kelly Armstrong, U.S. Bank Member Profile: Lisa Dongoske, Cushman & Wakefield/NorthMarq


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