Four More Father-Son Duos
CBRE first VP Peter Orth has been with the firm for about 30 years, focused on shopping center sales and leasing. When son Matt, who works at CDC Commercial, graduated from USD, Peter says, "I wanted him to decide on his own what his career would be." One thing he did tell him is that the brokerage has its ups and downs, and "if you have a stable enough personality to be able to flow with the punches, this is something you should check out." Matt agrees that Peter encouraged him to follow whatever field he wanted to pursue. But growing up, he noticed Dad's profession allowed him a lifestyle where you're basically you're own boss. "That flexibility was one of the things I wanted to achieve for myself, and he was the role model." So when it was time to pick a career, he followed Peter right into real estate. Even though they don't work together, he says Dad is always a great resource to ask questions (besides "when's dinner?") and get advice.
Gary Williams (right) and son Chris Williams work together as brokers at Colliers, repping office landlords in north County, including Carleton Management on the 100k SF Promontory in Rancho Bernardo as well as two 60k SF Class-A buildings in San Marcos. Gary's marking his 30th year in the business, while Chris has about seven years. Interestingly both are engineers by education. Gary was introduced to commercial real estate by a friend back in 1984 who thought he'd be a great match, and he started with the old Coldwell Banker. Meanwhile, Chris was working in engineering after graduating from Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, when Gary asked if he'd have any interest in coming to work for him. Eric looked at it as an opportunity to be in a career that is performance-based, as opposed to drafting technical reports.
Still, both thought long and hard about it before Chris came on board. "We didn't want our working relationship to impact our personal relationship," Chris says. Today, they have a lot of fun working together, even though the last six years have been the toughest real estate market that anyone in the business has seen. "I had to cut my teeth in a very difficult market," but he had the benefit of an industry veteran who had a vested interest in him. On deals, they usually take the double-team approach (it's the best way to do deals and the best way to guard Lebron James), noting there's usually a senior broker and a junior broker on the other side of the table. To his chagrin, Chris has noticed that clients will often tell him to shush and let his dad speak, even when Chris was the one who brought in the deal. "They still see my Dad as the ultimate authority." Graciously, Gary says technology is changing so rapidly that young guys like Chris "will far surpass my capability in the future."
Colliers' Chuck McNary and son Eric specialize in industrial sales and leasing in Carlsbad, Vista, and Oceanside. Chuck's been in the business since 1973, having been referred by a friend, and Eric has about eight years in the biz. The two work together on some properties but they're technically not a team. When they do work together, they say it helps that they have different skill sets and different ways that they interrelate with clients. And being family, "You know that you can push the other one harder." Eric was inspired to get into real estate by observing it for many years with his Dad as well as family friends who were all in the biz. As for advice about getting through the lean times vs the good times, Eric quips, "I started in the lean times, so I never got to see the good times." Actually, this relates directly to one of Chuck's bits of wisdom: "If you can survive in the tough times, you're going to do fine in the good times."