Thursday, November 3, 2016

Great news about Mike Clarke & Ray Torto

Over the past 17 years of writing this column, too often have I written some difficult columns about bad things that happened to people in the industry.

Today, I have the pleasure of writing about two industry friends who made it – both surviving terrible automobile accidents.

Mike Clarke
Mike Clarke’s official title is Head of Investor Services, EMEA
for CBRE Global Investors.  Mike is based in London and has traveled the world extensively in his more than 25 years in the commercial real estate industry.

Mike and I first met at one of the early INREV conferences, liked each other (at least I liked him!) and we continued to connect when possible, both in the U.S. or Europe.

Mike is a class act, both professionally and personally.  More than a year ago, his car was rear-ended at a high speed while his car was stationary.  Those of us who drive know the feeling of being stopped on a highway due to traffic in front of us and watching our rear view mirror, hoping that the dude traveling a break-neck speed behind us will slow down and stop…before smashing into us.  This time that car didn’t.

But I’m thrilled to report that as of this week, Mike told me he has gotten a great report from his doctors and will be back to work pretty soon.  Look forward to seeing you soon Mike - either in NYC or London.

Ray Torto
Ray is the co-founder of the legendary Torto – Wheaton Research. He and Bill Wheaton created a commercial real estate economic advisory firm when there hardly were any.  Some years ago, Torto Wheaton was bought by CBRE and morphed into CBRE Economic Advisors. 

I don’t remember how Ray and I first met and, it was a little difficult to understand him given his heavy Boston accent!  But we hit it off and at some point, Torto Wheaton was my client when I was working in a former life.  Ray was also one of the panelists on the live TV show, which I co-moderated at MIPIM, and he and I have shared the stage a few times since then - always having fun.

Ray retired from CBRE in 2014 but, as with many folks in our industry, retirement is just a word.  Ray continues his professorship at Harvard and provides some very eclectic consulting services.

A couple of months ago I got news from a friend of Ray’s that he was involved in a head-on car crash, was in the hospital and not expected to live.  WHAT!  Yes, these things go happen but they’re not supposed to happen to my friends, right?

It was touch and go for a while but yesterday Ray wrote me that he’s going home and, while the recuperation will be lengthy, he has promised to buy me that cup of 'tea' that he originally was going to do in New York in a couple of weeks when he was going to be a panelist at the upcoming PERE Summit.

I wasn’t sure if you all knew about these events and very fortunate outcomes and wanted to share the news with you. It feels good for me to write about two friends of mine who beat the odds!

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