Vice President, Real Estate for a family-owned development company

A professional referral led a family-owned real estate development and property management company to Helbling.
A family-owned real estate development and property management company needed a strong leadership presence at its Midwestern U.S. headquarters. A professional referral led them to Helbling & Associates. After two phone meetings and the review of a proposal, the company selected Helbling as their search partner for this instrumental role, citing our expertise in both construction and real estate development as the deciding factor.

With the two leaders of the organization often working on opposite coasts, the newly created role would oversee operations and real estate activity onsite as well as help to grow and evolve the business. 

Because the role was new, it was important to the client that our firm find candidates who could influence the company’s culture. Experience managing a diversified real estate portfolio, such as the client’s, which consists of retail, office, warehouse, restaurant, hotel, multi-family residential, and mixed-use space, would also be helpful.

As the organization was going through an evolution, its ownership team was open to individuals with a wide range of work experience. Desired qualifications were the ability to manage relationships with vendors, contractors, architects, attorneys, and tenets as well as a solid knowledge of real estate.

While Helbling search consultants often begin with referrals of key talent, our team had fewer development contacts in the Central part of the country. Therefore, the assignment had a strategic research component. The research process began with a compilation of other real estate development firms in the same state and expanded to the surrounding region. The search did not expand nationally as regional relationships were particularly valuable, and the Vice President position involved onsite, not remote, work.

Following the analysis of online research, Helbling conducted phone research to determine the appropriate individuals at each development firm to target for the role. They identified those in a current vice president role or one step below who were looking to advance their careers. When marketing the opportunity, our senior search consultant emphasized the small company environment, which would allow the right individual to impact the client organization, helping to shape policies and grow the business. 
With eight top candidates, the company’s leaders conducted multiple rounds of video interviews. The frontrunner had applied to a Helbling posting advertising the role. Within one day, our senior search consultant reached out to pre-interview him before submitting his information to the client. The client interviewed the candidate within a week. One month and two interviews later, he accepted an offer of employment with the title, Vice President, Real Estate.

The client gravitated towards his skill set, experience in acquisition and disposition of property, building and maintaining relationships in the region, and his record, having negotiated hundreds of leases. They also appreciated his communication skills, responsiveness, and flexibility.

The selected candidate was attracted to the company’s diverse real estate portfolio, which would help keep his skills sharp while giving him an opportunity to expand his knowledge. He also knew he would be able to make an impact due to its smaller size.

The new VP is currently responsible for the execution of projects and profitability related to company development, acquisition, and commercial leasing efforts. This involves market analysis and financial modeling. He also manages property management, leasing, and accounting personnel as well as oversees preleasing of work, entitlements and government approvals, and construction design and management. He has three new projects underway, which represent a sizeable percentage of the company’s total portfolio.

Learn about Helbling’s search process