How do you protect a commercial brokerage you helped build? You plan its future far in advance of when a succession is actually needed. That’s what the leaders of Wichita, Kansas-based Martens Companies has done.
Four senior vice presidents with NAI Martens have purchased a majority stake in the company. These four brokers – Jeff Englert, Grant Glasgow, Kris Wessel and Nathan Farha – have a combined 66 years of experience with NAI Martens.
Chief executive officer Steven Martens and president Tom Johnson will remain active with the firm, even after this change. Martens remains the largest individual shareholder in NAI Martens, but no longer has majority control of the firm.
Martens said that the move is designed to continue the success that NAI Martens has enjoyed in Wichita and its surrounding communities. NAI Martens officials worked through an extensive strategic planning process during the summer, Martens said. Officials discussed the future of the company during these sessions, and the move to ensure its next generation of leaders made sense, he said.
“These four individuals have had so much success in commercial real estate in Wichita and outside the market,” Martens said. “It made sense to have a conversation about the change of control, to take the next steps. This was the right time to look at this and make this move. We couldn’t be happier that they have the controlling interest in the firm.”
Each of the four senior vice presidents have been with the company for 15 to 20 years.
“We have always been very happy with the culture of the company and what Steve, his father and his grandfather have created and grown,” Englert said. “We are honored to have the opportunity to continue with that. Our intent is to continue to grow what they have built over the years.”
Wessel said that NAI Martens is already in a strong position in the Wichita market. His job, and the job of the other senior vice presidents, is to keep the momentum going, he said.
“We already have a well-tuned machine here,” Wessel said. “We’d like to do what we can to keep that running. The company is in as good a place as it has ever been. We have a great process in place to recruit and train and retain quality producers. We have to credit Steve. This plan was his good idea.”
The purchase of the majority stake by Wessel, Englert, Glasgow and Farha became official Jan. 1 of this year.
Martens said that the move will prevent any future uncertainty or disruption. As Martens says, a transition can create upheaval if it isn’t planned. This move prevents that.
“The fact that we know these four will take what has been built in the organization to new heights and new directions is something that Tom and I fully support,” Martens said.
This is a good time for both NAI Martens and the Wichita commercial real estate market. Englert said that the CRE market is seeing plenty of activity in and around Wichita today. The multifamily and industrial sectors are performing especially well, Englert said.
Wessel said that the immediate future looks strong in Wichita.
“We look for 2019 to be a very healthy year for commercial real estate,” he said. “It’s hard in a fast-changing world to see further than that. But we have been off on the right foot early in the year. There are lots of good things to write about in this market.”