Saluting CRE Veterans
We’d like to thank all the brave men and women who have put themselves on the line to protect our country. Today, meet eight veterans of both commercial real estate and military service.
Henry S Miller EVP Lew Wood (or maybe we can call him Sarge) tells us his experiences taught him discipline, integrity, loyalty, and a great love for his “brother combat Marines” and respect for the traditions and history of the United States. He was wounded twice and awarded two Purple Hearts. The moments that changed his life were learned on the battlefield against a very determined enemy that was trying to destroy us, he says. As an artillery man, he worked and trained as a fire direction control Marine. In Vietnam, he was a forward observer and a gun commander on a M109 155 mm self-propelled Howitzer.
He joined the Marines right out of high school in 1964, he tells us, following in the footsteps of the men in his family. He served until 1970, after his final Vietnam tour (’69-’70). Over his six years in the Marines, he served in multiple locations from Danang to the DMZ, in Japan, and stateside (among others). Today, he uses those lessons learned during his service in his daily life. “You must work hard and smart; set goals and determine how to achieve them; build a team and work together for the common good; and enjoy life,” he tells us. “Last of all, I learned how to laugh and take it all in stride.”
Transwestern principal Marc Allen served as a sergeant in the Marines during Desert Shield and Desert Storm and was tasked with processing the remains of the first American combat casualty in Desert Storm. “When I searched him for identification, I found a picture of him with his family. It struck me powerfully, considering that his family had no idea that their husband and father was no longer with them,” he tells us. His military experiences instilled in him the value of doing things even when you don’t want to do them. Its something that has remained with him over the years, he tells us. “The general application is, ‘take care of your responsibilities regardless of your disposition towards them.’ This lesson helps so often with tasks such as wading through countless emails, delivering bad news, and managing difficult personalities.”
Cushman & Wakefield senior director JJ Leonard (here on a desert training exercise in California) opted to enter the Marine Corps after his graduation from the US Naval Academy in Annapolis. As an aviation intelligence and targeting officer on the USS Constellation aircraft carrier, JJ watched an F/A-18 fighter pilot demonstrate grace under pressure when his jet took a great amount of debris into both of its engine intakes, and essentially lost all but a half of one of its two engines at takeoff. The pilot never lost his composure and ultimately landed the jet safely aboard the aircraft carrier on choppy seas at night. “I learned that when things appear the hardest, when you’re thrown a curveball, that is when you have to keep your poise and professionalism and stay the course,” he tells us.
JJ (right, with the highly decorated Vietnam veteran, Col John Ripley) tells us his years in the Corps taught him that nothing worthwhile in life can be accomplished without hard work, dedication, and teamwork. “You have to bring a servant mentality to those you work for and to those you lead,” he says. “I was amazed at the amount of responsibility placed on the shoulders of our young men and women who volunteer to serve and constantly impressed with their ability to accomplish their mission with a can-do attitude.” Bringing 100% to everything he attempts, JJ says he strives to overcome setbacks and keep the big picture in perspective. “I also teach my children the importance of service and to be grateful for and supportive of the men and women who sacrifice so much to protect our freedom,” he says.
Peloton Commercial Real Estate principal and chief operating officer Ray Mackey Jr learned a valuable lesson in the US Air Force: don’t burn bridges. When he was a 2nd lieutenant (he left as a captain), his first boss was a great guy named Col Chuck Bopp. "We both left the military at different times and ended up working in property management in the Dallas area,” Ray tells us. “As fate would have it, over the years I worked for Chuck two different times and he has worked for me two times. What goes around comes around.”
Ray (as the chairman of BOMA International in 2010) earned his commission through the ROTC Program at the University of Missouri. He always wanted to fly jets, but learned during his military physical that he was color blind. Instead of flying jets, he was responsible for Air Force buildings and facilities as chief of resources and requirements in the civil engineering group (thus starting his love of buildings and real estate). His military career prepped him for his BOMA role, too, he says. He was the main briefer for the wing commander’s weekly status meeting and grew accustomed to speaking before a large room full of generals and colonels.
Peloton regional director/SVP Bill Moebius was interested in serving and learning so he attended Rice University on a US Navy ROTC scholarship. He served as a navigation officer and officer of the deck during his active duty days. His duties helped him gain leadership skills and an on-the-job lesson of managing teams of people, as well as how to function under stress, he tells us. Here’s Bill being presented with the surface warfare officer pin by the USS Coral Sea captain
USS Coral Sea (CV-43). Bill tells us as a new college graduate, he was exposed to some great experiences and travel to other parts of the world (seeing sunrises in the Pacific, Indian, Mediterranean and Atlantic oceans along the way), including circumnavigating the globe (California to Virginia the long way). He learned to appreciate the sacrifices that those serving make and to appreciate so much that we have in the U.S. While near Singapore, the ship sailed south far enough to cross the equator. All that had not crossed before went through the “crossing the line” ceremony, which is an old mariners’ tradition (and a day-long initiation), he tells us. “I survived and spent the next few days trying to get the lard out of my hair,” Bill says.
Granite Properties’ Richard Jordan tells us the highlight of his Naval career (and a moment he’ll always remember) came aboard the USS Long Beach CGN-9 when he was steering the ship during heavy seas. He served as a petty officer third class as a boatswain's mate in the US Navy from 1975 to 1979. Throughout his service he visited Australia twice, New Zealand, Hong Kong, Hawaii, Philippines, Singapore, and the Mauritius Islands. The experiences have taught him how to deal with multiple personalities, and be a great team player, which are attributes that work well in his profession, Richard tells us.
Robert Faust Mortgage Co’s Robert Faust (here, tailgating at an SMU game) served as a medical specialist at Fort Sam Houston after graduating from SMU in 1960. He did his basic training at Fort Ord, California, where the morning fog made for some unhappy soldiers. “The the fog seemed to always be rolling in while we were at rifle training,” Robert recalls. “The instructors were always trying to scare the 250 men in the company with being recycled if they failed. When it came time for our test, 75% of the company failed due to the heavy fog.” He also had a call-up, while in the reserves, during the Berlin crisis in 1961. Robert met many friends in the service, including one who became his best friend until his death.
Jack Allday (retired from advising many DFW commercial real estate firms) served in the US Army as a lieutenant from '66 to '69. He traveled the globe from serving stateside to all across Vietnam. Jack tells us the Army taught him “self-reliance, the importance of leadership, the value of teamwork, and the realization that, no matter how bad things might get in life, nothing is going to be any worse or more life-and-death than warfare.” Jack learned what a small world it is, too. When he arrived in Vietnam, and told his commanding officer that he was from Dallas and had attended Highland Park High School, he learned the CO had been a Highland Park policeman and had watched Jack play football and baseball. Here’s Jack (left) with eighth transportation group commander Col Joseph Bellino, who was credited with developing the hardened convoy concept. Jack says the Army helped prepare him for the ups and downs of running a business for almost 40 years. “I think I am a better person for having spent three years in the Army,” he tells us.