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Saluting CRE’s Veterans

Dallas-Fort Worth
Saluting CRE’s Veterans
Military service and CRE share some critical qualities. Thinking  on your feet may top the list, Henry S. Miller CEO Vance Miller tells us. To honor this day, we sat down with almost a dozen military vets to hear how their experiences translate to the CRE world.
Vance Miller
We snapped Vance in his office surrounded by memorabilia and photos from his six years in the Air Force as a fighter pilot serving in air defense command flying an F102  delta wing. “It was a very effective interceptor,” he says. “There is something interesting about being scrambled and set on alert and having to get in the air in five minutes. Then you're sent off over the North Atlantic in the black of night. You'd identify this dark shape out there flying—maybe planning to drop a nuclear bomb on you—and we frequently realized they were our own strategic air command bombers flying practice missions without any identification.” Fortunately, he didn't shoot any of those down, he tells us. The SMU graduate says he always planned on returning from his service to join the family real estate business with his father, Henry S. Miller Jr., and grandfather, Henry S. Miller.
USS Jack Miller
Vance proudly tells us of his uncle, Jack Miller, a Marine. He was posthumously awarded the Navy Cross for heroism as one of Carlson's Raiders during the Battle of Guadalcanal in World War II. According to the "Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships," on Dec. 3, 1942, as commanding officer of a platoon, which had the point at Guadalcanal, Jack daringly led a flank attack on a strong enemy combat patrol engaged by his battalion at the summit of the hill. Realizing the advance of his platoon was being held up by hostile machine gun fire, he dauntlessly led the assault on the Japanese gun position, acquiring wounds from which he died the following day. He was buried beside the road on Guadalcanal. A destroyer escort was named in his honor, the USS Jack Miller (pictured courtesy of Navsource) launched on Jan. 10, 1944. Vance's father served in Africa under Gen. Patton. “That was a good experience for him,” he says. His dad was a gasoline supply company commander for a tank battalion and in the middle of the action.
Mike Herzstein, Mark Porterfield, Jim Turano, Robert Stone, Robert Grunnah, Vance Miller, Sam Kartalis
We also caught up with a group of HSM vets last week. Standing, associate Mike Herzstein (Army), multifamily investments SVP Mark Porterfield (Navy), office/industrial EVP Jim Turano (Marines) and multifamily/senior housing EVP Robert Stone (Army); seated investments/land division prez Robert Grunnah (Air Force), Vance, and prez/COO Sam Kartalis (Navy). Sam tells us that he still uses at least one skill he learned from his Navy days of serving as a lieutenant on a US destroyer escort: managing people. Robert G. says discipline and respect were the two traits he retains from his military service. To briefly talk business: Sam says retail absorption in the last few years has been light, but he's seeing that pick up, certainly on HSM's retail properties. In talking with colleagues around town, everyone sees a little uptick in business, he says. His crystal ball shows “2011 as the year we come out of this strongly.”
Robert Stone, Mark Porterfield, Robert Grunnah, Vance Miller, Jim Turano and Mike Herzstein
We captured Robert S., Mark, Robert G., Vance, Jim, and Mike checking out Mark's Navy photos in the HSM offices. Robert G. says the well-leased quality properties are the only ones trading. Lower-quality properties with high vacancy resort to severe discounts to get sold. Institutions have yet to recognize that those properties need to be revaluated and released. While that hasn't occurred yet, "it has to and will," and he predicts the dam will break in 2011. Vance adds that low-interest rates are making things happen already. “If we can find the right properties to finance, the interest rates are very attractive to our customers and borrowers. For our investment side, we're refinancing some of our own properties right now,” he says. We told you about one of those deals last week.
Stephen Holley, David Carroll, and Scott Collier
We drove down the North Dallas Tollway to Preston Center and snapped JLL associate Stephen Holley (2000 Naval Academy graduate) with COO David Carroll (1993 Air Force Academy) and managing director Scott Collier (1976 West Point). Stephen tells us his military experience as a Navy SEAL  taught him perseverance, doing the right thing and keeping sight of the long-term goal. “Especially in this economy, keeping a level head and maintaining an even keel is critical. It's easy to get sucked into the emotional roller coaster that comes with winning or losing a transaction,” he says. The biggest lesson he took from the Navy is the importance of surrounding himself with good people. “A SEAL platoon is 16 very close individuals depending on each other and working together. At JLL, I am blessed to be surrounded by folks who I love to do business with and enjoy spending time with them outside the office as well.
Stephen Holley
Stephen (pictured here in Southeast Asia) served as a lieutenant in SEAL Team 5, based out of Coronado, Calif,, leading several platoons including two deployments to Iraq and two in Southeast Asia. If he looks familiar, it could be because you saw his SEAL Class 234 on the Discovery Channel  while completing their Basic Underwater Demolition/SEAL (BUD/S) training. If you missed it, you can watch online. Stephen says at the time having the documentary crew on-site wasn't fun. “It was good and bad. There was no way I was going to quit with the whole world watching,” he says. “A lot of my good friends are still overseas serving, and they're constantly in my thoughts and prayers,” Stephen tells us. It gives Veterans Day and Memorial Day more significance to him because of the service and sacrifices those guys continue to make. “Having lost friends, some days are harder than others. But these days—like every day—have a greater significance to me,” he says.