As part of our series, CRE Future Leaders, we caught up with Adam Thomas, an associate advisor for SVN | Chicago Commercial’s urban real estate team. He specializes in the leasing and sale of retail property and land in Chicago’s West Loop neighborhood, as well as property analysis and marketing.
Tell us about your background. Where did you grow up, where did you go to school?
I grew up in the northern suburb of Grayslake, Illinois. I played hockey competitively and after high school played juniors in the NAHL. After juniors, I went to DePaul University where I graduated with a finance degree.
When you were young, what did you aspire to be?
Like all kids growing up playing hockey, I aspired to be a professional hockey player.
How did you get your start in the industry?
My girlfriend was Scott Maesel’s (managing broker and founder of SVN Chicago) nanny for his then newborn twins. Through her, I was able to meet Scott and realized commercial real estate was something I wanted to get into. A few months later I was interning before I got my license and then worked all throughout college.
Did you have a mentor who helped you get on your feet, or is there someone you turn to now for support?
I am lucky enough to have Scott Maesel as a mentor in the industry. Not everyone is able to turn to a real estate veteran like Scott who is on the forefront of Chicago real estate and I try to use this to my advantage whenever possible. In addition, being a part of SVN Chicago’s urban real estate team I have two other mentors, Drew Dillon and Chad Schroedl. All three of these mentors have played a huge part in being able to achieve early success.
What does a day in the life of Adam Thomas look like?
• Wake up at 5:30 a.m., prepare necessary items for the day and get to the gym.
• Get to the office by 8:30 a.m.
• Attend appointments, make follow-up calls, negotiate LOIs and provide Opinion of Values.
• Teach fitness classes at Pilates ProWorks in the West Loop at 5:30 p.m. and 6:30 p.m.
• Eat dinner, respond to any urgent emails, watch TV before going to bed and doing it all over again.
What do you like most about your job?
To have an impact on my clients through real estate is special and I do not take it for granted. I love being able to put my clients in a good position for future value, strong cash flow or in a well-thought-out location for their business to succeed. In addition, I love that nobody can put a ceiling on what I can achieve and having a job where there is a direct correlation of getting out what I put in.
Looking to the future, what do you hope to achieve/work on that you haven’t already?
I’ve been blessed to work on a variety of assignments of different product types with my team early in my career, but looking to the future I hope to also own investment properties similar to the ones that I broker. I think when a broker has ownership experience in the product type(s) they focus in, they have a better understanding of the industry as a whole.
How do you spend your time away from the office?
I like to spend my time away from the office exploring the city, working out and watching hockey.
What is your favorite place that you have traveled to? Where do you hope to go next?
Stockholm, Sweden. It’s the only country in Europe I’ve traveled to, but I love the history and old architecture. I have a trip booked in October to Lake Louise in Canada, which I think may become my new favorite!
Who would you like to see answer these questions?
My grandpa. He passed away when I was young, but I think I inherited my passion for real estate from him!