After years of serving on the board and moving up the officer ranks, Mike Prost, a senior managing director with Newmark Grubb Knight Frank, became the 2016 president of the Association of Industrial Real Estate Brokers on Jan. 1.
What not many may not know about Prost is that although he’s very committed to his profession and already has his list of 2016 goals for AIRE, including a possible future speaker, Prost is very family-oriented and enjoys spending as much time as possible building those strong, personal relationships.
In the following Q&A, Prost opens up about family, his commitment to helping those in need, and what’s in store for AIRE.
This will be the association’s second consecutive year reaching a milestone. In 2015, AIRE celebrated the 25th anniversary of the distinguished Frank Mahoney Award and this year it will celebrate its 60th anniversary.
Chicago Industrial Properties: What will your new responsibilities be as the new AIRE president?
Prost: As the 2016 president of AIRE, my responsibility is to steer the ship. Each president determines their own priorities in continuing and enhancing the AIRE mission of ethics, education and cooperation. My focus this year is fourfold:
- Continued educational and compelling programs for our lunches,
- Website improvement,
- Greater involvement in our charity – AIRE Cares and
- Recognizing our 60th Anniversary.
Of course, this work does not happen in a vacuum. I have an active and motivated board and volunteers who assure AIRE delivers.
CIP: What was it about CRE that made you want to work in the industry?
Prost: I have always loved manufacturing – especially made in America. Working in this field gives me a ring side seat to see behind the proverbial curtain. I’m an engineer at heart so it fascinates (and amazes) me to see how products are made. The United States is second only to China in manufacturing and I am very proud of that and will always spend my money to insure this continues.
CIP: What’s been your favorite moment in all your years in the industry?
Prost: I have had many over the years. I’ve had the great fortune to work with some of the stalwarts of industry. I can remember a time when the then Co-chairman of Jelly Belly Candy Company gave me some insight into why the venerable Fannie May Candy Company went bankrupt. Even then I remember thinking, how fortunate I was to have this type of access.
CIP: What do you enjoy doing on your time off?
Prost: I have a huge family and even though I don’t have my own children I am overly involved in my nieces and nephews lives. I am fortunate to have both my parents, seven siblings and 16 nieces and nephews. In addition I am on the board of The Chicago HELP Initiative, a consortium of business, residential, religious, social service, institutional and volunteer leaders striving to promote an atmosphere of dignity and compassion toward those in need by providing access to food, health services, shelter and employment. I am also active in my church and community; in fact, I am a Special Events Commissioner in Arlington Heights and most importantly a beer guy at our annual Frontier Days.
CIP: Favorite city ever visited?
Prost: Second to Chicago, I love Seattle. I have family there and have visited many times since childhood. The scenery, the lifestyle, the food and the people, it’s the complete package.
CIP: If you were given the opportunity to meet someone famous, who would it be and why?
Prost: Well known to my colleagues, I am focused now on great programs for our AIRE lunches. I am a big fan of the Bolingbrook-based MacNeil Automotive Products Limited and their founder and CEO David MacNeil. They are a very successful automotive accessories manufacturer, known for their WeatherTech products, that prides itself on local sourcing, including raw materials, design and manufacturing. I use their products and have given them away as gifts. I would welcome the opportunity to have their founder speak in front of AIRE and address not only their company credo but also US manufacturing in general, their ability to successfully operate in Illinois and what government can do to insure more success stories like theirs in the future.
CIP: One thing you’d like to do that you haven’t already done in your lifetime?
Prost: It would involve travel. I love interacting and learning about other cultures. My bucket list is long and includes Iceland, Australia, Argentina, Christkindlmarket’s markets in Germany etc.
CIP: What is something interesting about yourself that may surprise people?
Prost: I am cook for Little Brothers Friends of the Elderly and on a lighter note I grew up in Beverly but I am not Irish (although I go to every Southside St. Patrick’s Day parade and feel like I am)
CIP: Most unforgettable piece of advice you were given?
Prost: It would have to be from my amazing father. He instilled in me through his advice and example to always strive to do your best. This is fitting in that my dad always gave (and continues to give) 110% in everything he does.
CIP: What do you proudly consider to be your greatest personal accomplishment?
Prost: I would say my relationships with my niece and nephews. By being overly involved in their lives from childhood on you build a lasting bond and friendship. I am very fortunate and proud to have shared in the milestones of their lives. I could brag (and will) and tell you that I have two doctors, an air force pilot, several teachers, an aspiring nurse and several in grammar and high school whose stories are still evolving.