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Beyond The Bio: 16 Questions With Cushman & Wakefield Executive Vice President Of Texas Tim Relyea


This series profiles men and women in commercial real estate who have profoundly transformed our neighborhoods and reshaped our cities, businesses and lifestyles. 

Most brokers will spend their entire career trying to earn the business of Tim Relyea’s full stable of mega-clients. Over the course of his nearly 40-year career, Relyea has represented clients like Chevron, Mitsubishi and Citigroup, brokering more than 60M SF of office space for a total aggregate rental of more than $47B. His work has earned him Cushman & Wakefield's top global office broker award four times and the top overall broker award three times. Big office deals in Relyea’s hometown of Houston do not happen without him knowing about it.

Cushman & Wakefield's Tim Relyea with his wife and three daughters and their families.

Bisnow: How do you describe your job to people who are not in the industry?

Relyea: I represent commercial office tenants in meeting their real estate needs by identifying and analyzing office buildings, structuring transactions and negotiating the documents to memorialize agreements. But my job sometimes entails subleasing space, negotiating buyouts and selling office buildings.

Bisnow: If you weren’t in commercial real estate, what would you do?

Relyea: Investment banking or teach kids from 1- to 6-years-old how to swim, which is what I did all throughout high school and college.  I love kids.

Bisnow: What is the worst job you ever had?

Relyea: I like to work, never had a bad job.

Bisnow: What was your first big deal?  

Relyea: After six months in the business, I helped broker the sale of 4801 Woodway.

Bisnow: What deal do you consider to be your biggest failure?

Relyea: Not continuing to work out at some level.

Bisnow: How do you define “making it”?  

Relyea: My wife and I have raised three daughters.  I have been successful enough in this business to give them many opportunities and terrific educations. Our girls accomplished the hardest part in getting the grades and doing all of the work, but my wife and I have funded college, dental school, law school and business school and it has been a pleasure watching all of our girls succeed in life and turn out to be quality and nice people.

JLL Executive Vice President John Pruitt, Cushman & Wakefield Executive Vice Chairman Tim Relyea, Transwestern Vice President Tyler Garrett

Bisnow: What is your biggest pet peeve?

Relyea: Young people saying they want to make it in business, but they won’t put in the hours or the effort to do so.

Bisnow: Who is your greatest mentor?

Reylea: I have three: my father, Russ Relyea; Lou Cushman; and Marvin Shaw — my 92-year-old uncle.

Bisnow: What is the best and worst professional advice you've ever gotten?  

Relyea: Best – outwork the competition; Worst – you have to wine and dine almost every night in commercial real estate to make it. I went with the best advice.

Bisnow: What is your greatest extravagance?  

Relyea: Our family ranch.

Bisnow: What is your favorite restaurant in the world?  

Relyea: Buca Lapi in Florence, Italy.

Tim Relyea’s grandson Webb meeting Santa Claus

Bisnow: If you could sit down with President Donald Trump, what would you say.

Relyea: Too little room to answer.

Bisnow: What's the biggest risk you have ever taken?  

Relyea: Personally, I am pretty much a certified ostrich. I do not take risks at all.

Bisnow: Whose work do you most admire?  

Relyea: Doctors.

Bisnow: What keeps you up at night?  

Relyea: Various negotiation points, I wake up almost every night thinking about deals I can’t get out of my head.

Bisnow: Outside of your work, what are you most passionate about? 

Relyea: Spending time with my family is my passion. My wife and I have three daughters, three sons-in-law, one grandson — Webb Womack — and two more grandchildren on the way in 2018. Nothing is better [to] me than spending time with them.

Related Topics: Tim Relyea, Cushman & Wakefield