What year did you join Cushman & Wakefield, in what office, and what role?
I started in December 1979 in the Vancouver office as a ‘sales trainee’ which at that time meant ‘here’s a phonebook to call, good luck!’ As it turned out I was rookie of the year in 1980.
What are the biggest changes you’ve seen over the decades?
Robert: Technological advancements are the definite changes. In the early ’80s there was no word processing, computers, fax machines, cell phones, smartphones or internet. Amazing that business was done at all but it was. The phone was and, in my opinion, still is your friend.
Describe some high points in your career.
Robert: Being with basically the same company for 37 years is a point I’m proud of. Working with a great group of people in the office, some for over 25, 30, and 35 years is very satisfying to me. I’ve seen many people come and go and look forward to seeing many more. I’ve had many significant transactions that I was a part of including the largest build-to-suit lease in my market, which still stands today. Recognition by NAIOP twice for industrial broker of the year was a nice acknowledgment.
If you had to describe yourself in just 3 words, what would they be, and why?
Robert: Loyal, honest, and reliable.
If you could have dinner with any one person, living or dead, who would he/she be, and why?
Robert: Winston Churchill would be fun! He was a true leader who was honest, persistent, and visionary. His wit and speaking skills were amazing, as would having a scotch with him before dinner.
What have you liked about working for Cushman & Wakefield?
Robert: The people! I know in my office over the years there are very few doors ever closed. People basically embrace each other’s ideas and views, which I know with our competitors doesn’t exist.
What are some of the secrets to your personal success?
Robert: No secrets. Being honest and sincere. I come to work every day to accomplish something. If you don’t have the answer don’t lie or guess. ‘I’ll find that out and get back to you’ works every time. Persistence pays off and, even today, I believe in the phone and conversation.
What’s one or two things that many of your colleagues would not know about you?
Robert: I live for my family including daughters and grandkids. To relax, I try to ride my mountain bike at least four to five times a week. From my downtown condo, I am minutes from riding the trails of Stanley or Pacific Spirits Parks, which are world renowned.
What do you see as becoming the biggest future drivers of change for clients and real estate strategies as we move forward?
Robert: I’m not sure about the biggest; however, social and mobile media will be up there. Global and geopolitical influences are more prevalent than ever. Technological influences as well will continue to reshape business and everything in our lives.
What advice do you offer young people getting into the business today?
Robert: Simply, do the best with what you’re given and work hard. Make relationships, build relationships, and keep relationships. I still believe what we do is a people business and will be for some time to come. When things go right we may not be needed; however, my experience shows there is always something that can change, go wrong, or requires input, which is why the client needs us.