Up Close With Rand Stephens
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Avison Young managing director Rand Stephens loves real estate and buildings—on vacations he’ll slip out while his family is sleeping and drive around looking at properties. So although it wasn’t his first career choice, it’s no wonder he made his way to the industry.
Rand was a computer science major and started his career at IBM selling hardware. Every year the product got more powerful but less expensive and sales quotas kept rising. Add in the red tape of working for a giant corporation, and Rand decided it was time for a change. His mother owned a residential brokerage firm and she had set him up with a duplex deal, which he bought with a friend and sold a few years later for a profit. They thought they were geniuses, and Rand was hooked on real estate. He joined Trammell Crow’s industrial development team, which sent him to Houston in ’87.
In 1994, Rand and three other Trammell Crow employees founded Insite, and Rand launched its brokerage division. It started out as industrial tenant rep and then, realizing the process is fundamentally the same across property types, expanded to office. Rand ended up going brokerage full-time. In 2010, he opened Avison Young’s Houston office. He spends most of his time growing the Houston business but is also expanding it through Texas, including leading its entry into Dallas and Austin through company acquisitions. Pictured, Rand's with his wife, Annette, his brother and his sister-in-law in Turnberry in Scotland.
Rand’s still a producer as well. One of his favorite clients is one that’s been with him for over 20 years. It’s an industrial manufacturing conglomerate of companies that’s grown to over 2M SF in Houston. Rand just closed a transaction with them in June that topped 500k SF. Rand tells us he’s where he wants to be professionally, but he’d like to increase his presence and become a thought leader on traffic and mobility in Houston. With his tech background, he’s also really interested in workplace strategy and would like to do more in that arena.
Here’s the Stephens family—Rand, his wife of 25 years, and their three kids. Rand converted to Catholicism recently and his involvement at St. Michael’s is an important part of his life. With the rest of the Avison Young office, he supports Bo’s Place and the MS 150, and he enjoys keeping in shape. He played college tennis and continued playing for decades. Back surgery has taken Rand off the court, but he still works out a few times a week and plays lots of golf.