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Horne Alumni: Where Are They Now?

The Horne Co, led by the inimitable Howard Horne, was the place to be in the ‘80s. Although it no longer exists (it was bought by Cushman & Wakefield in 1991), its legacy remains in a huge swath of today’s top execs who cut their teeth there. We tracked down where some former Horne professionals are today.

1) Drew Lewis

Horne Alumni: Where Are They Now?

Then: Worked at Horne from 1973 to 1984, ending as a partner and SVP of office/consulting/special projects

Drew played all positions on the Horne team and helped grow the company from 12 to 300 personnel. He particularly loved the environment Howard created of integrity and creativity. Drew says the chemistry among those professionals was amazing and something you just don’t see as much in today’s world of mega brokerages.

Horne Highlights: Drew and David Cook came on board when Howard (very reluctantly) agreed to lease One Shell Plaza and Pennzoil Place for Gerald Hines. Howard told him he didn’t think leasing brokerage would take off, and then Drew could rejoin him in sales. Decades later, whenever Howard and Drew saw each other, they’d jokingly ask, “Do you think this leasing thing is going to work out?”

Now: Partner at Lee & Associates, Director of advisory services and on the investment board for Griffin Partners

Drew formed Lewis Partners in 1984. (Today, we call it NAI Partners.) In 1999, he moved to Griffin Partners, where he helped develop a 5M SF investment portfolio. Just this year he and son Chris helped form the local office of Lee & Associates. The native Houstonian enjoys boating and painting in watercolors and acrylics.

2) David Cook

Horne Alumni: Where Are They Now?

Then: One of the first Horne employees; Partner

David joined W.A. Horne Co in 1967 with Howard as his mentor. He was there through its amazing transformation—the seven-person firm became The Horne Co; spread to Austin, Corpus Christi and Midland; blossomed beyond 200 employees; and founded The Office Network, an affiliation of brokerage companies throughout the US and Canada. David became one of seven partners of the Horne Co and managed land and industrial brokers.

Now: Cushman & Wakefield EVP and shareholder

In 1990, David made the move with the majority of Horne brokers to Cushman & Wakefield. He’s consistently been one of the firm’s top brokers. He’s known for major land transactions—he’s completed nearly 4,500 of them valued over $4B, including the Astroworld site, Fluor property, and the HP/Vintage development (not to mention he’s sold almost every Downtown tract at some point). But he says his proudest accomplishments have been mentoring others, including Jeff Peden, Will Condrey, Scott Miller, Kelley Parker, Todd Mason, Pete Johnston and John Duffie.

3) Bill McDade

Horne Alumni: Where Are They Now?

Then: Managed the brokerage department

Bill led a 14-person team and says the personnel and professionalism at the Horne Co were unmatched. (He calls it the Mercedes of commercial brokerage, and says where all those people have gone since is a testament to that.)

Horne Highlights: Bill particularly connected with Sid Smith, one of the three original Horne partners. Bill says Sid was the closest he ever had to a mentor and was “a super broker and a superman.”

Now: EVP at CBRE

Shortly after the Horne Co joined Cushman & Wakefield, Bill, Sid and Dick Gould created McDade Smith Gould Johnston Mason + Co. It was a Houston powerhouse in land brokerage for two decades before closing in 2010. Some of his favorite deals were the $21M acquisition of Dow’s facility at Deerwood and Beltway 8 and the $36M acquisition of 11.1 acres at Allen Parkway and Montrose for the Aga Khan Council. Bill’s gregarious personality comes from lots of practice meeting new people—he moved 38 times before he got married, including going to five different high schools in five different towns.

4) John Duffie

Horne Alumni: Where Are They Now?

Then: Worked for Horne from 1980 to 1990 as a VP

John, here partaking in his favorite pastime with his son Parker, joined Horne right out of college. David was his first boss, and John says working with him, Howard and Sid (three of the all-time-greats in Houston real estate) was an amazing opportunity. Being a Horne alum has kept him connected with a huge group of top professionals—John tells us every time his youngest son met someone new, he’d say, “Don’t tell me dad, he worked at The Horne Co too.” (And half the time, they had.)

Horne Highlights: Working with David on downtown site acquisitions. The team acquired nearly 50 sites for the Huffington Family, which was eventually developed into the GRB, Toyota Center and other Houston landmarks. It was an incredibly secretive assignment—they called the client Mr. X and weren’t allowed to talk about it inside the office or outside in case someone walked by and overheard.

Lesson Learned: On his second day on the job, David told him “anyone can be busy, you need to be productive.” The words have stuck with him through his career.

Now: Founder of Nelson Duffie Interests

For the past 11 years, John has focused on value-add acquisitions with his partner Richard Nelson. He grew up in Houston (his great-grandfather was our mayor in 1902) and is particularly passionate about his work with Goodwill Industries, where he’s been volunteering for 25 years and is on the executive board.

5) Kevin Snodgrass

Horne Alumni: Where Are They Now?

Then: Joined Horne in 1982 as a tenant rep

Kevin says the firm provided him an amazing opportunity, and the friendships he made there are still some of the most important to him today.

Now: Cushman & Wakefield vice chairman

Kevin (who says there's no greater feeling than creating opportunity for his clients) loves golf, hunting and water sports, and enjoys spending time with his family on Lake Travis and giving back to the community.

6) Paul Layne

Horne Alumni: Where Are They Now?

Then: Was at Horne from 1980 to 1988, leaving as an SVP

Paul oversaw landlord leasing and partnered with John Moffet in tenant rep activity. Pictured is Paul’s recognition for entering the Horne $500k club. It was awarded at the end of the year if you exceeded $500k in commissions, a very large amount in the early ‘80s.

Now: EVP at Howard Hughes Corp

After stints with Prime Asset Management (which owned Chase Tower), Trizec Properties/Cullen Center Inc and Brookfield, Paul moved to Howard Hughes three years ago. He oversees all the company’s master-planned community development, including The Woodlands.

7) Kelley Parker

Horne Alumni: Where Are They Now?

Then: SVP, ran industrial department

Kelley (here with Trammell Crow's Aaron Thielhorn) spent 14 years at Horne and says it was a great environment to get into the business. As a young broker, he loved being surrounded by such talent and wealth of knowledge.

Now: EVP at Cushman & Wakefield

Kelley was another pro who stuck with Cushman & Wakefield after it acquired Horne. Last year, he closed the deal of a lifetime—the sale of Cedar Crossing Industrial Park. The third-generation Houstonian likes to golf on the weekends (when he’s not bird hunting or fishing) and loves playing with his two grandkids.

8) David Baker

Horne Alumni: Where Are They Now?

Then: Headed the industrial landlord rep group

Now: EVP at Transwestern

David (pictured between TIAA-CREF's Duane Hale and Transwestern's Steve Ash) left Horne in 1989 for Transwestern; he's now one of the firm's most productive office brokers. His most recent big accomplishment was pre-leasing Tower Five (a 595k SF office development) at Four Oaks Place to BHP. David and his family (wife and two adult daughters) have been involved with the Yahweh Mission and Citizens for Animal Protection.