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Meet The Stemmons Nominees: Steve Berger On Autonomous Trucks, 2017 Goals And Sleeping Soundly

CBRE SVP Steve Berger is an optimistic guy, a trait that comes in handy for a cyclical industry like real estate. And what's got him most upbeat? Driverless trucks in the industrial market, opportunities in 2017 and his nomination as a 2016 Stemmons Service Award finalist.


Bisnow: What’s taking up a lot of your time right now?

Steve: (Here with his family at the Dallas YMCA Turkey Trot this Thanksgiving) My business is made up of facets of industrial business. I’ve been working on lots of disposition work for corporate America with clients such as Mary Kay, Fidelity and Mitsubishi. Tenant rep and acquisition work, as well as some project leasing for USAA and Prologis, have kept me busy lately. DFW is a vibrant market. My disposition work frequently takes me to places beyond DFW, but my general area is local.

Bisnow: What challenges has the industrial market had to meet recently?

Steve: Clients are increasingly more sophisticated about what works for their particular business. Industrial is no longer a one-size-fits-all industry. E-commerce clients have different needs than last mile distribution, who have different needs than manufacturing. It’s on an evolutionary scale. There are more factors now that each client has to account for, and they’re getting smarter.


Bisnow: Do you and your colleagues talk much about autonomous cars?

Steve: (Here inside one of his listings with wind turbine parts.) We talk more about autonomous trucks. With deliveries, it’s all about how fast you can get a truck from point A to point B. That timing is always challenged by driver regulations like how many hours a driver can be behind the wheel and awake. So the advent of driverless trucks— that will impact distribution. It continues the evolutionary scale of efficiency and moves us into a model of goods from raw materials to end users.

Bisnow: You’re a 2016 Stemmons Service Award finalist for NTCAR. How do you give back? 

Steve: Causes that interest me are the ones I find in my own backyard. People right here in our community need all kinds of help. For me, building houses [for immigrants and refugees] in Vickery Meadow and helping children at Camp John Marc [which allows children with chronic illnesses and physical challenges to attend camp]. By sending kids to camp, they can share experiences with peers with similar challenges while healthcare professionals are very involved. That also gives their caregivers a week of respite while their kids are well taken care of. I’ve been involved in every aspect of CBRE’s annual Chef’s Showcase over the years. We raised more than $2.5M for Camp John Marc through this fundraiser.


Bisnow: Any 2017 market insights to share?

Steve: (Here finishing the Hotter'n Hell Hundred in Wichita Falls this August.) The future looks bright. As robust as construction has been, the demand has met the deliveries to avoid overbuilding. Things seem balanced. As long as we keep creating jobs, we’ll create demand for space absorption.

Bisnow: What are your 2017 goals?

Steve: It sounds trite, but to keep getting better. I plan to do more of the same, but find better ways to do it. I come into work every day enthused about opportunities on my desk. 

Bisnow: What keeps you up at night?

Steve: I sleep really well. I lay my head down and go to sleep quickly. I have a positive outlook on my own fortune and the world’s. Your perspective on challenges is important. There will always be concerns. The cycle always slows down, but that’s reality. But you’ve got to keep it in perspective; this too shall pass.