Every business sector has influential players, whether they are in the public eye or wield their influence behind the scenes. In a monthly feature that runs in the first issue of the month, through October, IBJ is identifying those people in eight different industry categories.
The commercial real estate field generated an outpouring of nominations, all of whom rolled through our peer-reviewed screening process, leading to the selection of this final group, who represent a broad range of commercial real estate interests. George Sweet, president of Brenwick Development Co., also was named to this group, but a current biography was unavailable at press time.
Jeffrey A. Abrams, 55
Partner in Charge, Indianapolis Office
Jeff Abrams is the partner in charge of his firm’s Indianapolis office and a partner in the firm’s real estate and environmental practice group. Abrams represents banks and lending institutions, developers, landlords, tenants, builders, contractors and other business owners. Benesch, a business law firm, has offices in Cleveland and Columbus, Ohio; Philadelphia; White Plains, N.Y; Wilmington, Del.; and Shanghai, China. The firm added Indianapolis to its scope in 2010 when it merged with DannPecar Newman and Kleinman, where Abrams began his legal career in 1979. Abrams has served as counsel to the Indiana Commercial Board of Realtors since 2000.
Abrams is president and a board member of the First Tee Program of Greater Indianapolis, a national organization that promotes character development and life-enhancing values through the game of golf. He is also a member of the 2012 Super Bowl Host Committee. He is treasurer and a board member of the Indianapolis Bar Association. He was named a distinguished fellow of the Indianapolis Bar Foundation in 2004.
Abrams received his bachelor’s degree from Miami University and his law degree, cum laude, from the Indiana University School of Law in Indianapolis. Abrams says that, when he is not solving problems and providing creative solutions for clients, he can be found on the golf course or spending time with his family.
David O. Barrett, 40
President and CEO
Gene B. Glick Co.
In 2007, David Barrett joined Gene B. Glick Co., one of the largest privately held real estate management and development firms in the United States. Founded in 1947, the company manages more than 18,500 apartment units in 10 states and invests in a number of real estate and related businesses. Before joining the company, Barrett was vice president, corporate counsel and assistant secretary of Emmis Communications Corp., an Indianapolis-based media company. Before that, he practiced law at the local law firm Ice Miller, where he concentrated in corporate law, media law and business transactions.
An active member of the Indianapolis community, Barrett has served on a variety of boards. He is president and CEO of the Eugene and Marilyn Glick Family Foundation and an adviser to the Glick Fund of the Central Indiana Community Foundation. He sits on the board of the Indianapolis Cultural Trail Inc. and on the advisory board of the Center for Real Estate Studies at Indiana University’s Kelley School of Business. He is a member of the Indiana Builders Association, the Builders Association of Greater Indianapolis, the Indiana Apartment Association and the Indiana Chamber of Commerce. He also sits on the board of the Greater Indianapolis Chamber of Commerce.
He has served on the advisory board of the Indiana Economic Development Corp. and accompanied Gov. Mitch Daniels on a trade mission to Tokyo. He has held various leadership roles in a number of local and national Jewish organizations.
Barrett graduated cum laude in 1995 from Indiana University School of Law, Bloomington, and received his bachelor’s degree from Indiana University. He and his wife, Jackie, are members of the IU Varsity Club and the IU Alumni Association. They live in Carmel with their three children and enjoy playing tennis, reading and traveling.
James Brainard, 56
City of Carmel
Carmel’s four-termmayor, Jim Brainard, has overseen vast changes in the cityscape, notably the dramatic growth and reconfiguration of downtown Carmel, including the Arts and Design District. Brainard has spearheaded economic development projects, such as Carmel City Center, home of the new Performing Arts Center, encouraged the growth of established companies and worked to bring new high-tech and life sciences firms to the city.
Another key focus of the Brainard administration has been greening the city. Green space, trails and parklands have jumped from just 40 acres when Brainard came into office to more than 800 today. Brainard signed an executive order mandating the use of hybrid and flex-fuel vehicles for city operations when possible and enacted a no-idling policy for city employees. He encouraged the utilities department to develop technology to use recaptured methane gas to power the city’s wastewater treatment facility. Carmel’s 50-some roundabouts have reduced vehicle emissions and smoothed traffic. Brainard often speaks nationally about Carmel’s development, and the city has received numerous awards for its high quality of life.
Brainard received his bachelor’s degree from Butler University and his law degree from Ohio Northern University. He also received a diploma from the Oxford Institute on International and Comparative Law from the University of San Diego. He is an assistant scoutmaster who received his Eagle Scout ranking in 1972 and the Distinguished Eagle Scout Award in 2007. Brainard has served as president of the Butler University Alumni Association and was included in Butler’s “50 under 50” in 2004. He is an active member of St. Elizabeth Seton Catholic Church and of the Rotary Club of Carmel. He is an accomplished musician. He and his wife, Liz, have four children.
James D. Bremner, 55
President, Health Care
Duke Realty Corp.
Duke Realty Corp. entered the health care market in 2007, when it acquired Bremner Health Care. Jim Bremner had founded the company in 1986 as Revel, Bremner and Wiley, while he was working for Revel Cos., a Fishers commercial real estate firm. Bremner had left his job in sales at Xerox Corp. to join Revel as a broker in 1980. He moved up to the vice presidency and finally to the role of president and chief operating officer. He left Revel in 1996. Of Bremner’s 25 years in commercial real estate, 15 have been dedicated to health care facilities.
Bremner leads Duke’s efforts in developing, owning, leasing and managing health care real estate. During his stint with the company, Bremner has led the development of nine Indiana University Health facilities, totaling more than 600,000 square feet; four projects for the Sisters of St. Francis, totaling 320,000 square feet completed or in progress; and five projects, totaling more than 500,000 square feet under development for Baylor Health Care System in Texas. In addition to his leadership responsibilities, Bremner also conducts feasibility analysis, site selection and scope definition.
Bremner sits on the boards of directors of Indianapolis-based Denison Parking Inc., and The Indianapolis Children’s Museum. Born in Philadelphia, Bremner moved to Indiana with his parents and received his bachelor’s degree from Purdue University. He and his wife, Gina, have two sons. They enjoy golf, biking and spending time at Lake Maxinkuckee in Culver.
Bradley B. Chambers, 46
President and CEO
As a student at Indiana University in 1984, Brad Chambers founded Buckingham Cos., which then owned a single rental property. From that one residential rental, Buckingham has morphed into a full-service real estate firm that develops, acquires, manages and constructs a wide variety of property types, including multifamily, student housing and mixed-use communities. The company now manages real estate assets of nearly $1 billion.
Although Chambers avoids publicity assiduously, his name has made the news often recently because his company is developing the high-profile North of South project, which will include a Dolce hotel, 320 high-end apartments, a YMCA and 40,000 square feet of restaurants and shops. Construction is set to begin this summer on the property, which is at the northeast corner of Delaware and South streets near the Eli Lilly and Co. corporate campus.
Chambers is a principal in all Buckingham’s partnerships and oversees each of its divisions. Additionally, he is vice chairman of the Government Housing Finance Programs Committee of the Indiana Builders Association, is a member of the National Multi Housing Council, a member of the Young Presidents’ Organization and sits on the boards of the Indianapolis Neighborhood Housing Partnership and the Indianapolis Museum of Art. In the past, he has served on the Indiana State Office Building Commission, the board of the Apartment Association of Indiana and the Indianapolis Police Department Civilian Merit Board. He is a graduate of the Indiana University Kelley School of Business.