By Briana Waris
For Seattle native Gavin Curtis, his route to Hughes Marino in retrospect seems predestined. “My father started and ran his own tenant-only representation firm for 20 years,” Curtis says. “So, brokerage and representing tenants and buyers, it runs in my family.”
After graduating from the University of Arizona with a B.A. in Political Science, Curtis entered the commercial real estate sphere with CBRE as an analyst, and 18 months later as a broker in the office market. “I was fortunate to team up with my colleague Owen Rice early on in my career, and we worked together for several years at CBRE before making the move to Hughes Marino.”
A vice president at Hughes Marino, Curtis knew right away that the move would be highly advantageous. “There is no question in my mind that I will spend the rest of my career at Hughes Marino,” he says. “In making the move, clients were fully supportive, and there was a breath of fresh air in a family atmosphere where owners Jason and Shay Hughes truly care about the team.”
Curtis, along with collaborative partner, Rice, executive vice president, manages the office sector for the Puget Sound metro. “We focus on emerging technology firms and professional service companies,” Curtis says. Curtis makes note that Seattle is truly a competitive peer to metros such as Portland, Denver and San Francisco. “Most established technology companies in the Bay Area have locations in Greater Seattle,” he says. “Facebook, Snapchat, Airbnb and down the line. Seattle is winning on the talent pool and the cost of doing business. Not to mention, Seattle is one of the most desirable places in the country to live right now, especially for the in-demand demographic of millennials.”
Another transformative element in the Seattle landscape? The trend away from the small mom and pop commercial real estate owners. “There is much more of an institutional presence in the Seattle market now than ever before, yet Seattle business leaders still want to work with companies they know have their best interest at heart, where they aren’t just a number,” Curtis says.
“Relationships and values are at the heart of what we do and are the backbone of Hughes Marino,” he says. “As all of us at the firm believe: companies don’t provide services—people do—and I truly believe Hughes Marino has assembled the best team imaginable.”
The proof is in the pudding. In recent years, Hughes Marino was recognized nationally as the second best company culture by Entrepreneur, and the seventh best place to work by Fortune.
And Gavin’s secret sauce to success? “I would definitely say attention to detail. Clients respect and appreciate my commitment to deliver excellence in everything I do,” he says.
With Hughes Marino’s platform and nationally-recognized company culture positioning Curtis for ongoing success, the talented broker has his eye on one goal. “I want Hughes Marino to be the dominant tenant representation firm in the Pacific Northwest.”
Sidebar: Getting to know Gavin Curtis
Q: Tell us about your family life?
A: Family is a huge part of my life. My dad and I have breakfast at the same restaurant every Tuesday morning at 6:45. He has been in the same line of work (representing tenants) for over 30 years so I’m fortunate to be able to bounce ideas and learn from him. I’d consider my only sibling, Reed, one of my best friends. He is a couple years younger than I and living in Chicago right now; it’s my goal to get him to move back to the Pacific Northwest within the next couple years.
Q: When you are not working, what are your hobbies? How do you relax and unwind?
A: I enjoy going to the gym, spending time in the San Juan Islands, as well as hiking, golfing, fly-fishing, skiing and camping. Of course, I watch my alma mater, Arizona Wildcats basketball!
Q: What advice would you give to someone who is wanting to make a career in commercial real estate?
A: Find an established broker who is going to take you under their wing and train you. That mentor broker needs to be someone who leads by example, has the bandwidth to sit down with you on a weekly basis to give you guidance and also the occasional constructive criticism, so you can further accelerate your learning curve. All too often, younger brokers are given a phone, a computer and told “good luck” with no direction on how a real estate transaction is successfully negotiated or what to look for when reviewing a lease document—it’s a recipe for disaster. Anyone new to the business is going to have a rough time getting on their feet without the guidance and mentorship of a broker who’s already made a name for themselves. I was fortunate to team up with one of the top brokers in the state of Washington early on in my career, and to this day, we partner on every assignment.
Q: Any top Bucket List items?
A: Summit Mt. Rainier. I see it nearly every day as I drive into the office and I’ve always thought how cool would it be to say I climbed that while being reminded of that experience during my daily commute.
Q: What is the one place you most want to visit?
A: Tokyo. I studied abroad in Seoul for four months but never had the opportunity to travel to Japan while I was there. There seems to be an energy in Tokyo unlike any other city outside of the U.S. That along with the culture shock put it at the top of my list.
Q: Tell us your favorite Seattle restaurant?
A: Pablo y Pablo, a great Mexican eatery and the best margaritas in Seattle.
Q: What’s your favorite time of year living in Seattle and why?
A: Summer. I try to go up to the San Juans a couple times a month between May and August and I’ve always felt that part of Washington, especially in the summer, is one of the most beautiful places in the world. The long days and warm weather doesn’t hurt either.
Q: What Seattle neighborhood are you most intrigued by?
A: Pioneer Square. Most people don’t realize it’s where Seattle’s downtown was originally located. It started as a lumber mill in the mid-1800’s until the Alaska gold rush spurred the construction for many of the buildings we see today. It’s fascinating—if you walk through a number of the older buildings in Pioneer Square (like the Pioneer Building or Dexter Horton) you’ll see vaults built into the structures where prospectors had a place to store their gold when they returned from Alaska. Most people don’t realize that there’s so much history throughout the Pioneer Square area. If you want to learn about Seattle’s roots, you should start in Pioneer Square.
Briana Waris is marketing director at Hughes Marino, an award-winning commercial real estate company specializing in tenant representation and building purchases with offices across the nation. Contact Briana at 1-844-662-6635 or firstname.lastname@example.org to learn more.