CRE Future Leaders: Chris Mergenthaler of DarwinPW Realty

Currently Vice President, Chris joined Darwin Realty/CORFAC International after graduating from the nationally-recognized Florida State University College of Business where he studied finance and entrepreneurship, with a specialization in real estate.

Prior to Darwin, Chris owned his own aerial photography business and readily understands the needs of business owners. His background in finance helps his clients to make informed decisions that will ensure the future success of their companies.

Chris works closely with DarwinPW Realty President, Rick Daly, SIOR, focusing on the West Cook industrial submarkets, offering a full range of brokerage services including tenant representation, ownership representation, build-to-suit projects, site acquisitions and investment acquisitions and dispositions. He is also a member of AIRE, the Greater O’Hare Association of Industry and Commerce (GOA) and Young Industrial Brokers. 

Tell us about your background. Where did you grow up? Where did you go to school?
I grew up in Niles, Illinois, just north of Chicago. I went to high school at Loyola Academy and went on to attend Florida State University.

When you were young, what did you aspire to be?
My mom was in the residential real estate business, so growing up around that, I knew I wanted to be in real estate or construction business.

How did you get your start in the industry?
Moving back from Florida, I wanted to get into real estate but didn’t know much about the commercial side of the industry. I cold-called a few groups and was connected through friends to a few others and ended up at Darwin.

Did you have a mentor who helped you get on your feet, or is there someone you turn to now for support?
Besides my mom who has always been a mentor, I’ve learned the ropes of the industrial side of the business through Rick Daly, who I still work closely with and go to when I need advice.

What does a day in your life look like?
I spend a lot of my time on the road, meeting with clients, prospecting and driving the market. When I’m in the office, I’m reviewing contracts/leases for clients and moving deals forward.

What do you like most about your job?
I like that every day is different. I’m always learning new things and that’s what makes every day exciting.

Looking to the future, what do you hope to achieve/work on that you haven’t already?
I hope to keep learning and improving my skill set and experience to better serve my clients.

How do you spend your time away from the office?
I love being outdoors—skiing in the winter and hiking in the summer. I also love traveling to other countries with my fiancée, Regina.

What is your favorite place that you have traveled to? Where do you hope to go next?
Tough call. I would have to say Salzburg, Austria or Glacier National Park. Those are some of the most spectacular mountain areas I’ve been to so far.