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Meet The Commercial Real Estate Industry's Military Veterans

National

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Commercial real estate can feel high stakes, but scattered throughout the industry are people who put the risks into perspective. 

In our ongoing series recognizing veterans in commercial real estate, we highlighted lessons three industry executives learned during their time served in the military. 

Stream Realty Managing Director Bret Morriss

Meet The Commercial Real Estate Industry's Military Veterans
Bret Morriss, left, with Oliver North in Afghanistan in 2009 or 2010.

City: San Diego

Branch of Service: Marine Corps

Years Served: 20 years: 2003-2015 Active Duty, 1999-2003 and 2015-current in the Reserves

Final Rank: Major

How has your military service shaped your life and career?

The Marine Corps has been such a shaping factor of my life since age 18 that it’s hard to remember a time without it. My entire adult life has in some way been associated with the Marine Corps and I can’t think of a better brand and group of people to be connected with. The Marine Corps has certainly emphasized the importance of commitment, work ethic, sacrifice and leadership along with a myriad of other technical and soft skills. I have had a very unique opportunity to see the world for its good and bad. To recognize firsthand how lucky we are to be Americans and how much opportunity each of us is provided to create a great life for ourselves and our families.

The non-tangible career skills that I most attribute to my time in the military are interpersonal ones. The ability to work well with others, communicate and lead a team seem to be the most important in my current role. In my opinion the key to leadership is to understand the motivations of others and trigger those motivations by providing resources to succeed while providing clear expectations and accountability.

Transwestern Vice President of Agency Leasing William Briggs

Meet The Commercial Real Estate Industry's Military Veterans
Transwestern's William Briggs during his Army service

City: Chicago

Branch of Service: Army

Years Served: 2008-2012

Final Rank: Captain

How has your military service shaped your life and career? 

Being an Army officer was an incredible experience that fostered a lot of great lessons about service, leadership, responsibility, integrity and many others. I have tried to carry them with me every day in business and in my personal life. It also gave me a lot of perspective. We saw some of the best and some of the worst of humanity in a relatively short period of time. Sharing those ups and downs with a group of soldiers was and is irreplaceable; it also taught me that it is much easier to handle a problem or task as a group. Part of what attracted me to the agency leasing side of commercial real estate was that aura of cohesiveness that I so missed and I am very fortunate to be part of a team that mimics the camaraderie and cohesion I experienced while in the Army.

Cox, Castle & Nicholson partner Rob Begland

Meet The Commercial Real Estate Industry's Military Veterans
Cox, Castle & Nicholson partner Rob Begland

City: Los Angeles

Branch of Service: Army

Years Served: 1991-1996

Final Rank: Captain

How has your military service shaped your life and career?

Service in the military exposed me to people from a wide range of backgrounds, coming from all across the U.S. One thing I learned early on was that, in spite of seemingly large differences, (almost) all of them wanted to contribute to a collective accomplishment. Most people want to work as part of a team. As I’ve gone forward in my career, I’ve tried to keep looking for those opportunities to bring teams together. 

Service in the military taught me to identify those few tasks that must be performed well to succeed. While the military taught me perspectives such as attention to detail and the importance of being thorough, it also taught me that one must have a plan for making sure that certain things are done very well. It’s a big part of why the military has a rehearsal culture — to make sure that certain key activities are done very well when the moment arrives. As a trial lawyer, I work to identify those few areas that are critical to our clients’ success.

Finally, my time in the military taught me the satisfaction of public service. And those lessons stay with me today and inspire me to devote my legal skills to pro bono causes.