CBRE’s Cal Payne may have witnessed a devastating hometown loss earlier this month, but he’s the industry’s latest winner

Last week, Cal Payne was named the 2016 winner of the Frank Mahoney Award, a recognition given by the Association of Industrial Real Estate Brokers. The award celebrates the life and influence of Frank Mahoney who epitomized AIRE’s goals of ethics, cooperation and education. Chicago Industrial Properties caught up with Cal, a senior associate in CBRE’s industrial division, in a Q&A to get the scoop on how he keeps busy when he’s not at the office or accepting awards.

Chicago Industrial Properties: What does winning the Frank Mahoney Award mean to you?Payne: I’m not one for the spotlight but I try to be friendly and genuine with everyone I meet and being presented with this award certainly encourages me to stay focused and continue doing the things that got me to this point.

CIP: Who has been the greatest influence on you in your career? Payne: My dad started a construction business with my uncle when I was very little and growing up in a family environment where hard work and honesty were ingrained in me at an early age has made the transition into the working world and the real estate business that much easier.

Outside of family, my teammates Matt Mulvihill and Kevin Segerson hired me out of college and have helped me learn the real estate business and constantly push me to make goals for myself and improve every day. Additionally, my wife Maria comes from a similar family background and we help each other solve problems we encounter in our respective careers and she is extremely supportive. I guess I’m lucky to be surrounded by so many good role models and positive influences.

CIP: What are some tips or suggestions for other young people in the industry?Payne: Someone once told me that when you are young you should try to “see the clock twice” everyday meaning if you get in at 7:00 am, you shouldn’t call it quits until 7:00 pm. All you have in this business is your time and you need to take advantage of being young and in a position where you are able to put in long hours.

That said, there is nothing like summer in downtown Chicago and we only get so many nice days every year in the Midwest so sometimes you need to hit the road early and enjoy it.

CIP: What is your assessment of the industrial marketplace in Chicago as we approach the end of 2016?Payne: I have a positive outlook for 2017 as we are seeing businesses continuing to grow at a steady pace and we are seeing good activity across our listing portfolio. Additionally, I feel business owners and decision makers are motivated to leverage the currently low cost of capital to make investments in their businesses and plan for future growth.

Obviously, the elephant in the room is the recent election so I am curious to see how users, investors, developers and financial institutions respond in 2017.

CIP: Looking back on your career thus far, are things going according to plan?Payne: For the most part, yes. At the same time, if everything went according to plan, you would never encounter the challenges that you have to fight through that make you better. I’ve been very lucky to have great mentors that guide me through those challenging situations and help me learn from my failures so I am happy that some things don’t always go to plan.

CIP: What are a couple of bucket list items — achieved and yet to conquer — and why are they important to you?Payne: I checked one of them off the list this year when my wife and I became homeowners which has been very exciting. I was born and raised in Cleveland so I am a big Indians fan and I was lucky enough to see Game 7 of the World Series in my hometown with my team at CBRE. I’m bummed we didn’t win but it was the best baseball game I’ve ever seen and I’ll remember it forever.

Most of my other bucket list items at this point involve traveling so I am hopeful I’ll be able to check some of those off the list in the next few years. I enjoy learning the history behind different parts of the world and visiting those places is the best way to fully experience them.

CIP: When not engaged in brokerage activities, what do you like to do?Payne: I enjoy watching Cleveland sports, biking, skiing and traveling.

CIP: Did you just recently add to your family? What has that been like?Payne: I got married to my best friend and college sweetheart, Maria, on July 1st, 2016. We are enjoying being married and having fun making our home together in Old Town.

CIP: Where are your favorite travel destinations?Payne: Anywhere on a beach or in the Rocky Mountains any time of year.

CIP: What defines Fall/Winter in Chicago to you?Payne: Frozen lockboxes, unshoveled walkways and frigid warehouses. Ha!