As part of our series, CRE Future Leaders, we caught up with Jordan Mellovitz, senior associate, tenant representation at Avison Young. Mellovitz focuses on new business development, financial analysis and market research. He cites a strong work ethic and thorough understanding of the Chicago office market as reasons why clients of varying sizes turn to him to identify unique spaces and opportunities.
Tell us about your background. Where did you grow up, where did you go to school?
I grew up in Deerfield and attended the University of Illinois—I didn’t venture too far but I love Chicago and am very happy here. Growing up I played a lot of basketball though I rarely get to play anymore.
When you were young, what did you aspire to be?
Short answer is I have no idea. I do remember when I was very young I would sit outside and watch the landscapers around my neighborhood work—I was enamored by them. So, maybe I wanted to be a landscaper? When I went to college, I figured I would go into my dad’s profession—he’s a dentist. After one chemistry class freshman year I realized I was not going to be a dentist.
How did you get your start in the industry?
After realizing I wasn’t going to enter the medical field, I started taking economics classes. At some point I stumbled upon a student real estate association and started attending meetings. From there I landed a couple internships in various areas of real estate (one in banking and one in brokerage). The fall of my senior year I came across a list of the top commercial brokerage companies in Chicago. I went through that list and looked at each company’s website and sent cold emails to whoever I thought had an important title at each company. It actually worked pretty well as I ended up landing a tenant rep job with MB Real Estate. It’s funny, I’ve come across some of the other people that I emailed looking for a job back then and they still remember me—I think they appreciated the hustle. Little did I know those cold emails and calls would become my life for the next 7+ years.
Did you have a mentor who helped you get on your feet, or is there someone you turn to now for support?
Definitely. I’ve worked very closely with Mark Robbins since I started with Cushman & Wakefield at the beginning of 2013. That’s when my career really started to get going—he was always hard on me but always fair and wants what is best for me. We came over to Avison Young together and have had a very successful team since the move, and while I’ve certainly evolved, I still lean on him all the time.
What does a day in the life of Jordan Mellovitz look like?
Every day is different, but generally I spend a little bit of time in the morning going through real estate-related news to see if there is anything in there that I need to communicate to an existing client or prospect. I’ll usually have a call or two regarding deals I’m working on and I’ll bounce around to other team members’ offices to catch up. Those are about the only consistent things I do in a day, otherwise it’s all up for grabs. I also try to have breakfast/coffee or lunch with other people in the industry a few days a week—it’s always helpful to have those relationships and trade information/knowledge whenever possible.
What do you like most about your job?
I love that no day is ever the same. I have been involved in many different transaction types—not just your standard downtown office leases—and that’s allowed me to learn the multiple facets of commercial real estate as well as broaden my network. I really appreciate that my days are varied and I’m constantly talking to new people and learning new things.
Looking to the future, what do you hope to achieve/work on that you haven’t already?
I think it would be really cool to work a build-to-suit transaction from start to finish, that’s something I haven’t done but seems like a very complicated/interesting type of transaction that touches a lot of different aspects of the industry. Regarding career trajectory, I’d like to continue to grow as a broker and become an Avison Young principal sooner rather than later.
How do you spend your time away from the office?
Trying not to think about what’s going on at the office until I get a phone call from the above-named mentor…Just kidding, I love to play golf and be out and about around the city.
What is your favorite place that you have traveled to? Where do you hope to go next?
I actually just got back from a trip to Italy last week, which was great. I studied abroad in Rome in college, so it was awesome to go back. I would also love to go back to Australia—Sydney and the Gold Coast are definitely at the top of my list to get back to.
Who would you like to see answer these questions?
Mark Robbins—mostly because I think I could probably answer each question for him and get pretty close to exactly what he would say.