Each year, Midwest Real Estate News names a new class in its Midwest Commercial Real Estate Hall of Fame. This year, we are also running these profiles online. Today, we highlight the career of Ben Greazel, executive managing director with the Chicago office of Newmark Knight Frank.
Years in the business: 23
Racking up the business: How successful has Newmark Knight Frank’s Ben Greazel been during his commercial real estate career? During his more than two decades in the business, Greazel has completed more than 250 transactions valued at more than $4 billion.
A mentor: Not surprisingly, considering how much business Greazel has closed, this industry veteran has served as a mentor to many younger CRE professionals. This time serving as a mentor hasn’t prevented Greazel from giving back to his community, either. Greazel is active with a variety of industry associations and charitable organizations.
A long history in the business: Before coming to Newmark Knight Frank, Greazel had already carved out a successful CRE career. He previously served as vice president at Grubb & Ellis Company and as a director at Cohen Financial. Earlier in his career, Greazel worked as a leasing broker with Equis Corporation in Chicago.
Building relationships: Greazel says that what he enjoys most about commercial real estate is building long-term relationships with clients and pursuing deals. The majority of Greazel’s completed transactions in any year will be with long-term repeat clients.
“I find that most of my clients have very interesting stories, both personal and professional, and I very much enjoy learning their journeys,” he said.
Finding the next big deal, though, is what Greazel says gets him out of bed in the morning.
“I transact on all asset classes across the country, so no two deals are ever the same,” Greazel said. “Every day presents a new opportunity to transact in a new market, meet a new client who could turn into a lifelong friend and work on a real estate product that is being transformed by market influences.”
Mentors matter: Greazel points to the mentors who guided him as a major reason for his success. Greazel, in fact, cites two mentors as being particularly important. The first was a tenant rep broker who helped Greazel when Greazel was fresh out of college. The second is his current partner of 18 years.
“They took the time and had the patience to teach me, include me and care about my growth and success,” Greazel said. “I owe them a tremendous debt of gratitude.”
Giving back to his industry: Like many successful CRE pros, Greazel recognizes the benefits of giving back to his community. He is an executive board member and mentor for the Harold E. Eisenberg Foundation, one of the country’s largest private organizations dedicated to gastrointestinal cancer research.
Out-of-office hours: Greazel and his wife spend much of their free time with their three daughters. Greazel also enjoys travel, wine, fly fishing, motorcycling and skeet shooting.