Long before Adam Marshall became a Managing Director with Newmark Grubb Knight Frank’s industrial group, he worked in marketing when he was just out of college. A pivotal project early on involved analyzing how a large financial institution won and lost their prospective client pitches, and recommending strategies to enhance its presentations. He realized then he wanted to have a career that encompassed the passion and skill of pursuing, winning and servicing clients.
“My friends and family who were involved in commercial real estate helped expose me to that world,” Marshall said. “After meeting with different brokers, I was offered a position with Owen Wagener & Co as a marketing executive in 2003.”
For the past decade, Marshall credits the never-ending need for creativity, problem solving and effective negotiation to provide great customer service, as the prime factor for his career satisfaction in the commercial real estate industry.
“You need to be keenly aware of opportunities in the market and how they can benefit your clients’ company objectives, which is a balance between financial and physical occupancy,” he said. “The industry and market moves at a very fast pace and are constantly evolving, so you must focus on deal transparency, market knowledge and effective communication with all interested parties to a transaction. It is a dynamic business that is very rewarding, with an appreciation for the long cycles and handling the unexpected.”
Newmark Grubb Knight Frank’s fully integrated platform and ownership structure is what appealed to Marshall and ultimately convinced him to make the move to a global firm in July.
“Together with our family of companies including Cantor Fitzgerald, Cantor Commercial Real Estate, and a very well- capitalized parent company in BGC Partners, we have unprecedented financial and real estate expertise spanning the globe.”
Marshall added that NGKF is well positioned, and committed, to continue their expansion here in Chicago and beyond in the immediate future.
“In just the past several months, NGKF has acquired Cornish & Carey in northern California, partnered with Zimmer Co in Kansas City, and hired accomplished industrial, office and retail brokers nationally and locally. I understand that the firm is looking to complete more acquisitions. It’s very exciting!”
For Marshall, his clients always come first, as he enjoys learning about what they do, as well as how they do it.
“The NGKF platform will guarantee me the ability to offer many relevant services to all my clients, which is essential in a competitive business environment,” he said. “It is inspiring to have relationships with the people that manufacture, process or distribute the products we use in our daily lives. Along with those that own and operate the real estate that these types of industrial companies occupy.”
As for the catastrophic and nearly fatal collapse of the world’s economy we witnessed a few years ago—and the subsequent rebound– Marshall maintains a realist’s perspective.
“Real estate is cyclical,” Marshal said. “While we are enjoying the current recovery and expansion, it will cycle again in the future. Hopefully the severity of what we all went through a few years ago doesn’t repeat itself anytime soon.”
With that in mind, Marshall says the biggest lesson he has learned thus far, working in industrial real estate, is to “be patient, show resolve, always act with integrity as the client’s unconditional advocate. One’s career is made up by the depth of multiple relationships you develop with clients that are seeking advice on how best to support their objectives.”
When Marshall isn’t working, he enjoys music (He played saxophone in college, in a band called The Gruv, which recorded an album that got radio play on 93xrt!), and spending time with family and friends.
“We have two young boys (ages 8 & 5) that are involved in sports,” he said. “Recently, it’s been baseball where I coach and spectate. I also like to travel (recent trips to Paris, Napa Valley, Disney World and Mackinac Island), play golf and bike.”
Professionally, Marshall is on the Executive Board of Directors for the Association of Industrial Real Estate Brokers (AIRE) and currently serves as Treasurer. Marshall is also on the Board of Directors for DePaul University’s Alumni Association and part of the Chairmen’s Advisory Council for Big Shoulders Fund, an organization that supports 93 inner-city Chicago Catholic schools through scholarships, patron programs, facility improvements, instructional equipment, operating grants and special education programs.
“It is essential to give back to the communities where we live and work,” Marshall said. “An organization like Big Shoulders Fund strengthens the future of Chicago and makes a difference in many areas that desperately need hope and inspiration.”