Up-and-coming CCIMs help to expand the commercial real estate universe.
makes someone a rising star? Is it his or her accomplishments, drive to
succeed, or commission check amount? For Commercial Investment Real Estate, it
is a unique combination of factors that demonstrate promise for the future. In
one way or another, CIRE’s rising stars have turned their potential into
productivity and shown that they will keep shining well into the future.
only his second year in commercial real estate, Babb closed 12 sales
transactions representing 225 apartments, 113,000 sf, and more than $13
million, which garnered him the local commercial board’s Pinnacle Award and put
him in the Prudential network’s top 4 percent of sales producers. He was also
the top producer in the Tampa Bay office.
specializing in multifamily properties, Babb takes particular pride in
negotiating the sale of Belcher Commons, a garden office property in
Clearwater, Fla. “At the time of sale, the project was only 50 percent occupied
and was an eyesore for the local community. Since then, it has undergone
significant improvement, occupancy has trended upward, and the property is once
again a competitive office asset within the mid-Pinellas [Fla.] submarket,” Babb
expects his early success to continue. “My goal is to become a top investment
sales broker in my market. I envision myself transitioning into real estate
investment and development,” he says.
Biery attended the first CCIM International Trade Mission in Monterrey, Mexico,
last year, he learned that steel manufacturing and other industries are leaving
Mexico for China and realized “the stronger that Mexico is, the better the
United States is.” Teaming with another CCIM, he plans to form a consulting
company to help U.S. businesses expand into Mexico and South America. “North,
Central, and South America will need to cooperate and support each other in the
next century to compete with the European Union and Southeast Asia economic
blocs,” he says.
developing a global agenda, Biery also is increasing his recognition in
southern Arizona, serving as CCIM chapter vice president and 2006 president-elect.
This year he moderated an annual forecast with record-breaking attendance of
330 industry professionals. In the past five years specializing in office
leasing and investment sales, Biery has completed $20 million in transactions
and has authored articles on office leasing, sales, and development.
photo: Chris Mooney
C. French Jr., CCIM
clichéd as this sounds, life has been good to me and I feel an obligation to
give back,” says French, who has combined industry knowledge with community
service. A member of the Westchester County Habitat for Humanity Board of
Directors, French helped create a team of real estate pros to build houses and
organized an annual golf outing to fund them. Since becoming involved, he has
created enough community support to build more than 20 homes, with another 10
also was part of the Local Initiative Support Corp.’s team that developed and
leased a 135,000-sf grocery-anchored community center in an urban neighborhood
with no supermarket and very little retail. As a local chapter member of 100
Black Men of America, French is helping select a location and developer for
Eagle Academy, which offers inner-city teens a more-structured learning
with being awarded Sperry Van Ness’ 2003 Humanitarian of the Year Award, French
has received SVN’s Partners Circle Award for two years and Top 10 Advisers
Award for representing more than $150 million in retail transactions in the
past three years.
S. Johnson Jr., CCIM
four years Johnson has ascended the ranks from analyst to one of the youngest
vice presidents ever appointed in his office’s leasing department. Since 2001
he has completed more than 100 lease transactions valued at $51.2 million,
completing 50 of the deals in 2004 alone. Currently he is responsible for
leasing 2.1 million sf of office space in seven premiere buildings in the
Dallas market. Last year, Johnson successfully took the 1909 Woodall Rogers
property to 100 percent occupancy in 11 months with a 15,000-sf new deal and a
15,000-sf renewal and expansion. His secret: “Proactive marketing, detailed
financial analyses, and lease negotiations.”
addition, Johnson completed one of the 15 largest retail transactions in his
market in 2004, helping him to earn a spot on Black’s Guide’s “Top 35 Under 35”
some of the best brokers in the market for several years taught me that honesty
and hard work are what make true success,” Johnson says.
Karageorge’s reign as the Kentucky CCIM chapter’s first female president,
meeting attendance increased 55 percent and membership grew 20 percent. This
impressive chapter growth was no coincidence: Karageorge beefed up attendance
by featuring national speakers at meetings, rotating meeting locations, and
offering attendees networking opportunities. Under her leadership, the chapter
received an honorable mention for this year’s CCIM President’s Cup Award, given
for membership development.
the challenge of being female in a male-dominated industry, Karageorge has
worked to level the playing field by helping to establish the Louisville
chapter of Commercial Real Estate Women, a national association. A member of
several local and national organizations, Karageorge understands the value of
networking, but as Kentucky Real Estate Exchangers’ Rookie of the Year in 2000,
she also relied on the value of her accounting education. “The essential skills
to be competitive are analytical — the number-crunching abilities required in
day-to-day brokerage activities.”
J. Merlo, CCIM
as a St. Louis Business Journal “heavy hitter in commercial real estate” for
four years running, Merlo has closed more than $150 million in transactions
since 2000. The deals have involved sales, leasing, and marketing strategies
for more than 2 million sf of industrial property and approximately 500 acres
of Merlo’s most recent design-build transactions include a $10 million
consolidation of four Packaging Concepts locations into one 130,000-sf
building, which can be expanded by 40,000 sf, and consolidating two McCay Tool
and Engineering Co. facilities into a $3 million, 50,000-sf facility located on
4.5 acres in Greenpark, Mo.
hard work, and superior local product knowledge” are the tools Merlo uses to
get his clients results. “What I like to do is focus on a high quality and high
level of service,” he says.
Douglas Molyneaux, CCIM
the start of his commercial real estate career more than 10 years ago,
Molyneaux supported himself by selling vacuum cleaners at night. “It gave me
the opportunity to sharpen my presentation and closing skills,” he says.
in charge of his company’s hiring and training, Molyneaux passes along to new
brokers his holistic education approach, as well as requiring them to submit
business plans at their trainings’ end. The result? Last year, all of his
trainees were named top producers by the Gulf Coast Association of Realtors and
his company boasts a 60 percent new-hire retention rate.
also teaches by example. In a market of 375,000, he closed more than $21
million in transactions and earned more than $700,000 in gross commissions in 2004,
qualifying for Grubb & Ellis’ national Circle of Excellence Award.
photo: James Bates
C. Muljat, CCIM
named Rookie of the Year by the Whatcom County Board of Realtors in his first
year selling real estate was only the beginning for Muljat. During the past
five years, he has closed more than $100 million in transactions, with an
additional $47 million in year-to-date sales. As co-owner of Landmark Real
Estate Management in Bellingham, he has quintupled the company’s business in
five years to more than 900 multifamily units and 200,000 sf of commercial
is a principal developer and investor on Harris Square, a $26 million, 88-unit
condominium project with 20,500 sf of commercial space. Also in the works is an
adjacent 80-unit project with 17,000 sf of commercial space; the county’s
largest day spa, a 7,300-sf build-to-suit project that Muljat owns; as well as
three other Washington mixed-use developments.
keep all his projects in order, "It takes systems," Muljat says. "Not
just a computer system that sits on the shelf, but real systems that
you can utilize day in and day out."
photo: Jerry Gay
D. Skelton, CCIM
Real Estate Investors
more people you know, the better off you are,” says Skelton, who has helped
acquire more than $1 billion of commercial real estate assets since March 2003.
“In today’s market, it’s not necessarily good enough to have the highest price
[offering] for a property. Oftentimes, it’s who you know coupled with the
highest price that lands you the deal.”
based in Iowa, Skelton has developed relationships with brokers in New York,
Chicago, Minneapolis, Boston, New Jersey, and Philadelphia. Recent acquisitions
include a more than 1 million-sf, 44-story, New York class A office property
purchased for $426 million in a joint venture with the Paramount Group and a
264-unit, 41-story, New York class A multifamily property for $108 million. His
projects span all property types and include both core, value-added, and
joint-venture commercial real estate acquisitions.
work and attention to detail have paid off: Skelton recently made the jump from
senior real estate analyst to acquisition manager.
T. Tseng, CCIM
the first Taiwan-based CCIM, Tseng volunteered his services to publicize the
designation in his home country. By joining forces with an economic research
think tank, Tseng garnered press coverage for the Taiwanese CCIM courses, and
as a result, the first two CCIM courses offered there attracted more than 100
students. One of his current objectives is to “establish the first CCIM chapter
in Taiwan in 2006.”
founding his commercial properties service company in 1999, Tseng has taken it
from a $50,000, five-person operation to a $1.5 million, 20-employee business
last year. The company has provided valuation services for GE Capital, Morgan
Stanley, and Shinsei Bank and has helped leading multinational companies such
as IBM, Kodak, and Bloomberg establish footholds in Taiwan. This year he signed
an exclusive association agreement to represent Cushman & Wakefield in the