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7 CRE Dads with Kids in the Biz

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We hope all you dads felt truly appreciated yesterday (or at least got a chance to sleep in)! In one of our favorite Bisnow traditions, we’re highlighting some fathers who shared their love of commercial real estate and the kids who’ve followed in their footsteps. (Check out past years.)

Michael and Ryan McGrath


Asset Plus president/chairman Mike McGrath and his son/co-owner Ryan McGrath have always stuck close together; Ryan tells us his dad coached him in nearly every sport growing up—they reviewed line-ups, analyzed tryouts, and came up with new game plans together. Now they’re extending that player/coach relationship in business. (Except now they don't have to run the three-man weave.) Ryan’s been shadowing Mike for the last eight years, and one day will take over as CEO. Ryan says his dad’s best advice was to be patient. But Mike loves his intensity, telling us that his son’s fresh energy and ideas (and particularly his leadership and caring heart in Asset Plus’ charitable endeavors) make him proud.

Mark and Travis Russell


Savills Studley EVP/co-branch manager Mark Russell says he loves that his son Pinto Real Estate’s Travis Russell actually listens when he talks shop. Travis says his dad has always been passionate about his job, which turned out to be contagious, and it’s been a huge advantage to be able to ask him about the business. Mark has loved watching his son mature personally and professionally, and is proud of his thirst for knowledge. According to Travis, the best thing he passed on was determination—Mark refuses to take no for an answer, and taught his son to do the same from a young age. (That's a great skill to have if he ever wants to get into show business.) The duo have a set Father’s Day tradition—golf in the morning and then boating on Lake Travis with the whole family in the afternoon.

John and Parker Duffie


Nelson Duffie Interests founding principal John Duffie and CBRE associate Parker Duffie have one serious con to both being in CRE: They sometimes compete for tenants in Post Oak Park. (Father and son competing for the same goal. It's practically Shakespearean.) But Parker says having such a well-known and well-respected father gave him a little bit of legitimacy right off the bat and opened a few doors. He says John taught him there’s a big difference between being busy and being productive, and he always strives to walk that line and gain the trust and respect of his clients and peers. John says that after 33 years in the industry, it’s funny to have young guys ask him if he’s Parker’s dad instead of the other way around.

Bruce Rutherford and Marin Turney


JLL international director Bruce Rutherford and daughter Brookfield Office Properties leasing manager Marin Turney no longer share a town (she’s in LA), so they particularly enjoy sharing an industry. Marin says her dad is a great sounding board for advice and a wonderful outlet for both joyous and frustrating moments in the business. (The con: He always thinks he knows everything… Marin admits they’d probably kill each other if they worked together directly.) His best advice: Work hard and do your best, and you can’t have regrets. Bruce worked in LA for 13 years, so he occasionally gets calls from old contacts who’ve met and respect Marin, which couldn’t make him prouder. Marin tells us they bridged the distance yesterday by having separate BBQs and enjoying Bruce’s favorite, blueberry pie.

Chip and Cameron Colvill


Colvill Office Properties Dallas-based leasing rep Cameron Colvill tells us his dad prez/CEO Chip Colvill is his best friend and the best person he knows. He knew at an early age that he wanted to be in real estate because he wanted to be like Chip in every way he could. The only con is the pressure he feels to live up to Chip’s amazing reputation in the industry. Chip’s best advice: Be as genuine as you can to show people that you care, remember important info about people’s personal lives, always ask questions, and be outgoing and confident.

Scott and John Wilkinson


Kirksey EVP Scott Wilkinson and his son John Wilkinson work together very closely—they have co-designed numerous office towers, including Energy Center Three, Four, and Five; Town Centre; and 10 Waterway. John says he loves that Scott has provided him with a better macro understanding of the industry (and that he usually picks up the lunch tab), but it can be a little challenging that he’ll always be known as Scott’s son (but not too much, given Scott’s reputation). We might see a third generation of Wilkinson architects—John’s son Ben is growing up exploring architectural models, just like John did.

William Burwell and Sarah De Ita


Ziegler Cooper’s Sarah De Ita worked at her father William Burwell’s interior design firm through college, but when she graduated he told her she needed to find her own way in the AEC world. She says it was the best thing he could’ve done, and neither could’ve anticipated they’d both end up at Ziegler Cooper years later. (He was all set to retire in 2009, but Sarah talked with Ziegler Cooper’s leadership and her dad ended up merging his company into the firm. He finally did retire this January.) The duo celebrated Father’s Day by wining and dining at Pico’s yesterday.