Company: Brennan Investment Group LLC
Position: Vice President – Leasing
Education: University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign (Political Science)
University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign (MBA, Expected Graduation 2023)
Years in Real Estate: 7
What led you to work in the Real Estate industry? Describe your current responsibilities:
I’ve always been interested in the industry and was trying to pursue a career in real estate but didn’t really know where to start. A family friend knew of my interest and offered me a temp position at Brennan. The temp position turned into a permanent one, and I have been extremely fortunate to have spent the last 7 years progressing in different roles and learning a ton. Currently, I lead our Midwest Leasing team and am responsible for all aspects of leasing those properties.
Who have been the biggest influences in your career?
I see every interaction and connection as an opportunity to learn and grow. There are several people who have made indelible impacts on my career. In particular, Ed Paneque (CFO at Brennan, now retired) introduced me to industrial real estate. Without his influence and guidance, I would not be where I am today.
Where do you see yourself in 5-10 years?
I have always been someone who strives to improve each day. When I first began my career, my goal was to learn everything I could about buying, owning, operating, and selling real estate. The more I learn, the more I realize how much I have yet to learn. In 5-10 years, I hope to continue learning, know more than I do today, and continue progressing professionally. At Brennan, I hope to take on more leadership responsibilities and have more exposure to aspects of real estate on which I have not worked directly.
How long have you been involved with NAIOP and what do you view as the benefits of your NAIOP Developing Leader membership?
I joined NAIOP in 2020 and have tried to be as involved as possible since joining. NAIOP is a large organization and trying to network can be daunting. The Developing Leaders Program allows for smaller settings through which I can network and build connections. My networking skills and comfort level have greatly improved since attending DL events. The DL program surrounds you with professionals who are relatively close to where you are in your career, and it’s helpful to know people have similar struggles, as well as accomplishments.
How has the 2022 NAIOP Chicago Mentorship Program impacted your career growth?
The NAIOP mentorship program is fantastic, and I recommend it to everyone I encounter. I have always been hesitant to reach out to a mentor, but this program really helped me overcome my hesitancy. I was fortunate to be paired with a great mentor who has provided me invaluable insights. In our first meeting, my mentor focused on the importance of networking and building relationships in the industry. I took that in stride and have upped my networking efforts, which I think pay dividends for professional growth.
What is the most important lesson you have learned during your career?
Authenticity and honesty are paramount to good deals, relationship building, and decision making.
What characteristics do you consider most important in your role and in the industry?
I believe being well-rounded is the most important characteristic in any role in real estate. Many of the decisions we make affect myriad aspects of the portfolio/property/investment life cycle. Understanding how that all fits together is important and necessary.
What is the best piece of professional advice you have been given?
Get involved and don’t shy away from giving to others.
Outside of work, how do you enjoy spending your time?
I like anything outdoors especially golf, hiking, and kayaking. I’m also an avid reader and always enjoy going to see new movies with my wife, Catherine.
What is a personal achievement you’re most proud of?
A few years back, I decided I wanted to climb a mountain. At the time, I knew nothing about what climbing entailed, so I read a few books and researched the best beginner mountain climbs in the US. I found a guide service that took people up Mount Rainier, signed up for the trip, and started training. The initial leg of the climb from the trailhead to Camp Muir was about 5 miles ascending 5,000 feet in knee deep snow with a 75-pound pack on my back. It was one of the most physically and mentally challenging days of my life. Unfortunately, avalanche conditions on the upper mountain prevented our group from summiting, but I’m quite proud about how far I was able to push myself.