Five Wooed By Tex Appeal
We hear all the time about out-of-state investors eying Houston, but our attractiveness has another benefit for the commercial real estate industry. Talented professionals from all over the country are moving here. (All those large magnets we secretly put into the highways are working.) We rounded up five real estate pros who just made cross-country treks to join our exceptional workforce.
1. Stream senior property manager Scott Francis: SoCal
Scott grew up in Southern California and tells us he’s been actively looking for a job in Texas for six months. He has family in the state and spent childhood summers bass fishing at his grandmother’s home in Mt. Vernon, which gave him a love for our culture (particularly our barbecue). Trying to buy a house as a young family in California was driving him crazy, so he was drawn to our low cost of living and focus on family values. But the nail in the Golden State’s coffin was Time Magazine’s October cover story on “The United States of Texas” highlighting our recent gains in population and employment. Now that he’s settled here with Stream, Scott will manage a 2M SF portfolio for Cabot Properties.
2. JLL VP Chris Dekker: Miami
Chris (here with his wife Shannon) grew up in Southern California and moved to Miami after college. He wanted a bigger playing field—Houston’s office market is five times the size of Miami. The president of JLL’s agency division told him he could most make an impact in Calgary (too cold) or Houston. (Plus he doesn't have to worry about his passport.) He was surprised by our diversity (preferable to the predominantly tourist economy in Miami) and sophistication and says in Houston, “opportunity is as big as Texas itself.” He bought his first pair of snake boots to go hunting a few months ago. Fun fact: When Chris first got here this summer, he rode his bike the entirety of the Houston area to learn the office market.
3. Boxer regional leasing manager Tommy Cheeks: Los Angeles
Tommy was managing a 3.4M SF portfolio in Los Angeles, but found the economy just wasn’t robust enough to keep him interested. He wanted into Houston because of our snappy rebound from the recession, so he moved here a year ago and just now signed on with Boxer. He loves our business climate, particularly how much less time it takes to negotiate a lease in Texas. (He says Texas is much more conducive to deal-making than Los Angeles.) His current responsibility: overseeing part of Boxer’s 4.6M SF third-party management portfolio.
4. Boxer project manager Mitali Machra: Sacramento
Mitali grew up in Sacramento and first fell in love with the Lone Star State while earning a degree in IT from UT Dallas. Post-graduation, she moved back to California but began searching for a job in Houston shortly thereafter. (Every time they think they're out, we pull them back in.) The decision probably didn’t surprise anyone; Mitali tells us many of her old friends have also found work in Texas. (If this keeps up, Californians may outnumber Texans here soon.) The draw: Our business climate is better than in California (she says it’s very hard to find a job there, and promotion from within is even harder). Mitali has worked for large corporations like Intel and a small business of 10 people, so she’s also enjoying the mid-range atmosphere at Boxer.
5. Studley associate Patrick McCrann: DC
Patrick’s move to Houston was practically inevitable—his parents and two of his three brothers have made the move here from the DC area. He and wife Madeline (above, they're at a Cystric Fibrosis Foundation event recognizing Patrick among DC’s finest young pros) decided shortly after their wedding to move somewhere more conducive to raising a family. Affordability was high on the list, but their new hometown was contingent on his ability to find an office tenant rep job. (It helps that his wife was also able to find a wonderful teaching position.) He hasn’t seen a lot of differences in the people, but working with energy companies rather than the federal government is a significant change.