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Why I Left the World’s Largest Commercial Real Estate Brokerage Company to Join Hughes Marino

By Owen Rice

In 2005 I joined, what was then and is still today, the world’s largest commercial real estate brokerage company. For 12 years, I built my portfolio of clients providing them the best service I was capable of providing. During my tenure, I was consistently recognized as a top performer both within my former organization and industry-wide. In 2015, I was recognized as one of the top 225 professionals in the company which included 70,000 colleagues. When I announced my departure from CBRE this month, some colleagues were confused and some thought I was crazy. During my tenure, I went from a recruit with promise to be a leader in the organization, to one who was on the proverbial “top.” Why depart?

Happiness and fulfillment in my professional life doesn’t come from compensation or accolades. Rather, job satisfaction and pride of accomplishment comes from success I achieve on behalf of my clients, something I must earn every single day.

The commercial real estate brokerage industry is considered by many to be flat and uniform among the majority of service providers. Very little has changed in the last 25 years. The way brokerage companies serve their tenant-clients is antiquated and is largely unchanged since the real estate industry adopted the use of the internet in the mid ‘90s. Conversely, landlords have become much more astute at managing their portfolios. Landlords today follow a more sophisticated approach toward asset management, much like the way hedge fund managers proactively manage their investments. With that in mind, and in the spirit of earning my success every single day, I yearned for an organization whose mission is to provide independent, conflict-free advice to its clients, not one where the primary focus is to represent landlords—the approach taken by every large commercial real estate organization.

Seattle is no stranger to commercial real estate firms who exclusively represent tenants, but those firms lack a complete range of core services, and some have since sold to larger firms in an attempt to provide those services. However, in doing so, they’ve lost their ability to provide unbiased, conflict-free counsel to their clients.

In late 2015, I was introduced to a company in California who is disrupting the commercial real estate industry in Los Angeles, San Diego, Orange County, Silicon Valley and San Francisco. They are creating a new market and greater value for tenants. That company is Hughes Marino. I knew that if I was to continue earning success, I needed the ability to provide my clients with exclusive, conflict-free tenant representation. I needed the best Program, Project and Construction Management team in the region, in-house legal support to review lease and purchase agreements, a Lease Audit Service team to review operating expenses and identify any erroneous charges, and a Lease Administration Service team to help our clients manage multiple locations. Hughes Marino enables me to provide my clients this suite of services.

Hughes Marino was not only founded on the principles of providing excellence to their clients and tenant-centered approach to commercial real estate, but they live by their core values that are self-evident in their daily life and service to their clients. They are a company known as much for their culture as they are for their overwhelming success serving their clients. They embody family spirit and empower each and every team member to make every effort possible to achieve the impossible and deliver terrific results.

In an industry that favors tenure over talent, Hughes Marino embraces the next generation of professionals who demonstrate innovation and a desire to improve upon best practices. Every person at Hughes Marino approaches their work with zest and passion, giving their work personal meaning which is evidenced in their work product and interactions with clients. It’s a place where people are inspired to go beyond what’s required, and to take risks and give their best.

Hughes Marino’s culture is all about substance, not appearances. As a privately held, family-owned company with no fiduciary obligation to Wall Street, they are free from the restrictions of formality. Unlike typical environments found at commercial real estate companies where each broker is competing against their own colleagues for business, at Hughes Marino, each member works together to achieve incredible outcomes for their clients. I encourage you to read some of the biographies of our professionals on our website; they are my partners. In the words of Aristotle, “Together we are greater than the sum of our parts.”

There’s no wonder why Fortune Magazine ranks Hughes Marino #7 in the nation among the country’s best workplaces and is the only commercial real estate company to place in the top ten of best-rated U.S. companies of any size. Hughes Marino’s strong sense of purpose, unrelenting focus, and commitment to their core values had a profound effect on me, so profound that I chose to leave the world’s largest commercial real estate brokerage company to join Hughes Marino.

Owen Rice is an executive vice president at Hughes Marino, an award-winning commercial real estate company with offices in Seattle, San Diego, Orange County, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Silicon Valley. Contact Owen at 1-844-NO-CONFLICT or owen@hughesmarino.com to learn more.



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