A Senior Vice President with the Office Advisory Group of Colliers International Chicago, Jonathon represents local, national, and international corporations with their real estate requirements. He partners with his clients to develop and implement strategic real estate plans that strengthen and promote their overall business interests by reducing costs, minimizing occupancy risks and maximizing flexibility and workplace efficiency. Jonathon also provides institutional and private landlords with comprehensive leasing services throughout Metropolitan Chicago.
A background in asset and property management has provided Jonathon with a fundamental understanding of how commercial real estate is analyzed by landlords throughout the investment cycle, from acquisition to marketing and leasing to disposition. This background also allows Jonathon to provide corporate occupiers with valuable insight relating to the goals of the landlords, and ultimately allows him to mitigate leasing risk and identify future opportunities for his clients.
Tell us about your background. Where did you grow up, where did you go to school?
I grew up in the north suburbs of Chicago and went to college at the University of Illinois.
How did you get your start in the industry?
I started in 2008 in the property management group with Colliers, which was a very interesting time to start working in the real estate industry. My focus was on institutional industrial portfolios before transitioning to a team that was building the distressed asset service line for Colliers, which was very busy coming out of the recession. Property management gave me a great foundation for my career and really helped me understand how the real estate business works throughout the lifecycle of a building, not just during an active lease or sale transaction. I moved to suburban office leasing in 2011.
Did you have a mentor who helped you get on your feet, or is there someone you turn to now for support?
My father has always been a great resource as my career has grown and changed, as a former broker himself, he has an appreciation for the challenges that come with building a career in this industry and has set a great example for me. I was also extremely lucky to have had several very encouraging mentors as I started my career in property management and then transitioned into brokerage. Today, I’m fortunate to work on a team with very supportive partners in a highly collaborative environment where I can turn to any of them for guidance and advice, or just as a sounding board for new ideas and strategies.
What does an average day in the life of Jon Connor look like?
I think most brokers will tell you that one of the things they like most about our business is that there are not a lot of average or typical days, and that the variety from day-to-day makes this career more engaging. I can spend a full day in the office on leasing calls and paperwork or working with clients on the underwriting of an asset for acquisition or disposition, and the next day I’ll spend a full eight hours in my car driving from meeting to meeting across the suburbs.
What do you like most about your job?
I enjoy the people I get to work with — both my colleagues at Colliers, as well as our clients. Every deal we get to work on is different, depending on the real estate strategies of the parties involved, which is great.
Looking to the future, what do you hope to achieve/work on that you haven’t already?
Short-term, my focus is on positioning my clients for success in a very challenging and rapidly changing market as we emerge from a demanding 2020-21.
What kind of changes do you hope to see in the industry in the near future?
More diversity across the commercial real estate industry, as well as continuing to develop and adapt new technology that will drive more effective decision making for investors and occupiers.
How do you spend your time away from the office?
I have a 16-month-old daughter who now gets all my time away from the office. Getting to spend so much time with her in 2020 was absolutely the silver lining to an otherwise difficult year for everyone. I’m also excited to (hopefully) start travelling again in the coming months.