What year did you join Cushman & Wakefield, in what office, and what role?
Paul Langer: I started in the business in 1979 with A.E. LePage in Edmonton. In 1983, I moved to J.J. Barnicke Ltd. in Toronto, both as a sales rep and office leasing specialist. Around 2002, I was appointed as manager of JJ Barnicke Northeast office, which was sold to DTZ in 2007. I continued in the role of manager at DTZ Barnicke until May of 2012 when I was hired by Cushman & Wakefield to be the Senior Managing Director and Market Leader for the Toronto East office. Of course, all three firms that I worked for are now a part of Cushman & Wakefield.
What are the biggest changes you’ve seen to the way business is done over the decades?
Paul: The business is now much more process-oriented. Clients are more demanding and expecting a much larger range of services — it’s more than just a one-off transaction. As Chuck Scott (Canada CEO) would say, ‘It’s about organizing services around the client.’ At the same time, relationships are still hugely important and sometimes tend to be overlooked by our younger salespeople.
Describe some high points in your career.
Paul: I’ve been twice honored as Salesperson of the Year in both North York and the City of Toronto. I’m obviously a strong believer in a high-performing and collaborative culture, with all brokers pulling on the same rope and sharing best practices.
People who have made a difference to me during my career include my father,Peter Langer, Sr., Chairman of Markborough Properties Ltd; Joe Barnicke, who is an icon and a legend in our business, and; Tom McCarthy, our Vice Chairman, who was previously President of J.J. Barnicke.
As far as signature deals are concerned, I’ve had the pleasure to work with numerous corporations in transactions totaling over five million square feet.
If you had to describe yourself in just 3 words?
Paul: Honest, ethical, and client first.
If you could have dinner with any one person, living or dead, who would he/she be?
Paul: Frank Sinatra.
What have you liked about working for Cushman & Wakefield?
Paul: The people and the culture. Our firm differentiates itself by putting the client first, understanding their needs, and finding the combination of thought leadership, street smarts, services, and tools to deliver a relevant solution.
What are some of the secrets to your success?
Paul: Relationship building, the ability to listen, negotiation skills, and common sense.
What’s one or two things that many of your colleagues would not know about you.
Most of them know a lot about me! My ‘great’ singing ability and the musical shows that I put on for charity come to mind.
What do you see as the biggest future drivers of change for clients and real estate strategies?
Paul: The coordination and synthesis of external data by the broker partner to allow the client to make an informed, prudent, and safe decision. More than ever, we must deliver a cost-effective, strategic, and flexible real estate solution that aligns with the client’s business objectives.
What advice do you offer young people getting into the business today?
Paul: Work hard, prospect, never tell a lie, and build personal relationships.