Today’s modern technology is changing the way the commercial real estate industry does business now more than ever before. That’s why Illinois Real Estate Journal turned to experts like Tony Iannessa, vice president at Leopardo Companies, Inc., to fills us in on what’s new.
In the following Q&A, Iannessa, who will be speaking at IREJ’s Technology in Commercial Real Estate conference on March 8, shares his thoughts on the tech business and also opens up about boxing, and his experiences in CRE.
Illinois Real Estate Journal: What are your responsibilities as vice president at Leopardo Companies?
Tony Iannessa: I am responsible for sourcing new construction projects and ensuring delivery on time and under budget. While I have extensive experience with professional and financial services firms, I focus on TAMI (Technology, Advertising, Media and Information) clients.
IREJ: What will you be discussing at IREJ’s Tech. conference?
Iannessa: Technology companies role in developing the office design and culture of corporate America.
IREJ: Tech has become a huge part of our everyday lives, and arguably, it’s taking over various professions. Do you think there will be any future challenges for CRE?
Iannessa: If you are involved in Chicago’s commercial real estate market, you had better understand technology; specifically the local technology companies. They are the single largest driver in creating new jobs, absorbing vacant real estate, and moving the local economy along. We may run into an issue in the future if funding for companies becomes more scarce and companies are afraid to grow. We have a lot of vacant office space coming on line in 2017 and if our biggest sector driving local absorption slows down, we will have a problem.
IREJ: What’s been your most memorable experience in commercial real estate?
Iannessa: Going from Mentee to Mentor. I’ve had the opportunity to learn from a lot of very successful people and now am able to provide some of that knowledge to others.
IREJ: One thing working in the industry has taught you?
Iannessa: Never burn a bridge. No matter how bad things get on a project, make sure you end things cordially because you will work with the same people your whole career. Chicago is a small town!
IREJ: Favorite thing to do on your time off from work?
Iannessa: I enjoy traveling, playing golf, exercising and spending time with my family.
IREJ: What was your career aspiration before settling into real estate?
Iannessa: My whole life I pretty much wanted to be an architect and then I discovered real estate development. I figured I should learn how to build things before starting my real estate empire, and never managed to get out of the construction business!
IREJ: What’s something interesting about yourself that people would be surprised to know?
Iannessa: I have been boxing for about 2.5 years. Also, my father’s family came to the U.S. in 1953 from Italy and I spent six months living in Rome during college.
IREJ: What’s your favorite social media platform to stay up to date with the latest CRE news?
Iannessa: I use LinkedIn religiously to research companies, people, etc. I also follow all the major media outlets, especially local news for jobs and economic announcements which tend to affect real estate markets.