December 11, 2003
Mark A. Weed
By BARBARA TRAVERS
Firm: Fisher Properties Inc.
To say that Mark Weed had a hand in laying the foundation for the phenomenal success of Dell Computers would be literally accurate.
Fresh out of the University of Washington's School of Architecture & Building Construction, Weed's first project as a construction engineer was the Austin, Texas, student dormitory in which Dell was launched. It would be just a glimpse into a long string of building success stories.
From Texas to Vietnam, Weed did a two-year stint with the Army, after “winning the first draft lottery complete with free food, clothing and airfare.” Back in Seattle, Weed took advantage of the GI Bill and earned a master's degree in business administration at the UW. An astute student counselor advised him to pursue a career in real estate.
Weed worked at Prudential Real Estate for the next eight years, honing his skills from coast to coast and from every business angle. “I went from the Northwest to Newark, Manhattan, Los Angeles, then back to Seattle,” said Weed. “Prudential was my breeding ground — they took me through every phase of real estate from foreclosures, single family, development, property management, lending, servicing, investment analysis and acquisitions.” With Prudential, Weed was instrumental in the development of the Bellevue landmark Skyline Tower, which was completed in 1983.
An opportunity at the Koll Company came next and Weed spent five years as its vice president of development. “This was an exciting period of time in the Northwest,” Weed said. “We moved forward with over 2 million square feet of office, technology and business park space. There were burgeoning projects in the Kent Valley, Canyon Park, I-90, North Creek, Redmond, Overlake, Bellefield and downtown Bellevue.” It was during this era that today's prominent real estate leaders were rubbing elbows and spawning tremendous regional growth.
Joining Fisher Companies 16 years ago, Weed was brought in by CEO Bill Krippaehne to head up the real estate arm of the company, Fisher Properties. Together, they developed a plan to grow the firm over a 15-year period to a $200 million value as well as accumulate 2 million square feet of space. “In reality, we got there based upon that plan,” Weed said. “About the same time we decided to redirect that capital back into our broadcasting company, Fisher Communications.”
At that point, in autumn of 2001, all Fisher properties were put up for sale.
In just under two years, in a very challenging market, Weed was responsible for the sale of Fisher's entire portfolio of office and industrial space, totaling over 1.3 million square feet. This notable achievement, considering the economy's dour state in recent years, was completed when Weed sold the last two commercial properties held by Fisher, West Lake Union Center and Fisher Business Center, this past October. “We sold everything at our target prices,” he said.
As president of Fisher Properties, Mark Weed is responsible for the day-to-day business affairs and growth of the corporation and is currently directing the company's new real estate service activities. He is responsible for developing and maintaining relationships with banks and other sources of financing.
Weed's low-key demeanor and focused intensity is indicative of his leadership philosophy. Trust is his key ingredient. “You've got to do the right thing. Trust your people, be fair and get out of their way,” he said. “We all believe in the same formula — that teamwork and customer service equate to success.” His long track record of low employee turnover, customer loyalty and continued success speaks volumes to his principles.
Weed is an active member of BOMA (Building Owner's and Managers Association), NAIOP (National Association of Industrial and Office Properties) and Rotary International.
With wife, Becky, Weed has two children, both Harvard graduates. Peter, 26, works at Microsoft and daughter Bryce, 23, attends medical school in New York.
The family is in the process of acquiring a 320-acre ranch in Spanaway. As a rancher in his spare time, Weed tends to the hundred head of cattle, preparing and managing the herd through the annual calving season. The cow/calf operation will produce 30 to 40 calves to be sold to market.
So, what's the difference between selling cows and buildings?
“Cattle don't come back,” Weed said.
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