What Real Estate and Hockey Have In Common
Cushman & Wakefield's new president and CEO for the company's Canada operations Scott Chandler grew up one street over from Maple Leafs great Dave Keon, so it's an easy guess what his favourite sport is.
Scott started playing the game at age eight while growing up in Toronto and still plays today. He's an ardent Leafs fan (we met with him after the Kessel hat-trick against the Ducks, a point of conversation). He's also a hockey dad--his two young sons play, while his daughter plays soccer. The comparisons between the sport and the commercial real estate biz are plentiful. Two obvious takeaways, Scott tells us: Both are very competitive and there's a lot of teamwork. (Though office fist-fighting hasn't quite taken off in the same way.) "What I love about hockey is the game is over, and you move on," say Scott, snapped in his Yonge Street office.
Here's an oldie of his former neighbor. Other lessons the industry can learn: leaving the game on the ice, and celebrating wins, yet moving on to the next game. Also having modesty combined with self-confidence. (It's the fashionable cocktail these days.) Don't flaunt or over-celebrate the wins, and don't book any Stanley Cup parades, he says. "I would like to instill a bit of that attitude here," he adds. Scott is the eighth Canadian president in the company's 100-year history (previously Royal LePage, acquired by C&W in 2005), and he brings a passion for commercial real estate that goes back to his days as an economics undergrad at Wilfred Laurier University, when he started in a consulting firm back in 1987. (He also holds a MA in Economics from U of T.)
We expect that empty bookshelf behind him to be filled with hockey memorabilia soon enough. (Or at least some books about the art of stick maintenance.) Mentors include his father Jim, who was a general contractor, mostly in industrial, and his first boss, Frank Clayton, a consultant. Both men were driven by work ethic. Scott says Frank would get a new project and always have to improve it from the last time. "That's how you keep clients," he says. His career soon shifted into commercial real estate, where he had particular interest in the financial analysis of deals. The big deal of his career was a no-brainer--being part of the Scotia Capital team that oversaw the sale of Scotia Plaza to Dundee REIT and H&R REIT in 2012 for $1.27B.
Scott was director at Scotia Capital, leading the property advisory and underwriting services for the investment bank. With this sale, he assisted in the financial analysis and valuation for the vendor. "It was exciting to be part of that team, working on the sale of an iconic landmark," he says, calling it a bellwether moment for REITs that showed the vehicle's power at accessing capital. Going forward, getting an edge over the other big brokerage firms will all come down to client focus and being an expert on the industry. "That's one of the things I love about our business," he says. "It's garnered knowledge. You get smarter as you get older."