December 11, 2008

Weathering the storm

  • Eleven local industry leaders answer the question: “What are you doing to weather this economic storm?”
  • Tim Weber

    Vice President

    First Western Properties-Tacoma


    “It’s back to basics! Get away from the computer and e-mails, stop instant-messaging and text messaging and get in front of clients. Have face-to-face meetings with your clients to talk about ways to make it through these times. Take this time to reevaluate the way you are working and make sure your tools are up to date. Make sure you are doing all of the right things in the marketing of your centers and yourself, update your brochures, personally cold call every tenant in the vicinity of your listings, get on a plan and go visit your clients in person. Get in the car and tour your tenants for opportunities and market knowledge. This is how to get things done NOW! Deals are still being done, but by whom? The broker that is doing business the old way: person to person.”

    Tina Pappas


    Egis Real Estate Services


    “We continue to focus on our employees. There is a lot of anxiety in the business world, which can make it tough on our employees in so many ways. We understand that our office is their second home so we create a place that supports and inspires each Egis employee. For example, our company pays for classes relating to their career path, we bring in lunch and even have in a masseuse each month come to the office. When our employees are happy it creates a healthy environment and we work better as a team for our clients.”

    John Miller

    Senior Managing Director, Northwest Region

    Cushman & Wakefield


    “We are still experiencing a lot of activity in the respective markets. We continue to see both direct leasing and sublease opportunities as we help certain clients downsize in this economic environment. Leveraging our different service lines is helping create additional cost savings for our local clients and we continue to take advantage of our global platform to assist our Fortune 500 clients with requirements nationally and abroad. Likewise, we are assessing our own operations to create efficiencies and economies of scale across the Pacific Northwest.”

    Michael McQuaid


    McQuaid Commercial Real Estate


    “We are searching for the new principals in the market. Whenever markets change or have turmoil the players/principals change. To remain successful the brokers must find the new principals while still servicing the existing ones.”

    Craig Hill

    Senior Vice President

    Grubb & Ellis Co.


    “Tenants are king — our focus is on the tenant in this market. We are also promoting the resilience of the Northwest real estate market in the wake of this or any other downturn. A dollar invested here will generate a return as we cycle out of this recession, just like it has in all other bumps in our road.”

    Jim Bowles

    Senior Managing Director

    CB Richard Ellis, Seattle


    “We are reassessing how we invest in our business. We’re looking for the best use of limited resources. We brainstorm regularly about where the opportunities are and then explore those possibilities. Most importantly, we’re focusing on deepening our relationships with our existing customers and increasing our training and education offerings so we can help our producers become better and more efficient. We’re focusing on better integrating our various services such as investment sales and finance, project management and property management; re-working our individual and collective business plans in order to respond to the market; and preparing for the market to improve so that we are best poised to take advantage of the inevitable recovery.”

    Rob Aigner

    Senior Vice President

    Harsch Investment Properties


    “We are focused entirely on leasing and managing the existing portfolio. We feel we can maintain and enhance value by focusing our intensity on our existing clients and eliminating vacancy as soon as it surfaces. For that we rely on the outstanding advice of our brokers.”

    Stuart Williams


    Pacific Real Estate Partners


    “We think it is time to spend more time listening to our clients and finding out what is most important to them in this ever-changing environment. With that said, we see these times as an opportunity to increase our marketing efforts. Two examples are our headline sponsorship for NAIOP’s “Night of the Stars” with our own cocktail party and our first annual investment dinner in Portland.”

    Paul Chiles


    Chiles & Co.


    “Coveting and growing our property management business!”

    Gordon Buchan

    President and COO

    GVA Kidder Mathews


    “We expect our service providers to be even more active in a tough market. It will be harder to earn fees than over the past few years. Stormy economic times create opportunities for savvy investors and business people. Tenants will look to improve their long-term lease positions and many landlords will look for opportunities to secure and/or retain financially strong tenants. Some owners will need to liquidate and certain purchasers will look for unusual opportunities to acquire quality assets in strong markets. Our job is to assist our clients with their real estate problems. Stormy economic times will lead to more real estate problems. New creative solutions will emerge. More effort and time will be spent on fewer transactions, but we will be even more valuable to our clients as they deal with the economic conditions. As a company we are not planning to reduce services to our service providers or our clients and we are continuing to carry out our strategic growth plans into new markets.”

    Arvin Vander Veen

    Senior Vice President

    Colliers International

    Vander Veen

    “I refuse to participate in any perceived recession.”

    Interviews conducted by Barbara Travers

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