Wednesday, May 13, 2020

Interview with a friend who has made a difference in the commercial real estate industry: Barry Ziering



Barry Ziering, Ph.D., joined UK based M&G Investments in 2019 and, with over 25 years of commercial real estate experience, leads the firm’s North American real estate branding and capital raising efforts.

Prior to M&G, Barry led those same efforts for Guggenheim Real Estate (2014-2018) and Blackrock (2002-2014).  He was also a voting member on those Firms' Investment Committees and held senior leadership roles.  Prior to joining BlackRock, he worked at Prudential Financial (PGIM) and Prudential Securities in a variety of roles including Real Estate Merchant Banking, Strategy and Research, and as a public REIT Analyst.

Barry has also been a guest speaker at Baruch College, as well as at Columbia and NYU.  He is a former member of the Real Estate Finance Editorial Board, as well as a former Chair of the Research Committee for the National Council of Real Estate Investment Fiduciaries (NCREIF).  He has published numerous articles in both industry and academic journals including Real Estate Finance, Journal of Real Estate Research, Journal of Real Estate Investment Trusts and Journal of Real Estate Portfolio Management. Barry received his B.A. from Rutgers College and his Ph.D. from the Illinois Institute of Technology. He currently holds FINRA series 7, 24 and 63 licenses.

Q. How did Barry and I meet?
A. As it’s been for me with a lot of folks Barry and I met at an industry event many years back.  The first impression he made on me was that he was a nice guy and he’s always had a great smile.  In our first conversation, it was clearly evident that Barry loved the real estate industry as much as I do. Over the years we’ve become friends and supporters of each other.

Q. How did you get your start in the commercial real estate industry?
 A. Steve, I was very fortunate in the late 80s to have worked at what was then Prudential Insurance. Real estate was still a relatively “new” institutional asset class at that time. I was an Associate in the Economics Department, which provided global macro and micro economic demographic data and econometric forecasts to all areas of the Firm, including the investment areas. From that vantage point, I was able to see the wide range of business arenas within the firm that could be available to me as I expanded my career. One of the areas I worked closely with was the real estate group.  While Prudential managed an extensive real estate portfolio for its balance sheet, its third-party real estate management business was relatively new and growing fast. Given my research background, my internal network, and a little bit of luck, I joined that group in research and strategy.

Q. What advice would you give to someone who has been in the industry for a short time or a student looking to get her or his start?
 A. Here are a few key themes I’ve always emphasized. 

People Skills Matter.  You’ll be joining a team whose members generally form a closely-knit social unit, and you need to “fit in”.  Be likable.  Have humility. Be a team player. Get along with others.  Be someone that other people like to be around. No matter how smart or technically proficient you are, your career journey will invariably be more challenged if you can’t do those things.  And if you manage to get hired but don’t exercise your people skills, you probably won’t last long.  Let’s be honest, we’ve all encountered those co-workers with whom we’d prefer to minimize our interaction. 

“Opportunity Favors the Prepared Mind”.  Think carefully about what that means.  It’s a powerful mindset that has been operationalized by almost all successful people.  It really involves 2 dimensions: good fortune (or luck) and self-preparedness.  While we don’t normally have control over what opportunities may come our way, we do make choices every single day that could potentially impact the rest of our lives material ways. Self-preparedness is a choice that you MUST embrace in order bolster your odds of success.  In my mind, that means you never stop learning and improving.  Always look to add new skills, increase your knowledge and enhance your abilities, irrespective of whether you can put them to immediate use.  By doing so, you will actually increase the probability that opportunities will come your way more often because, well, you guessed it:  Opportunity Favors the Prepared Mind.

Take Career Risks Early.  Don’t let fear of failure drive your career decisions. Aim high.  I’ve seen so many instances where highly capable people who wanted to grow their career were unable to do so because they were afraid of taking a risk. I assured them that every successful person has experienced failure in their career, even the most successful CEO’s in our industry.

Be Resilient.  Successful people don’t ever “give up”.  After a false start or a blow-up, they get up, dust themselves off, and get back on the horse.  Most importantly, they never attribute their failure to personal deficiencies.  Highly successful people tend to attribute failure to “external factors” beyond their control. I was always inclined to take career risks, which ultimately lead to extraordinary job opportunities where I was able to meet and learn from brilliant people across multiple disciplines. 

Establish Your Contact Network.  It’s hard to over emphasize the importance of establishing business relationships across firms and across disciplines. Establishing these relationships takes time and effort, but doing so will be an important ingredient in your ultimate success.  Your contacts are the people you’ll know for many years to come who, over the course of their careers, will be in many jobs across multiple firms. Being able to reach out to a vast network of contacts and friends cultivated over many years provides access to people, information, job opportunities, and even collaborative business opportunities.  Those contacts will prove invaluable over time.    

Q. As you look back on your career is there anything you wish you had done differently? If so, what?
 A.  Hindsight is always 20/20, but looking back I really have no regrets about my career.  I would not re-write the script.  Of course, like other seasoned professionals, I have experienced the best of times and the worst of times in this industry.  And while the worst of times were painful for everyone, those were the times where you would learn the most, and where new business opportunities presented themselves to those individuals/firms in a position to take advantage of them. More broadly, I’ve been fortunate enough to have been an active participant in the fast evolution of an asset class that, in the beginning, was considered by most to be an “just an industry” and not deserving of asset class status.

Q.  Who have been the biggest influences on your career? How? Why?
 A. It’s been people who energize organizations, define its culture, and drive its growth.  That means that managing one’s career cannot be accomplished in a silo.  I’ve had the good fortune to meet and/or work with some of the best and brightest minds, each contributing in some way to my career growth and advancement. But there are 4 individuals who stand out in my mind as being having the biggest influence on my career.  Here they are, in no particular order:

Charlie Wurtzbach: Charlie gave me my start in real estate. I met him in the late ’80s when he was Head of Research and Strategy at PGIM – Real Estate.  Recruited out of academia from UT Austin, his mandate was to establish a world class real estate research program to, among other things, help guide portfolio construction, create an empirical market selection process, and develop property type and regional diversification parameters.  That research group was one of the first of its kind to develop a program that was built with strong academic rigor and an empirical underpinning.  Working with Charlie was transformative for me and has served me well throughout my career.

Mike Miles: I met Mike, formerly head of the real estate program at UNC Chapel Hill, in the early 90’s when he took over for Charlie, who left to join JMB.  After several years at Prudential Financial, followed by a 5-year stint at Fidelity, Mike and his team ultimately joint ventured with Guggenheim Partners to create the Guggenheim Real Estate platform.  Although I worked with Mike for only a few years at Prudential Financial, our business association spanned many years and when I left BlackRock in 2014, he hired me at Guggenheim Partners to lead their Marketing and Sales efforts.    

Rob Falzon; I met Rob, currently Vice Chairman at Prudential Financial, in 1997 when we both worked at Prudential Securities, I as a REIT analyst and he as an investment banker. Rob was subsequently tapped to move to the private side and put together a team to create and run the PGIM’s first opportunity fund. He invited me to join his team and return to the private side at Prudential Financial where I worked with Rob for about 4 years.   

Fred Lieblich: I met Fred in the mid 90’s when he led SSR Realty Advisors and I was in Research at PGIM Real Estate.  We’d see each other at various industry conferences over the years and established a friendship and strong professional relationship.  Fred first invited me to join him in 1997, right before I was to start my new role on the public side at Prudential Securities.  I had to decline his initial offer, but I eventually accepted when he came back to me in 2001 with an offer to lead Blackrock Real Estate’s global distribution and marketing efforts.

Sunday, May 3, 2020

Ramblings from New York City early on a Sunday morning

Morning ramblings….
I think it’s Sunday but these days they all seem the same, don’t they? I hear my owl friend hooting in the distance just like every early-morning.  An owl in Manhattan you say? Well I’m fortunate that I live near a park and trees.  Don’t owls hang out in trees? Of course they do.

When I start my day, I have a routine.  It involves using the power of creative visualization.  First for a friend who is being treated for Leukemia.  Her diagnosis occurred about 3 months ago.  We speak every Saturday morning (I have a calendar reminder to make sure I remember that it’s Saturday).  Each week she tells me what she would like me to visualize:  sometimes it’s that the results of her tests are moving in a good direction; sometimes it’s visualizing her doctor or consultant coming into her room and telling her that things are getting better and she may not need the bone marrow transplant.

Then I visualize for another friend who has been through multiple cancer experiences in the past few years and some serious challenges with her business. I visualize the cancer not resurfacing and her business finding its way.

And I visualize attracting something that I want into my life.

Then I write in my journal expressing all the things for which I am grateful.

One day this past week, for the first time in the 90 days (exactly) since I moved back to New York City, I got an early morning visit from a pigeon.  I was sitting at my desk drinking my morning cup of tea and all of a sudden ‘she’ was there. I usually keep that window open about 3-4 inches. I love to have fresh air come in and there she was.  She had her back to me for the entire 45 seconds of the visit.  She didn’t turn around even when I talked to her; friendly but a little rude wouldn’t you agree?  I was so surprised that it didn’t dawn on me, even though it wasn’t that long after dawn, to pick up my phone and snap a photo.  She left and hasn’t visited again. I hope she will and this time I’ll crumble up some crackers and put them out on the sill for her.  A mistake to feed her you say?  Well, I don’t think so and I’d really enjoy her company once in a while.  I’ve named her HOPE.

My building on W. 82nd street was built in 1906.  It’s a beautiful building with 49 apartments on 13 floors. I’m on 10.  The landscape in the neighborhood allows me to have a view.  As I write to you I’m sitting by the window in my living / bed room. It’s cloudy but I have a clear view up to 84th street, as the buildings are either classic brownstones or low-rise apartment buildings – lower than my building, The Selkirk.  Looking to the northeast, between two high-rise apartment buildings, I can see a sliver of the Hudson River and in the distance New Jersey.  I’ve always loved living with a view of water. 



I just heard a flock of geese fly by.  I didn’t see them and it’s the first time I heard their honking which has replaced the car/truck honking that pretty much doesn’t exist at all anymore at this hour of the day.  Actually, there’s very little of it throughout the day as there is so much less vehicular traffic on the streets of New York.  It’s virtually completely silent right now.

Two times in my life, actually 3 now, I’ve lived with water visible.  Once was in an apartment in Long Beach, New York.  I lived on the fourth floor and had a partial view of the Atlantic Ocean.  That was when I was at an in-between point in my life and trying to figure out a new path for myself.  And then, Hurricane Sandy paid a very angry visit.  I took a stroll on the boardwalk on the day it was predicted she would strike and saw the serious agitation in the ocean.  The waves were really big and so aggressive.  I can still hear the resounding sound of them breaking on the beach. As I think of it, that was another Sunday morning and also the day that authorities requested people to evacuate the area.

I went back to my apartment and packed some basic stuff – thinking that I’d be able to go back in a relatively short time.  Hurricanes only last for a little while, right?  I drove to Manhattan – there was very little traffic on the highways.  So I abandoned my ocean view, at least temporarily I thought, and for the next few weeks, while the evacuation rules were still in effect. But the result was serious damage to many buildings located relatively close to the ocean; there was no power and I had no idea how long it would be before I was able to go back.  I slept on peoples’ couches, borrowed apartments or stayed at the DaVinci Hotel on west 56th street which had become my go-to hotel in New York city.  (It’s the hotel connected to Joe Gs where I host my almost annual Pizza / Drink Thing in December.) I learned that the building I was living in Long Beach in was going to be off-bounds for the foreseeable future. 


I managed to find a nice small apartment in Manhattan and went out to Long Beach to pack up my things (I was living in a furnished apartment so I didn’t have much to move).  I went out very early in the morning.  The police were stopping people entering the town – unless they lived there.  While I didn’t have any proof, they believed me.  There was no power.  It was still dark out.  I used a flashlight to enter the building and walk up to the apartment.  I started gathering my stuff to take it down to the car.  Then I saw the lights of a police car pull up outside of the building.  I got scared thinking that in seeing my flashlight, in that blacked out building, they might think I was a looter vs. a tenant and shoot me – I really thought that!  So I turned the flashlight off and just stood still for a while, my heart racing faster and faster.  Then, they drove away and I got my things out of the building as fast as my feet would carry me down the stairs.

The other time I had a view of the water was when I bought a house in Laval, Quebec – a suburb of Montreal.  The house was only a couple of hundred feet from Riviere-des-Prairies.  I had a water view from my home office on the second floor.  I vividly remember the amazing sight of the river – totally frozen – during the dead of winter.  It was beautiful.
I’m frightened these days by the aggressive movement in many areas of the United States to open up businesses again. Photos I see of people assembled in groups, either protesters angrily demonstrating outside state capitals or of people in nearby places congregating in too close proximity to each other – some not wearing masks or any type of face covering. Oh, I just heard another train in the distance.

For a number of weeks, perhaps more than a month, I have gotten my fresh air by going up to the roof deck of my building – most often very early in the morning when the chances of running into a fellow tenant is virtual nil.  I walk the small area, making my way around the tables and chairs, feeling that I’m at least getting some exercise.  (Would you believe that the air in Manhattan is ‘fresh?’ But because there is so little car and truck traffic the air quality has improved dramatically. My guess is that it’s the cleanest it’s been in the lifetime of most/all long-time or lifetime Manhattan residents).

I’m concerned that there is still too little known about the virus that flies through the air and is breathed in by unsuspecting souls. 

Oh, did I mention that I’m both a visual and audio fan?  That’s why the sounds I can hear, through the open windows of my apartment, mean so much to me. The sound of a train whistle has always fascinated me: hearing it approach and then fading into the distance, quite rapidly, as it continues on its journey. I suspect there are very few passengers on trains right now. But there is the sound of too many ambulances every day.

I’m seriously concerned, as are many of us - which is why I’ve chosen to stay off the streets.  I ordered masks about a month ago.  They have yet to arrive.  I’m hoping they’ll come this week.  Once I have a mask I may start going out for walks in Riverside Park again.  Right after I moved here I started going out on early morning walks – just as the sun was beginning to slowly light the sky.  It’s a little like a big lamp with a dimmer switch that slowly turns until the light is at full power.  (Another train in the distance).  That is except on mornings when it’s cloudy or raining. 
How am I getting food you may ask?  I’ve been using grocery delivery services.  They’ve gotten so much in demand that it sometimes has taken more than a week to get a delivery. Funny.  Yesterday I got a delivery and I had forgotten what I had ordered – it was so long between the order and the delivery. And in the bag were 4 containers of fresh blueberries!  I really like blueberries, and I believe they’re fairly healthy.  But I didn’t realize or remember that I had ordered so much.  So, now it’ll be blueberries multiple times a day, in various forms, before they spoil.

On those early morning walks in the park when I first moved back to NYC there were very few people – some dog walkers, a few bicyclists and joggers.  The section of the park I walked in was up a hill from the West Side Highway and absolutely parallel with the Hudson River.  Flowers were just starting to bloom and gradually, as the winter slipped away, there were more and more birds chirping.  It was special.

It’s sad there seem to be so many people today, on the streets, on the beaches and in parks don’t respect the rules – or the safety of their fellow ‘passengers’ on this planet. And does the 6-foot social distancing really making a difference? It seems like a quite random measurement to me. 
I just confirmed that it is Sunday in New York.  I hope you and yours are okay and staying safe.  I hope I’m wrong about the too-early relaxing of the lock-down rules and it will not cause the numbers of people dying and testing positive for the virus to dramatically increase.  But this could happen.

Thank you for sticking with me this morning as I shared my stream of consciousness.

And, thank you for allowing me the privilege of sharing my thoughts – and the experiences of others, via the interviews – in this column since 1999.  I welcome hearing from you.

Take care.
I look forward to seeing you someplace on the road sooner rather than later.

Stay safe.
Steve



Saturday, April 25, 2020

Interview with a friend who has made a difference in the commercial real estate industry: Norm Miller


Norm Miller

Norm is the Hahn Chair of Real Estate Finance at the University of San Diego (USD) and is affiliated with USD’s Burnham-Moores Center for Real Estate. He has worked with the FDIC, DOJ, NMHC, NAA, CoStar and Collateral Analytics developing real estate analytic products and tools applied to real estate decisions and trends. Prior to joining USD, he was academic director and the founder of the real estate program at the University of Cincinnati. He received his PhD from the Ohio State University.

Norm has published numerous academic articles, books and articles in trade market publications on housing, brokerage, mortgage risk, valuation, and sustainable real estate including being the founder of the Journal of Sustainable Real Estate. The Geltner, Miller, Clayton and Eicholtz book “Commercial Real Estate Analysis and Investment” is the world’s leading graduate-level real estate textbook. Norm has lectured around the world, including France, Singapore, Thailand, New Zealand, India and Russia. He has worked extensively with various trade associations and became one of the first “Distinguished Fellows” of the National Association of Industrial and Office Properties (NAIOP). He is currently a Homer Hoyt Land Use Institute Faculty and Board member.

~~
How did Norm and I meet?

Norm has, for many years, been an active member of The Homer Hoyt Institute (HHI). HHI is an independent, non-profit research think tank and educational foundation dedicated to the professional real estate industry, established in 1967.  The Hoyt Fellows is a group of industry leaders honored for their leadership and accomplishments in the field of professional real estate. One of the major goals of the Hoyt Group is to bridge the gap between academia and industry.  Many years ago, I was fortunate enough to be nominated and accepted to become a member of Hoyt Fellows.  It’s at one of the annual meetings that Norm and I first met and have stayed in touch ever since.  The Hoyt Fellows is a great group and I am very proud to be a member!
Q.  How did you get your start in the commercial real estate industry?

A.  As an undergrad I was interested in architecture and engineering and took a number of real estate courses. I became President of the Real Estate Society at Ohio State.

Because of my involvement in the Real Estate Society I met Dick Royer. Dick helped me buy my very first property in the senior year of my undergraduate degree program.  I used my own (borrowed) equity and convinced three friends to come into the deal as partners on a four-unit row house. And that was my start.

On that deal I got to act as the broker, the property manager, the partnership manager and the contractor doing upgrades (and the labor!).  I learned so much from that small-scale investment. That deal, combined with my studies, made it obvious that real estate finance, and investments and economics were strong interests for me.

After we sold that property, I acquired another one on my own and continued, deal-by-deal while in grad school.  The hands-on experience, combined with real estate coursework provided a complimentary perspective. The key thing was having a mentor who helped give me the confidence to buy that first property.   

Q. What advice would you give to someone who has been in the industry for a short time or a student looking to get her or his start?

A.  There are a number of things that are key to me, especially today.  First, don’t wait to get started on networking.  Bring something of value to the ‘table’ – by researching topics that you know will be of interest to those you are going to meet and respect.  Try to think empathetically. If I’m a student and I’m going to meet a speaker at an event, I will do some research on them and through that find something interesting to bring up in a conversation when I meet them. I might ask if they’d like me to send that information to them. That’s actually an opening to ask them for their business card or saying I’ll follow up with a note and sending something to them.  I believe, you should never hand a business card to someone who doesn’t ask for it because they’re just going to forget about it or not know the context. I see networking as an opportunity to provide value when you can.

I use LinkedIn a lot.  I don’t use Facebook except for small, social type family things but I do use LinkedIn as a “Rolodex”


Assume your life is transparent now because of social media, so be careful what you do.  I’ve seen many a students’ job offer disappear when their social media presence was included in the research profile on them. 

Don’t wait to start investing in real estate.  Bring in as many partners as you need, but start young and gain that experience.  I tell all our students, especially our graduate students: don’t depend on your income your whole lives – you’re going to have to start investing and do it as soon as you can – especially when you have nothing to lose.  Stick your neck out a little bit.

Read voraciously - about the economy and real estate trends – everything from design to property tech, to capital market trends. Try to be conversant and knowledgeable and, at the same time, a little skeptical of accepting what you read – considering the bias, or spin, that certain people are going to put on stories. You should maintain enough current knowledge so you can question whatever you read. Know when someone writes something you can’t trust and learn whom the experts are that you can trust. 

The last thing I tell our graduates is that hard work and persistence makes up for smarts. Don’t be intimidated by people you think are smarter than you. They can’t outwork you if you choose. Work with people who are smarter and better than you.  In my career I was lucky to have hired people better than myself and that made me better. 

Q. As you look back on your career is there anything you wish you had done differently? If so, what?

A.  I wish I had invested more in real estate. My lifetime record has been pretty solid.  I wish I had sought out a little more time with mentors that I didn’t realize were mentors at the time. Today, I treasure the relationships with people around the globe whom I respect.  I feel lucky to have the opportunities that I’ve had. There’s nothing significantly different career wise that I would have done except cherished those opportunities and relationships a little earlier than I did in both the private sector and the public sector.

Q. Who have been the biggest influences on your career? How? Why?

A.  That would probably be a list of a few hundred people! My dad taught me about hard work; Dick Royer got me into my first real estate deal; Ron Racster at Ohio State was a mentor as was C.F. Sirmans.  I actually knew and was influenced by James Graaskamp, who started the first graduate program in real estate in the U.S. at the University of Wisconsin.
Then there are colleagues I’ve worked with like Dave Geltner at MIT; Mike Sklarz at Collateral Analytics; Jeff Fisher and all my colleagues at Home Hoyt; Malin Burnham in San Diego - who wrote ‘Community before Self”, Jim Young of Realcomm and folks like Geoff Dohrmann, Mary Ludgin, Jacques Gordon, Bob Zerbst, Dan Kohlhepp, Paul Wendt, Will McIntosh, Dave Pogue and the list goes on and on…sorry to my many friends.

Stay safe my friends. 
Steve

Saturday, April 4, 2020

A friend who has made a difference in the commercial real estate industry: Paul Michaels


A friend who has made a difference in the commercial real estate industry:  Paul Michaels

Paul has been with Invesco Real Estate (IRE) since its inception in 1983. As Director of North American Direct Real Estate, he is responsible for leading IRE’s North American business.

Previously, Paul served as Director of US Portfolio Management responsible for portfolio strategy for institutional pension fund clients. Paul is currently Chairman of IRE’s US Direct Investment Committee and has responsibility for portfolio design and investment process for several of IRE’s separate account clients. He has 35 years of real estate experience including both debt and equity transactions in industrial, multifamily, retail and office properties.

Paul holds a Bachelor of Business Administration degree in Finance and Real Estate from The University of Texas at Austin.

How Paul and I met?
We met at the NAREIM (National Association of Real Estate Managers) Executive Officers Meeting in 2014. Having both been around this great industry for a while we realized that we knew a bunch of people in common. As I’ve mentioned to younger people in the industry – that right there is the importance of networking. While it’s important to network with people in ‘your generation’ it’s equally important to meet those of us who have been around a while. Most, if not all, ‘veterans’ like meeting the younger people as they have the same passion for the commercial real estate industry as we have had.
~~

Paul retired this month after 38 years at Invesco. As everyone who knows Paul will tell you, he is very humble. Due to the virus situation, Paul was unable to say goodbye to his colleagues in person. But when he shared his email to his colleagues (and some of their replies) I asked if I could include that here.

We agreed that feedback from people who he has worked with over the years would add more depth to what Paul felt was important to his success. I’ve included the farewell email he sent to his Invesco colleagues along with excerpts from a few of the very touching email replies that served as guiding principles for the long career that Paul loved.  


Paul’s retirement email to Invesco colleagues
Well after 38 years, this isn’t exactly how I had hoped my last week at Invesco would be.  What I will regret the most is not being able to say goodbye to many of you in person.  But I’m sure I will have plenty of free time, so I would always love to grab lunch, a drink after work, or just chat on the phone if you have the time.  I often reflect on what an incredibly lucky person I have been based on a few simple decisions in my life.  The first was deciding to marry my wife (it did take a little arm twisting), and a close second was accepting this job opportunity as a very young college graduate.  I never imagined the joy I would get from my career in the years to come.  I can only hope that I am able to experience the same enjoyment during my retirement.

I’ve attached my new contact information in hopes that I can stay in touch with many of you.  In the meantime, please stay well and wishing you much happiness in the years ahead. 

Happy trails to you
‘til we meet again
And keep smilin’ until then…



Excerpts from his colleagues to Paul's retirement announcement email:

Thank you for everything you’ve done for the company, but a special thank you for taking the time to reach out to me on an individual basis several times a year for a birthday lunch or a catch up. It’s rare for someone in your position to do that, and it went noticed by everyone at the firm.
 ~~ 
as my boss you trusted me with valued clients and taught me the Invesco ways.  And you were patient when I was a bit stubborn at times. Finally, you gave better annual reviews than I have experienced in all my 36 years. Thoughtful, organized and constructive whether or not I liked everything you had to say.   

But much more important than the professional relationship is the friendship you have demonstrated over the years. The personal relationship dwarfs the professional. You always made time for me.… and the time you made for me has always been noticed. You have always been a great boss, mentor and friend and you will be missed.
~~
I've always admired your convictions in investments and your strong adhesion to them, in what sometimes seemed like the sole person to question a stance...Invesco has been a better place with your leadership, and I will reflect on your ideas and arguments going forward even without your presence here. 
~~
Our firm will never be the same after your retirement, but the culture and values you helped establish will remain as reminder of the impact you had on this firm!
~~
 It’s very bittersweet to see you go. I’ve watched you literally be the backbone of Invesco in the time that I’ve been here…I don’t know a more dedicated and focused person. You may not know this, but I’ve learned quite a bit from you. The main thing….”pay attention to the details.” Whether it be as small as snack diversity or some high-level decisions regarding a major project, you taught me that the details matter on both ends of the spectrum.

I’ve only come across a few people in my life that impacted my professional sense and work-ethic paradigm and although you didn’t know it, you became one of those individuals.
 ~~
I just can’t let this “Invesco milestone” go by without giving my heartfelt comments about you to our entire organization.

I don’t think it is fully appreciated how “instinctive” Paul is as an institutional real estate investor.  Given his acumen, he could have easily taken the “glass half full” approach in his role as head of the North American Investment Committee, but he, to the firm’s (and client’s) great benefit, took the much harder role of risk assessment and probabilities for mitigation. He saw (or chose to see) investments in the context of historic market cycles, and therefore, the long-term probabilities for returns to be resilient while remaining pragmatic in prudently growing client portfolios. We all owe you our gratitude for this role done well for so many years.

I know many of us, myself included, have stories of Paul’s compassion for our families as we have periodically encountered the inevitable rough patches in life. Paul, I hope that this aspect of your career and your character brings you the great pride and joy you deserve.
  ~~
Your integrity stands as a mark for all of us. Because of your influence I know we are a better firm than we would be otherwise.
 ~~
You are a special person and leader in the organization. I really liked how your actions showed how much you cared about everyone professionally and personally. Thank you making special one-on-one time with us in accounting. I hope I can continue the leadership that you set as an example.
~~
You are a very effective leader, consistent and fair. As a bonus, you have a very enjoyable personality and are a pleasure to be around. You built a wonderful business in Invesco Real Estate and a lot of us here owe you a large debt of gratitude and thanks for creating such a wonderful environment.  
 ~~ 
I have always considered you a mentor, an unbelievable and brilliant real estate executive, and a good friend that I can confide in who I know has a heart of gold.
~~
Thanks for giving me the benefit of the doubt 22 years ago!  It’s been a pretty darn good ride.
We’ve all learned a lot from the way you approach the business and I’ve always referred to you as the consummate, client first, fiduciary. I hope our clients appreciate how well they had it!
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I have thoroughly enjoyed the short time that I have gotten to work with and learn from you. I can only hope that one day I will have half the investment intuition and acumen that you have shown me at the helm of this organization and sitting before our shared clients. I’m very proud and humbled to be a part of what you have built and hope to help carry this torch forward.
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It definitely won’t be the same without you around. If I had to pick one thing where you had a significant influence on me it would be NO BS. Working with you I came to understand even more clearly the value in playing it straight, not giving half-baked answers and following up. I’ve given that advice many times over the years to our younger colleagues….
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Here are Paul’s answers to the ‘usual and customary interview questions’ 
Q.  How did you get your start in commercial real estate?

A.  A friend of mine signed me up for an interview in one of our real estate classes in college. Real estate was not necessarily my main area of focus at the time.  But it was my only job offer upon graduation, so away I went…..

Q.  Looking back on your career is there one thing you wish you had done differently? If so, what and why?

A.  I could probably write a book (or two) on things I wish I had done differently.  But towards the top of the list would be being more patient and understanding around people, especially those who had different views and opinions than my own. 

Q.  Who have been the most significant influences in your career? How? Why?

A.  David Ridley, the founder of Invesco, took a bet on me when I was young and naive.  He was a great mentor and manager of people.  Never shy to chew me out when I went astray, but also extremely supportive and provided me with great career growth opportunities during the 30 or so years that we worked together.

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