In February 2018, Harrison Cohen joined Triton Realty Group as a commercial investment advisor specializing in the sale of multifamily and mixed-use properties in the Chicagoland area. Cohen has been a licensed attorney for five years and hit the ground running at Triton, closing his first sale three months into the business. Since joining the firm over a year ago, Cohen has successfully completed 14 transactions and sold over $15,000,000 in multifamily real estate in the Chicago area.
Tell us about your background. Where did you grow up, where did you go to school?
I grew up in Buffalo Grove, a northwest suburb outside Chicago. My family is small and very close. I received my bachelor of arts degree from Illinois State University and my law degree from the “Harvard” of the Midwest; Southern Illinois University School of Law.
When you were young, what did you aspire to be?
Some people know what they want “to be” when they grow up and develop a plan to achieve it. For me, growing up, my dream was to become an attorney. I look up to my dad who has practiced law in the northwest suburbs for over 30 years. I had a goal of being an attorney at a young age. I think most people don’t know what they are going to do professionally when they are young, their life and decisions determine their job down the road. For me, I always had a plan.
How did you get your start in the industry?
Despite seven years of school between college and law school, passing the bar exam and having a good paying job as an attorney, I decided to roll the dice and bet on myself a year and half ago. One of my best friends since college, Matthew Fritzshall has been in the industry selling multifamily and mixed-use real estate in Chicago for over a decade. As a college student, Matt and I worked as leasing agents at one of the largest owner-operators of housing on our campus. Over the years since college, Matt and I would always chat about our careers. After four years as a litigation attorney, and questioning if I had chosen the right career, I had to make a choice. Continue down the path I had always thought was for me, or take a risk, trust my gut and make a change.
I know now I made the right decision joining Triton. I am the happiest I have ever been professionally, look forward to coming to work every day and will continue to prove my value to every client that is willing to let me earn their trust.
Did you have a mentor who helped you get on your feet, or is there someone you turn to now for support?
I think the most successful individuals are the ones that are willing to listen to others, determine who the best people are at what they do and use certain skills from the best for their own benefit. In our industry, I am fortunate to have a mentor that is one of the best in the industry and happens to be one of my best friends, Matthew Fritzshall. Matt has a way of making everyone else around him better. I am lucky to have him and my other colleagues at Triton as a resource for advice.
What does a day in the life of Harrison Cohen look like?
It is never the same which is one of the many pros of what I do. I have always been an early riser. I start my day at the gym then get to the office early. Typically, I am either on the phone prospecting for new business, monitoring the status of current deals or out in my main submarkets analyzing a potential opportunity at a building. I like to stay in touch with building owners as much as possible. Our business is very competitive. Our competitors are trying to accomplish the same goal. There can only be one broker who gets the sale. I try my best to make sure that broker is me.
What do you like most about your job?
At Triton, we have a saying, “any given day.” This phrase sums up the fact that on any given day I can make something happen. My ability to build trust with a client, bring them maximum value for their asset and control my own destiny are a few of my favorite aspects of my career. As an attorney, my day was dictated by deadlines. As a commercial investment advisor, I dictate my future and can be a trusted resource for my clients, like when I practiced law. I love characters and stories. In our business there are plenty of them. I am passionate about what I am doing so for me it doesn’t even feel like a “job.” I am very lucky to have found this role and I am not going anywhere.
Looking to the future, what do you hope to achieve/work on that you haven’t already?
I plan on selling an apartment building worth over $10 million in the next year. I look forward to growing Triton’s market share in Chicago and the surrounding suburbs. Our team has an outstanding track record and reputation, because we hold ourselves to the highest professional standard and sincerely value our integrity. At some point in the future, I will build my personal portfolio of apartment buildings.
How do you spend your time away from the office?
I am either working out, playing guitar, reading/listening to a podcast, enjoying time with my friends/family or collecting experiences while traveling. I love seeing new places around the world. It gives me a different perspective.
What is your favorite place that you have traveled to? Where do you hope to go next?
I recently returned from a trip to Colombia. It is a beautiful country and now one of my favorite places I have visited. Next month, I am traveling to Costa Rica. It is hard to choose a favorite spot because each experience is unique and special.
Who would you like to see answer these questions?
Nathan Brown (CIO) and Brent Straitiff (CEO) of Westward 360. These guys are innovative, business savvy and are current leaders in the property management sector in Chicago.