Daredevils of CRE
You know the ones—they’re the men and women not satisfied to merely tee off at a legendary golf course or just run a half-marathon (we'd be huffing and puffing at either of these). These are the adrenaline junkies. Here’s just a few of their stories. Hold on to the edge of your seats.
Alex Whitman feels the need for speed. (Appropriate phrase, although maybe we should quote Days of Thunder as a more apt Tom Cruise comparison than Top Gun in this situation.) Before he joined JLL’s Dallas retail team, he was a professional race car driver. While he doesn’t race professionally any more, he does admit to hopping in a race car from time to time. JLL head Paul Whitman (Alex's dad) even hopped in the car with him a few times, he tells us, including once at Texas Motor Speedway and once at Lowe’s Motor Speedway in Charlotte. He’s raced at the Laguna Seca near Monterrey, Calif, and driven on major tracks like the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and Daytona International Speedway. If racing wasn’t extreme enough, he also likes to fly. “It’s one of those remarkable experiences that I think everyone should have the chance to do,” he says.
Another JLL retail team member, Byron Howard is an avid cyclist. He’s a Category 3 USCF Licensed Cyclist for road bikes and has been racing for more than 25 years, which equals seven broken bones, two surgeries, and 30 stitches for him. (Just talking about needles makes us queasy.) You can find him racing every Thursday night in Fair Park in the summer criterion series. He also likes to compete in regional weekend events when he can. His team: Race for Atlanta Cycling out of Atlanta, Ga.
Cushman & Wakefield senior managing director for marketing and corporate communication for the Americas Brian Jensen likes to swim, but not just laps at the YMCA. A few years ago, he swam to Alcatraz (here he is leaping into the waters) as part of the Sharkfest series. He did his first open water swim as part of a triathalon relay in Lake Carolyn at Las Colinas and did so well, he decided to tackle the Sharkfest swims. He tells us that seeing The Rock and the Golden Gate Bridge from a completely different perspective was pretty spectacular. It was also quite the experience to do it from the point of view of a prison escapee, he says. On his to do list: either swimming Lady Liberty (from the Statue of Liberty past Ellis Island), Lake Tahoe, Boston Harbor, or possibly a Hawaiian island swim.
The adventurous Fults Commercial Real Estate’s Gini Russell doesn’t focus on just one extreme sport. From running in the Wounded Warrior Project's 12-mile Tough Mudder last October to catching a 40-pound catfish in the Sabine River, if it’s outdoors and challenging: she’s in. (Might we suggest medieval jousting?) Here she is scuba diving last summer with her fiancé, Kellis Dibrell, in Jamaica. She’s also interested in chasing deals, too. She tells us she just completed 29k SF of deals in Willow Bend Park and her team was recently awarded the leasing of Merit Tower, which has gone through $3.75M in recent renovations.
Swearingen Realty Group’s Alan Thomas likes to dive in the deep end, too. He and his dad took a “bucket list” scuba trip with a few friends to Truk Lagoon in the South Pacific, southeast of Guam a few years back. It was one of Japan’s primary bases in the South Pacific in WWII, and in 1944, Allied Operation Hailstone sank 12 Japanese warships, 32 transport ships, a submarine, and destroyed about 275 aircraft. All of that is at the bottom of the atoll. Here’s Alan and some friends on the San Francisco Maru (one of the supply ships that sank) with a Japanese tank that rode on the deck all the way down. (They should put miniature rusted tanks inside home aquariums to make it real.)
Henry S Miller’s Paul Wagner likes to rock-climb for clarity (that would be a great band name). Being outside and seeing nature, conquering routes and learning to master his technique brings a balance and zen-like freshness to life, he tells us. The climbing community is also full of really amazing people who aren’t trying to succeed by seeing you fail, but they want you to defeat a route as much as they want to defeat it too. A few weekends ago, he tells us, he and some buddies were climbing in The Narrows at Wichita Wildlife Ranch (where he’s pictured here by the lake) and they found a huge spider. Instead of knocking it off, they climbed around it, turning a 5.8 difficulty route into something more like a 5.10 just to avoid the spider.
Axiometrics’ Kameron Lopez (who started a new adventure by joining the firm less than a month ago) gained an interest in car racing from his grandfather, who taught driving school for the Legend and Bandolero car programs. He drives a 2008 Scion tc, which was originally his daily transportation through college. After his first autocross race in '09, it was no longer stock (it has a modified exhaust and a heavily modified transmission and suspension) and he moved up from autocross to road course racing after a year. That’s when he got involved in the National Auto Sport Association. He was hooked on racing after that first race, he says. He and his car, which he named David Hasselhoff, are racing at high performance driving events at Eagles Canyon in Decatur and MSR Cresson in Cresson. He’s also raced in the Global Time Attack Series at Texas Motor Speedway. This year he’s planning to travel to Georgia to compete in the Global Time Attack Pro-am Series.
Don’t pick a fight with The Weitzman Group’s Trammell Hancock. While he considers himself a weekend warrior, he’s been training in Brazilian Jiujitsu for over two years and is currently training at Octagon Mixed Martial Arts. Before that, he did three years of Krav Maga and boxed at military school. He even earned a black belt in Tae Kwon Do as a child. He’s training for a Brazilian Jiujitsu competition this September or early 2015 barring a herniated disc in his neck preventing it, he tells us. The blue belt trains six hours per week in Brazilian Jiujitsu at Octagon and previously trained under world champion Jean Jacques Machado in Malibu. He says the training is beneficial to his professional life because it's like a chess game; teaching you to stay calm and focused while learning when to strike.
E Smith Realty Partners VP Jonathan Tobolowsky’s adventures run the gamut from scuba diving in Israel off the border of Egypt to skydiving. Here he is with Centennial Real Eatate’s Perren Gasc (right) skiing in Taos. Jonathan tells us he likes that adrenaline rush and knowing he’s doing something that scares most people only heightens the excitement.