Name: Adam Showalter
Company: Cushman & Wakefield
Position:  Senior Director
Age:  35
Education: BA from Kelly Business School @ Indiana University
Years in Real Estate:  12 years

1. What led you to work in the Real Estate industry? Describe your current responsibilities:
I entered college planning to get an accounting & finance degree, so I could work for a Big Four accounting firm. After my sophomore year I obtained an accounting internship with a local mechanical supply company and sat in a 4’x4’ high cube in a windowless industrial building for 12 straight weeks reconciling invoices in excel. By the 3rd day I realized that wasn’t going to be my passion. A successful executive from my hometown of Park Ridge, Mark Smith of CBRE, offered to take me to the office so I could experience the commercial brokerage business. After 3 hours, I was hooked. I changed my major to finance real estate and went immediately into the brokerage business upon graduation. I currently oversee leasing and acquisitions of office properties in the suburban Chicago marketplace for Cushman & Wakefield.

2. Who has been the biggest influence in your career?
As a junior broker at CBRE in the north suburban market, I was surrounded by successful, senior brokers that had been in the business for 20+ years. I am incredibly grateful to those people that helped my earlier in my career. However, the biggest influencer in my career is Mr. Jack McKinney. I was 7 years in the business and had done hundreds of lease transactions and felt I knew the business well. Yet, Jack was involved in every aspect of real estate (construction, finance, architecture, development, etc.) over his 40+ year career and spent countless hours with me sharing his knowledge and experience. I learned more in 1 year than I had learned in my previous 7. I am forever grateful for that and lucky enough to still work with him today.

3. Where do you see yourself in 5-10 years?
I strongly believe technology will change the commercial brokerage business (more than it already has) in the next 5-10 years much like the residential brokerage business. Today I am focused on exploring and implementing the ever-changing technology so I can adapt quickly in the future. My hope is to still be working with my amazing partners and clients, doing what I love.

4. How long have you been involved with NAIOP and what do you view as the benefits of your NAIOP Developing Leader membership?
I have been involved in NAIOP since 2010.  The Developing Leaders are a group of like-minded professionals looking to expand their network and experience.  I have met so many great people and curated personal and professional relationships I otherwise never would have had.

5. What are the three most important qualities you think a real estate young professional should possess?

  • Honesty
  • Passion
  • Open Mindedness

6. What is the most important lesson you have learned during your career?
Not everything in business or life is going to go my way. I used to get extremely frustrated and question this business when I was young. Having matured and gained experience I’ve learned that’s just part of business and life. Today, I try to keep an open-mind about every situation. At the end of the day if I am passionate and honest then eventually it will work out.

7. Tell us about a project or accomplishment that you consider most significant in your career:
I have worked on numerous successful projects that have been incredibly significant in my career. However, the most significant project was a development deal we ultimately didn’t build. Quickly after joining JF McKinney I was tasked with assisting Jack McKinney and a local equity partner to pursue a land site for ground-up office development. I spearheaded the project and started at ground zero. In 3 short months I had a crash course on purchasing land, acquiring loans, underwriting construction costs and executing a merchant build business plan. Unfortunately, a hotel developer outbid us on the land acquisition but I gained extensive knowledge about commercial real estate that I still use every day.

8. Outside of work, how do you enjoy spending your time?
I work a lot during the week and weekends so outside of work I try to spend as much time with my wife and beloved dog.

9. What’s your favorite building in Chicago?
Great question. I am fascinated by architecture and engineering so have to say 150 North Riverside. John O’Donnell masterfully constructed a Goettsch designed, 54-story office building on a 39’-wide base flanked on the east by the Chicago River and on the west by seven active Amtrak rail tracks that consumed two-thirds of the acreage.

10. Where is your favorite place in the City?
I am in the suburbs all week so my favorite place in the city is at home. My wife and I take advantage of all the city has to offer and don’t play favorites with any one place.

11. What might someone be surprised to know about you?
Having lived in the Midwest my entire life I have managed to hold a season pass at Steamboat Mountain or Park City Mountain since I was 3 years old. I have probably averaged +/-20 days for 32 years so I guess I have skied over 650 days in my life. Not too bad for a “flat-lander”.

12. What’s your motto or personal mantra?
Happiness is helping others.