In this executive Q&A, Connect Media spoke with Kent Elliott
, principal at RETS Associates
, a leading national real estate recruiting firm, and Griffin Cogorno
, director of client services at Unire Real Estate
Group, a premier commercial real estate property, construction and asset management firm. Unire manages nearly 40 million square feet of space in Southern and Northern (now!) California. Kent and Griffin discuss Unire’s current activity, expansion and how to leverage human capital to achieve long-term goals.
Connect Media: Give us your perspective on CRE and hiring moving forward in this cycle.
Kent Elliott (KE):
We are seeing less new talent entering the industry. However, today we have five different generations in the workforce, and each of them has different needs and wants. As we continue forward in this competitive environment, employers need to recognize that more people leave for lack of recognition and appreciation than for compensation reasons; money is a short-term fix for a long-term problem.
Likewise, younger industry professionals need to step back from the appeal of more money, and assess the company and opportunity as a whole. This assessment includes understanding the capitalization of the firm, the culture, its industry specialization, people, management and more. We advise talent of all ages that the ‘grass isn’t always greener on the other side’, and continue to stress the importance of doing your homework and understanding all the components, including growth plans.
Griffin Cogorno (GC)
: We’re at a time in this real estate cycle where a lot of our clients and potential clients are looking for someone to take a more hands-on approach. Having someone in the Bay Area that is experienced and can dive in to go that extra mile for a client is extremely important in our growth. We have to be substantially better than our competition, and strive to do so being a regional firm – offering our clients unparalleled attention to detail and experience. That’s true in hiring, and it’s true for the work we do as well. We’re really busy, not only with this Bay Area expansion, but with construction management and global portfolio growth. We see redevelopment as being a major focus for the next year or two as acquisitions subside a bit, and we feel that there’s a lot of opportunity for growth and the ability to add value to our clients portfolio, using our experience and creative team.
This has been a long real estate cycle, and I think we have another 18-24 months to go before we slow down again. There is a lack of flex and industrial inventory, and we believe it’s this lack of supply that is driving construction across the state. Additionally, tenants are getting smarter about the space they’re using, and owners are getting more creative about the real estate they’re delivering. In the end, it pushes the envelope for everyone, and it is this competition that creates good-quality real estate.