Patrick Russo was recently named a managing director at Stream Realty Partners, where he leads the strategic direction and operations of the Chicago office. His primary responsibilities include expanding Stream’s acquisition, development, leasing and property management platforms and building Stream’s presence in the greater Chicago market.
Tell us about your background. Where did you grow up, where did you go to school?
I grew up in West Bloomfield, Michigan and graduated from the undergraduate Eli Broad College of Business at Michigan State University with a degree in accounting.
When you were young, what did you aspire to be?
A professional golfer or an architect but overall, I always knew I wanted to be a businessman.
How did you get your start in the industry?
I got my start in the industry as a senior financial analyst in the global real estate finance group at Nielsen. I was transitioning from being in the accounting and consulting business and it was the fall of 2008 (I know, brilliant timing!) and after consulting with friends and recruiters in the business I felt that the tenant side of the business was a safe place to cut my teeth and ride out the recession.
Did you have a mentor who helped you get on your feet, or is there someone you turn to now for support?
My parents have been great role models, in addition Jenifer Ratcliffe and John Grissim at Lincoln Property Company taught me how to be a leader and have been instrumental in my success.
What does a day in the life of Patrick Russo look like?
Wake up between 5:30 and 6:00 and walk the dog/have coffee with my wife, Chloe, and spend time with my 4-month-old son, Nic. I typically, get to the office between 7:30 and 8:00 if I don’t have a breakfast and start prepping for calls or meetings for the day. I usually use the morning hours to review acquisition and leasing opportunities. I try to plan lunch meetings as much as possible as opposed to dinner or drinks so that I can get home early to help with my son. Afternoons are stacked with calls and meetings regarding recruiting, networking and deals.
What do you like most about your job?
I like that every day is different. Answering the question above is difficult because of that. I like that I’m able to be a local expert and operator for institutional owners of commercial real estate. I like the people I get to work with every day as there are so many different personalities in our business and commercial real estate is an interactive business. The deals that we work on—whether it’s acquisitions, development, property management or leasing—impact a lot of people’s lives and with that comes a lot of issues and challenges. As an operator we have to be problem solvers and we have to be able to develop the local business plan to get the job done for our clients. Being able to execute a business plan is a rewarding experience given all of the components that go into each deal.
Looking to the future, what do you hope to achieve/work on that you haven’t already?
Considering I just helped our team open our Chicago CBD office, I have some lofty goals! I plan to grow our platform in the CBD through value-add office acquisitions and development opportunities while simultaneously hiring best-in-class office leasing and property management teams. I hope to hire at least four people to our team in the next 12 to 18 months and I’d like to acquire or build two principal deals. The majority of my experience has been in acquisitions and asset management but I’m excited to give leasing a shot. Stream is a dynamic and creative commercial real estate platform that is technology focused and can offer leasing professionals a chance to be principal landlords, which is unique. The current economic climate in Chicago is going to create opportunities for groups that are ready to execute when the time is right.
How do you spend your time away from the office?
Hanging out with my wife and son in our neighborhood, West Town. We love living in the city and our neighborhood has so much culture and has been ever changing since we moved there. We often ride bikes on the weekends to explore new neighborhoods. I have lived in Chicago for 13 years and there are still so many places I have yet to explore and cultural attractions to see. Outside of hanging with friends and family, some might say I have a golf addiction.
What is your favorite place that you have traveled to? Where do you hope to go next?
Sicily, Amalfi Coast or Croatia. Next on the list is Mallorca or Japan.
Who would you like to see answer these questions?
Anyone in need of first-class commercial real estate services.