I’ve had a dual passion in my life: a strong entrepreneurial drive to service tenants in the commercial real estate industry, coupled with a strong desire to make a difference through charitable causes. Cresa has given me the opportunity to do both, starting with my 20-year career with Cresa Boston and continuing now with my recent new venture at Cresa DC.
I have always loved the Cresa business model and the mantra of “do the right thing.” In Boston, I was pleased to help grow the office as well as play a role on the national level as a member of the Board of Directors. I headed the Cambridge practice group, opened an office on the South Shore, and managed key national accounts. I had great clients, high-level contacts, friends, and family.
At the same time, I founded and was captain of Team Zipcar, a longtime Cresa client, for the Pan Mass Challenge (PMC). This two-day, 200-mile bike ride last year raised $45 million, of which 100% went to the Dana Farber Institute for cancer research.
Yet despite my roots, achievements, and comfort level in Boston, I felt I needed a change. I was ready to embrace a new challenge, perhaps the last significant professional challenge of my life. I didn’t know where I would land, but I knew it would be with Cresa.
In November 2015, I went to Washington, D.C. to visit colleges with my daughter, who was a senior in high school. At dinner at the home of one of the Cresa Washington DC partners, I mentioned I was looking for a change but wasn’t sure how to make it happen. He said, “Come to the DC office.” My reply: “Really?” He said, “Yes.” My reaction: “When do we start?”
Why DC? The office is one of if not the strongest in the Cresa organization, generating more revenue than any other office. The staff is progressive and smart. I have known them for 20 years and have tremendous respect for them.
So, two weeks after my meeting, I flew back to D.C, and after a 20-minute discussion, I was officially onboard to join the Cresa DC office starting January 2016. My wife will join me in September 2016 once our daughter gets settled in her freshman year at college. Our son will start his junior year in college in Providence, RI. And we’re all excited about resettling our family here.
My first day on the job was January 11. It was strange. I was 48 years old and starting from scratch with no clients, no contacts, no local family in D.C. But I felt connected because I did have a group of colleagues who were like family. They welcomed me with open arms and helped me assimilate to the new environment.
But it was scary. I was temporarily living in a basement apartment with no kitchen and little natural light. I felt like Sylvester Stallone in Rocky 4. Rocky left his family and all creature comforts back in Philly and moved into a cabin in the woods to train. After living in a beautiful, spacious home with a big yard in Boston, I was humbled. But the adrenaline was flowing, and I couldn’t wait to go to work in the morning.
I spent the next four months doing all the things I did when I started in the business in 1995. Networking, making cold calls, attending events, and trying to make a name for myself. But how exactly could I make my mark and help take Cresa DC to a new level?
What happened next has confirmed that I had made a great decision. In short, I recognized a social need and a business opportunity. I started a nonprofit group to help veterans and families of the armed forces find careers in the commercial real estate industry. This will be a key component of the new Armed Forces Practice Group at Cresa Washington DC, with the ultimate aim to mobilize key players in our industry, fill a market void, and capture significant new business.
This is my new dream, my new opportunity. I’ll tell you how we’re progressing shortly in Part Two.