Who's Who in Commercial Real Estate - 2011

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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.

Jeff Abrams

Jeffrey A. Abrams, 55
Partner in Charge, Indianapolis Office
Benesch Law

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 Barrett

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.

Carmel mayor Jim Brainard

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.

Jim Bremner

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
Buckingham Cos.

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.

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.

Bruce Cordingley

Bruce Cordingley, 64
President and CEO
Pedcor Cos.

Pedcor Cos. started developing affordable housing in Indianapolis in 1987, when Bruce Cordingley was still working as an attorney at the local law firm Ice Miller, specializing in real estate development and finance. In 1990, he left the firm to spend full time on Pedcor, which today comprises a privately held group of more than 200 companies engaged in development, construction, ownership and management of real estate; and in finance and insurance. Combined, Pedcor has more than 650 employees in 14 states, with 150 employees at the company headquarters in Carmel. Its portfolio includes two bank holding companies, a savings bank, two insurance companies and more than 15,000 apartments, which the company built and now owns and manages. Pedcor can claim a number of buildings in Carmel: Carmel City Center, the Indiana Design Center (one of only 20 such centers in the country), the Old Town Shops and Pedcor Square, its own headquarters.

Cordingley received a bachelor’s degree in industrial management from Purdue University, a law degree from Harvard Law School, a master’s in economics from Indiana University and a master’s in international finance from the University of Maryland. He also has taken graduate courses in mathematical finance at Oxford University. He is a member of the Indiana and Massachusetts bars and a licensed real estate broker. Until 1976 he served in the U.S. Army Reserve and was discharged as a captain.

Cordingley is married to Denise Cordingley, a former French teacher at Park Tudor School. The couple has three children and five grandchildren.

John Crisp

John A. Crisp, 40
Principal, Senior Vice President
Cassidy Turley

Many of John Crisp’s mentors were in real estate, and he was drawn to the field for “the apparent freedom and decision-making opportunities” his mentors had in managing their careers and personal goals. In college, he interned in real estate and his course was set. He realized that he could pursue his own ambitious professional and personal goals in his hometown, Indianapolis, without worrying about a possible relocation. He worked for Browning Investments Inc., an Indianapolis-based real estate development company, for three years and, in 1993, joined F.C. Tucker, now Cassidy Turley.

Crisp specializes in tenant representation and corporate advisory services and has been named the top producer of Cassidy Turley’s Office Division multiple times. He has received the company’s George C. Charbonneau Leadership Award four times and was named Indy’s Best and Brightest in Development and Construction in 2006. His clients include Chicago-based Veolia Water North America, Cincinnati-based Fifth Third Bank, Maryland-based Lockheed Martin Corp. and the University of Phoenix.

Dedicated to serving the community, Crisp is on the 500 Festival board, the Indianapolis Convention and Visitors Association’s board of advisers and the Stanley K. Lacy Advisory Council Board. He also serves as the Indiana Sports Corp. President’s Council adviser. He has received Cassidy Turley awards for outstanding civic involvement and distinguished service to the community. He is active in St. Luke parish.

Crisp received his bachelor’s degree from Xavier University in Cincinnati and is a graduate of the Stanley K. Lacy Executive Leadership Series.

Steve DeLaney

Steve Delaney, 59
Partner and Owner
Sitehawk Retail Real Estate

Partner and owner of Indianapolis-based Sitehawk Retail Real Estate, Steve Delaney focuses on site selection for national and regional restaurants looking to enter the Indianapolis market. He has completed more than 250 restaurant deals since joining Sitehawk, formerly known as Linder Co., in 1994. His clients span the chain spectrum, from the boisterous, pasta-pushing Buca di Beppo to the rarified ambiance of Oceanaire. He also represents Darden Restaurants, which owns the Olive Garden, Red Lobster, Longhorn Steakhouse, Capital Grill and Seasons 52 brands, among others.

Delaney was particularly active in the downtown restaurant influx in the late 1990s and throughout the last decade. He brought Planet Hollywood downtown, which he feels was a catalyst for growth in restaurants even if the restaurant itself folded.

In addition to his local work, Delaney heads up the restaurant group within ChainLinks Retail Advisors. Atlanta-based ChainLinks, with more than 600 brokers nationwide, is the most active retail brokerage network in the country. Delaney grew up in Indianapolis and launched his career in restaurants and real estate immediately following his 1973 graduation from Indiana University. He founded and was CEO of Delaney’s Ice Cream and Dooley O’Toole’s (there’s still one in Carmel). Delaney and his partner eventually had four restaurant concepts and 26 locations in Indiana, Louisville, St. Louis and Dallas, before selling the units to join Sitehawk in 1994. He believes that having been in the restaurant business makes him especially well-suited to his current position.

Delaney is on the board of directors of Second Helpings and is past president of the Phi Gamma Delta Graduate Chapter in Indianapolis. He and his wife have two daughters and live in Carmel.

Dennis Dye

Dennis Dye, 47
Executive Vice President
Browning Investments Inc.

Dennis Dye’s responsibilities span all development activities, including acquisition, development, rehabilitation, re-positioning, leasing and selling properties owned and managed by Browning Investments Inc.

He also is in charge of purchase and sale negotiations for both land and developed property, mortgage financing and building development.

Dye originally joined Browning in 1988 as a financial analyst but left to form Camile Products, a chemistry software group, where he was vice president and partner. While at Camile, he led the company’s successful effort to raise venture-capital funds for product development, sales and marketing expansion.

In 2001, Camile was acquired by Argonaut Technologies, a publicly traded research instrument and reagent company based in California. Dye worked at Argonaut after the acquisition to assist in the transition of product development and marketing initiatives, and then left in 2002 to rejoin Browning.

Dye earned his bachelor’s degree from Butler University and his MBA in finance and marketing from Indiana University. He is a certified public accountant. Dye is active in many community and industry organizations, including the National Association of Office and Industrial Properties Editorial Board, the City of Indianapolis Life Sciences Initiative Task Force, Metropolitan Indianapolis Public Broadcasting Inc.’s board, the board of the Indiana Sports Corp. and as chairman of the YouthLinks Development Committee, which supports the Indiana Sports Corp. He also is a member of the executive committee of the Indiana District of the Urban Land Institute.

He is a committee leader for the 2012 Super Bowl Host Committee, past president of the Julian Center’s board, past vice president of Hillcrest Country Club and an alumnus of the United Way Ardath Burkhart Leadership Series, which helps those on boards and serving as community leaders to understand the governance and management issues facing not-for-profits. He is committed to the United Way and is an active member of St. Maria Goretti parish.

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. 

Bill Ehret

William Ehret, 51
President and CEO
Summit Realty Group

Bill Ehret co-founded Indianapolis-based Summit Realty Group in 1993 with Tom Frank, Tom Abernathy and Pete Quinn. The company, which is part of the international Cushman and Wakefield Alliance, specializes in office leasing and sales. Notable clients include Dow AgroSciences, Krieg DeVault, Somerset CPAs and ProTrans International, all based in Indianapolis; and Milliman Inc., based in Seattle. Real estate appealed to Ehret because, as he explains, “It’s a people business and also has a history; buildings all have a story.” He began his career as a researcher at Coldwell Banker and, in 1982, went to work for locally based F.C. Tucker Co. in office sales and leasing. He worked his way up and was vice president when he left to found Summit.

Beyond his day-to-day responsibilities at Summit, Ehret is on the six-person executive committee for the Cushman and Wakefield Alliance Program. He received the Indianapolis Power Broker Award from 2005 through 2009 from the Washington, D.C.-based CoStar Group; the award for largest dollar volume office transaction in 2005 from the Society of Industrial and Office Realtors; and the NAIOP trade group’s award for broker transaction of the year in 2009. Ehret is a member of the Greater Indianapolis Chamber of Commerce’s business advocacy committee, the office recruitment and retention committee for Indianapolis Downtown Inc., the Society of Industrial and Office Realtors, the Indiana Commercial Board of Realtors, the National Association of Realtors and the Indiana Association of Realtors.

Ehret holds a bachelor’s degree from Indiana University. He works with the following community organizations: Pike Township Education Foundation, Meals on Wheels, the American Cancer Society, and Arc of Indiana, which aids the developmentally disabled.

David Eskenazi

David N. Eskenazi, 45
Sandor Development Co.

David Eskenazi is responsible for all operational aspects of Carmel-based Sandor Development Co., overseeing leasing and new development, as well as managing the existing portfolio of shopping centers, totaling about 7 million square feet. Stores such as Best Buy, Home Depot, Kohl’s and Wal-Mart anchor the company’s shopping centers. Eskenazi also operates Sand Capital division, which purchases real estate debt and bank REO property. Sandor’s philosophy is to be both fiscally conservative and aggressive, leading the company to maintain a higher level of equity in the industry than some companies and allowing it to move quickly on transactions.

Eskenazi’s father, Sidney D. Eskenazi, founded Sandor in the early 1960s. The company has about 36 retail properties in 23 states, with more than 2 million square feet in Indiana. In 2010, the company relocated from downtown Indianapolis to new headquarters at 106th and Pennsylvania streets. Eskenazi joined the family business in 1993, after spending several years in Chicago, where he practiced corporate and real estate law. He received his law degree from the University of Michigan Law School in 1990 and his bachelor’s, summa cum laude, in 1987 from Tufts University in Medford, Mass.

In addition to his business activities, Eskenazi serves on the boards of the Children’s Museum and Park Tudor School. He is a member of the Indiana Chapter of the Young Presidents’ Organization.

David Flaherty

David M. Flaherty, 52
Flaherty & Collins Properties

When he was a teenager, David Flaherty knew that he wanted to be in real estate. As an undergraduate at Indiana University, he packed his schedule with real-estate related classes and had a concentration in real estate through the business school. He also knew he wanted a postgraduate degree and debated between law and an MBA. He decided that a law degree would be more advantageous. He joined Fishers-based Revel Cos. Inc. after graduating from the Indiana University School of Law, Indianapolis, because the company allowed him to practice law and do commercial leasing. He says, “I quickly learned that practicing real estate law is very difficult without experience.” He set about amassing experience in leasing, and from leasing, he moved into investment sales and apartment development at Revel.

In 1993, Flaherty decided to branch out on his own, with Jerry Collins. The two, who had worked together at Revel, wanted more involvement in the ownership and development side of the business. Starting their own company provided that opportunity. Indianapolis-based Flaherty & Collins Properties develops, constructs and manages multifamily housing, working in nine states, and has eight properties under construction.

As CEO, Flaherty, along with Collins, who is president, is responsible for the direction, operation and profitability of the company. He has been responsible for the completion of hundreds of real estate transactions, including acquisitions, dispositions, development and financing.

Flaherty is a member of the leadership board of the National Association of Home Builders Multifamily Division, the National Multi Housing Council, the board of visitors of the Indiana University Kelley School of Business, Indianapolis, and the Indianapolis Bar Association. He is committed to Vision Communities, an organization that he and Collins founded a decade ago to provide affordable housing for needy Indiana families.

Flaherty is married and has two children. He enjoys snow-skiing, running and coaching children’s athletics.

Harold Garrison

Harold D. Garrison, 62
Chairman and CEO
HDG Mansur Capital Group LLC

Harold Garrison ischairman and CEO of HDG Mansur Capital Group, HDG Mansur Properties and chairman of all other HDG Mansur companies. He co-founded Mansur Development Corp. Inc. and Mansur Group Inc. with former partner Lee Alig in 1982. The company has developed, managed and advised on nearly $5.2 billion in real estate investments on behalf of private clients and institutions worldwide. Beyond Indianapolis, the company has offices in New York, London and Dubai, United Arab Emirates, and has $2.2 billion in real estate assets under management. The company continually adds properties to its portfolio.

Among its holdings is Hamilton Proper, a master-planned golf community of custom-built homes in 23 neighborhoods in Hamilton County. In addition to the Hawthorns Golf & Country Club at Hamilton Proper, HDG Mansur has developed Oakhurst Golf and Country Club in Michigan. The company has a variety of projects in the works, and Garrison is particularly enthusiastic about Finzels Reach, a mixed-use development in the heart of Bristol, United Kingdom.

Garrison graduated from Ball State University with a bachelor of science degree and a bachelor of architecture and planning degree. Dedicated to education, he supports St. Richard’s Episcopal School, Cathedral High School, Ball State University and Christel House. He is also involved with the Children’s Wish Fund, St. Vincent Foundation and Circle City Classic. He and his wife have three children.

John Hart

John C. Hart Jr., 60
J.C. Hart Co. Inc.

Following his grad-uation from Indiana University in1973, John Hart went to work for his dad, John Hart Sr., at Hart Development, an Indianapolis home builder founded in the early 1950s. In 1976, they formed today’s company, J.C. Hart Co., which develops, constructs and manages luxury apartments in Indiana and Ohio. The company has 3,400 apartments in 17 locations and its annual revenue is $33.5 million. A third generation is now involved, with Hart’s son-in-law and two sons working for the company.

Hart is proud of not only the quality of work the company does but also of the family atmosphere. The Indiana Chamber of Commerce has named it as a “Best Place to Work in Indiana” three years running beginning in 2009. The chamber commended the company for, among other things, valuing employees. The Indiana Apartment Association named J. C. Hart the Management Company of the Year in 2009, and Builder magazine ranked the company among the top 50 multifamily builders in 2010. John Hart Jr. himself has received the Builder of the Year award from the Builders Association of Greater Indianapolis (1988), the Mike Boeke Distinguished Service Award for his service to the Builders Association (1997) and the Joe Rhodes Memorial Award (2005), from the Indiana Apartment Association, in recognition of lifelong service to the multifamily housing industry.

Hart is past board president of the Carmel Dads’ Club, the Builders Association of Greater Indianapolis and Woodland Country Club. He is a board member and active volunteer for St. Mary’s Child Center and a board member of the AAA Hoosier Motor Club. He most enjoys spending time with his wife, Marianne, their three children and their families. He has a passion for golf, but ruefully admits that golf doesn’t have a passion for him.

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. 

Jeff Henry

Jeff Henry, 64
Regional Managing Principal
Cassidy Turley

In 1973, Jeff Henry joined Indianapolis-based F.C. Tucker Co. (now Cassidy Turley), and began his commercial real estate career. After amassing some experience, he left the company to work for two local developers: Duke Realty Corp. and Eaton and Lauth (today’s Lauth Properties). Then, for seven years he ran his own commercial brokerage, J.L. Henry Co. In 1998, after he had merged his company with another, the timing seemed right to return to Cassidy Turley as manager of the office division.

Henry was named managing principal in 2000 and assumed his current role of regional managing principal last January. As such, he directs the focus, profitability, growth and staff management of Cassidy Turley’s Indianapolis, St. Louis, Milwaukee, Minneapolis and Kansas City, Mo. offices. He also serves on the Cassidy Turley board.

Henry has served as president and board member for the Indianapolis Commercial Board of Realtors and Building Owners and Managers Association Indianapolis. He has been recognized as Member of the Year by the Indianapolis Commercial Board of Realtors and twice as the BOMA-Indy Member of the Year. He has served as president and board member of both Big Brother Big Sisters of Central Indiana and the Jordan YMCA. He currently sits on the boards of Indiana Repertory Theatre and the Little Red Door Cancer Agency.

Born in Marion, Henry graduated from DePauw University with a bachelor’s degree in economics. He is married and has five children and three grandchildren, with another on the way. He has coached Allisonville Little League softball and baseball for more than 30 years and has been president and a board member of the group.

Abbe Hohmann

Abbe Hohmann, 58
Principal and Senior Vice President
Cassidy Turley

In site acquisition, Abbe Hohmann says, “I have the best of all worlds,” because she works with companies such as Wisconsin-based Menards and also with families on projects that offer the vast variety that fuels her fire. The clients she has represented include such local organizations as The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis, IU Health, the Indianapolis Airport Authority and Lauth Property Group, as well as Dallas-based Centex Homes, St. Louis-based Dominion Hospitality Group and Michigan-based Meijer Inc. Her major transactions have included brokering IU Health’s purchase of 92 acres in Avon for development of a hospital and medical center; Golden Rule/UnitedHealthcare’s sale of 210 acres; the Indianapolis-Marion County Building Authority lease; $440 million bond-financing with Health and Hospital Corp. for construction of the new Wishard Hospital; and United Way of Central Indiana grants in the amount of $100 million to member agencies for renovation and expansion of existing buildings or construction of new facilities.

Twenty-five years ago, Hohmann managed Kittle’s Furniture’s Castleton store and had made her career to that point in retail home furnishing. She left the field and joined Indianapolis-based F.C. Tucker Co. Inc., now Cassidy Turley, because she saw great variety, better income potential and interesting clientele in commercial real estate.

A native of Indianapolis, Hohmann graduated from Purdue University, which bestowed the Distinguished Alumni Award on her in 2006. In 2009, she was named to IBJ’s Women of Influence. This year, Hohmann is board chairwoman of the Indianapolis-Marion County Building Authority and co-chairwoman of the Urban Land Institute Indiana. She also is a member of the Greater Indianapolis Progress Committee’s Criminal Justice Facilities Task Force, the Stanley K. Lacy Advisory Council, the Monument Circle Idea Competition Advisory Council, and on the boards of United Way of Central Indiana, Easter Seals Crossroads and the International Violin Competition of Indianapolis.

Michael Huber

Michael J. Huber, 35
Deputy Mayor for Economic Development
City of Indianapolis

Michael Huber, anIllinoisan by birth, is thigh-high in Hoosier politics and government, an indirect result of choosing to pursue his MBA at Indiana University’s Kelley School of Business. While there, he joined Mitch Daniels’ 2004 gubernatorial campaign and, after his graduation, joined Indiana’s Office of Management and Budget. He stayed with the Daniels administration until 2008, when he was recruited by the Ballard administration to take on the role of director of enterprise development. In that position, Huber was responsible for finding cost savings through consolidating and outsourcing functions. For example, he managed projects such as the proposed transfer of water and wastewater systems to Citizens Energy Group.

In March 2010, Mayor Ballard appointed Huber deputy mayor responsible for economic development. Huber has served as the city’s project manager for the upcoming North of South development; represented the city in planning the IU Health Neurosciences Center for Excellence; and has overseen other real estate transactions designed to create jobs and redevelop key neighborhoods. From 2008 through 2010, he also directed Mayor Ballard’s financial performance management initiative.

From 2007 through 2010, he taught a course in public and not-for-profit sector performance management as a member of the associate faculty of IUPUI’s School of Public and Environmental Affairs. He also has worked as a consultant with American Management Systems in Fairfax, Va., and with Competitive Government Strategies in Indianapolis.

Huber holds a bachelor’s in social policy from Northwestern University and an MBA from Indiana University’s Kelley School of Business. He serves on the boards of Stopover Inc., Develop Indy and Indianapolis Downtown Inc. He, his wife, Helen, and their 1-year-old son live downtown.

John Kite

John A. Kite, 45
Chairman and CEO
Kite Realty Group

When John Kite graduated from DePauw University in 1987, he didn’t immediately join the family business. He first headed to Chicago and put his bachelor’s degree in economics to use as a business development officer in the commercial lending department of Harris Trust and Savings Bank. Reflecting on that decision, he says, “It’s good practice to go out and find your own opportunities in life and not just go into a family business. It is important to be able to prove to yourself that you are capable of doing things beyond a family business.”

With some experience under his belt, he returned to Indianapolis and began work in 1990 as chief financial officer of locally based Kite Development. In 1994, he became president of KMI Realty Advisors, an affiliate of the Kite Cos. (now Kite Realty Group). In 1997, he was named president of Kite Cos., a position he held until 2004, when he assumed his current duties. He also serves as head of the company’s capital allocation committee, which is responsible for major capital transactions.

Kite Realty Group is a full-service, vertically integrated real estate investment trust, focused primarily on the development, ownership and operation of neighborhood and community shopping centers in the United States. The company, founded as a construction business by John’s father, Al Kite, in 1960, is listed on the New York Stock Exchange and has more than $1 billion in assets. Locally the company’s portfolio includes Traders Point, Fishers Station, Fresh Market at 54th Street and College Avenue, Zionsville Place and Hamilton Crossing Center.

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. 


Pat Lindley

Patrick B. Lindley, 49
Senior Managing Director, Principal
Cassidy Turley

In 1984, following his graduation from the Indiana University School of Business, Patrick Lindley began his career with Cassidy Turley (then F.C. Tucker Co.’s commercial division). During his 27 years with the company, he has specialized in industrial real estate services and has been involved in more than 1,000 transactions with a total value in excess of $2 billion, including transactions with Southern Wine & Spirits and Monarch Beverage Co. in Indianapolis; MD Logistics in Plainfield; California-based Epson America; and Henry Schein Inc. of Melville, N.Y. He sits on Cassidy Turley’s executive committee.

Lindley consistently has been a top-producing broker in the Indianapolis market and has been named Cassidy Turley Broker of the Year four times and its Industrial Broker of the Year six times. In 2010, Indiana’s NAIOP, the Commercial Real Estate Development Association, recognized Lindley for his role in the sale of the 781,500-square-foot former Getrag Transmission plant in Tipton (which is, incidentally, Lindley’s hometown) to Colorado-based Abound Solar. He has been a member of the Society of Industrial and Office Realtors for 18 years.

A Stanley K. Lacy Executive Leadership Series graduate, Lindley was once named to IBJ’s Forty under 40 and is a member of the Carmel United Methodist Church and the Carmel Dads’ Club. He and his wife have three children.

Brian Mann

Brian Mann, 43
Managing Partner
Mann Properties LLP

Mann Properties, a family-owned real estate development firm, was founded in 1970 by Brian Mann’s parents, Gerald and Edna Mann. They put him to work at age 12, cutting grass, plowing snow and doing other maintenance chores. Over the years, he’s done about everything else: leased space, sold and developed land, acquired land, managed construction and handled zoning and entitlement work. Brian Mann also spent several years working for a family-owned environmental engineering and testing firm, which was sold in 1996. Mann works alongside his father and with his wife, Debbie, who is the director of leasing and land sales.

Under Mann’s leadership, the Indianapolis company has broadened its geographic coverage, moving beyond the Indianapolis market to include Lafayette and towns in Georgia and North and South Carolina. While the company once developed and built most of its rental portfolio, which now totals about 1.5 million square feet, Mann has expanded the business model to include acquisition of existing rental property. Along with a group of investors, Mann Properties recently acquired Georgetown Commerce Park, an industrial/flex-space project on the west side.

Mann has been involved in the Indianapolis business community for 20 years. He has been a guest columnist, writing on real estate, for IBJ and was once named to IBJ’s Forty under 40. He is a graduate of the Stanley K. Lacy Executive Leadership Series and is an active member of the Young Presidents’ Organization. In addition to spending time with his wife and two sons, Mann enjoys playing the guitar, water- and snow-skiing and traveling.


Todd J. Maurer, 40
Newmark Knight Frank Halakar

Todd Maurer began his professional life as a lawyer, specializing in bankruptcy and foreclosure. With his window on real estate, he decided to change fields, saying, “I entered real estate because I thought it was exciting. Every day is a different challenge for a different project or client.” He worked briefly for Gershman Brown and Associates and Meridian Real Estate, both based in Indianapolis, before founding, in 2000, Halakar Real Estate, a predecessor company to Newmark Knight Frank Halakar, a union sealed in 2011. Maurer sees the merger as a way to improve service to clients, explaining, “When a client has multiple offices around the globe, we now have a person on the ground to assist.”

Maurer focuses his commercial brokerage work in the office and industrial sectors. He also operates Halakar Property Management and Halakar Construction Services, and has developed two condominium properties downtown: 3 Mass and Six Over Meridian. He is part owner of the Regions Bank Tower.

An active industry and community leader, Maurer is involved in a host of organizations, including sitting on the boards of the United Way of Central Indiana, the Indianapolis Jewish Federation, the International Violin Competition of Indianapolis, Carmel’s Center for the Performing Arts and the St. Vincent Hospital Foundation. In 2010, Maurer received the L.L. Goodman Leadership Award, presented each year by the local Jewish community to two leaders under 45. He also was named to IBJ’s Forty under 40 and is a graduate of the Stanley K. Lacy Executive Leadership Series.

Maurer received his bachelor’s degree from the University of Texas and his law degree from Indiana University’s School of Law. In his free time, he enjoys exercising, snow-skiing and playing games with his family. He collects wine.

Michael McCarty

Michael E. McCarty, 53
Executive Vice President of Development Operations
Simon Property Group

Mike McCarty didn’t want to move cross-country midway through his senior year in high school, so when his parents left Sioux City, Iowa, he stayed behind. The teen got a job (with Sirloin Stockade), an apartment and a car. Sirloin Stockade recognized McCarty’s aptitude for management and promoted him. Four years later, when McCarty was in Nebraska, robbers murdered six Sirloin Stockade employees in Oklahoma. Stunned by the event, the young man decided to change course. He quit his job and walked across the street to apply for a job at the local mall, owned by Indianapolis-based Simon Property Group. The only open position was in maintenance, so McCarty took it. He cleaned restrooms, repaired the roof and learned everything he could about the mall business. Like Stockade, Simon saw McCarty’s potential. The company put him in training and moved him around the country and up in the company, now the largest publicly traded U.S. real estate company.

In 1984, McCarty moved to Simon’s Indianapolis headquarters to take a job in leasing. In 1995, he was promoted to senior vice president of the community/lifestyle center division (open-air malls) and became its president in 2000. Promoted to executive vice president of development operations in 2007, McCarty now has a shopping bag full of responsibilities, including the execution of all development programs within the regional mall platform. McCarty oversees mall development, market research, public finance, design, engineering, construction, big-box development and peripheral development. He also serves as the principal corporate liaison for several national retailers.

McCarty is a former trustee for the International Council of Shopping Centers, a former member of the ICSC executive committee, as well as a former Indiana ICSC state director. He serves on the board of the Simon Youth Foundation and is active in Resurrection Lutheran Church.

Tom McGowan

Thomas McGowan, 46
President and Chief Operating Officer
Kite Realty Group Trust

As an executive of Indianapolis-based Kite Realty Group, a publicly traded real estate investment trust, Thomas McGowan is responsible for operational and organizational functions of the company. Kite has amassed more than $1 billion in assets and is active in 10 states across the country. Prior to Kite Realty Group’s initial public offering in 2004, McGowan was executive vice president and one of four partners of Kite Cos., a position he’d held since 1994. McGowan worked with Mansur Development Corp. before joining Kite. Along with Al and John Kite, he owns the Conrad Hotel. He is proud of his contributions to downtown Indianapolis—about $350 million in developments, including the downtown Marriott and 30 South Meridian (the former L.S. Ayres building).

A lifelong Indianapolis resident, McGowan graduated from Brebeuf Jesuit Preparatory School and Indiana University. He joined Mansur immediately following graduation and says, “I was fortunate to have exposure to numerous large downtown developments like the Omni Severin Hotel and WellPoint’s headquarters building on Monument Circle.”

McGowan is the 2011 chairman of the 500 Festival, a member of the advisory board for Milwaukee-based M&I Bank, a gubernatorial appointee to the Indiana Housing Community Development Authority and a Sagamore of the Wabash. He was selected for IBJ’s Forty under 40 in 2002 and he and his partners at Kite received IBJ’s Enterprise Award in 2001.

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. 


John Merrill

John Merrill, 48
Managing Director
CB Richard Ellis

In his position with CB Richard Ellis’s Indianapolis office, John Merrill directs more than 35 real estate professionals and is active in new business development, property management, brokerage, appraisal and investment services. Merrill joined CBRE in 1996 and founded the firm’s Indianapolis Commercial Investment Properties Group. Since then, he has negotiated more than $2.5 billion in sales in the Midwest.

Merrill was named the Building Owners and Managers Association Broker of the Year in 2003, the last year the award was presented, and Top 5 Broker for CBRE’s Indianapolis office in 2001 and 2003-2006, among other professional awards. He currently serves on the BOMA board.

Before joining CBRE, Merrill was with Indianapolis-based Duke Realty Corp. for nine years. From 1988 through 1993, he was responsible for the performance of Duke’s 2 million-square-foot portfolio of industrial, office and retail properties. In late 1993, he was appointed director of financial underwriting for the company. Before launching his real estate career, he was a certified public accountant for the Indianapolis office of New York-based PricewaterhouseCoopers.

Beyond his professional work, Merrill is involved with a variety of philanthropies. He serves on the board of the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, where, for the past two years, he has been involved in fundraising. Merrill has run three mini-marathons on behalf of LLS’s Team in Training. He’s been a member of the board of managers of the Baxter YMCA since 1987.

Tad Miller

Tadd M. Miller, 33
CEO and Co-founder
Milhaus Development LLC

Tadd Miller launch-ed his real estate career while he was in college—not insignificantly, the College of Architecture and Planning at Ball State University. Miller acquired and redeveloped more than 40 properties, in addition to building and remodeling churches, office buildings and homes throughout Madison, Marion and Delaware counties. While in school, he became intrigued by redevelopment projects like Circle Centre mall in Indianapolis and new, mixed-use developments such as Easton Town Centre in Columbus, Ohio. He spent weekends trying to understand how these projects were developed, built and financed. Before finishing college, he completed a business plan that would later improve the livability of the eastern edge of downtown Indianapolis.

Miller is especially proud of the way his company, Indianapolis-based Milhaus Development LLC and its predecessors, in partnership with Kosene Residential, breathed new life into old industrial blocks downtown by building residential buildings, such as the Packard, the Clevelander Condominiums, the Hudson and the DeSoto Townhomes. The company also has developed more than 1,200 units in Florida.

In June Milhaus plans to start construction of the $20 million, 193-unit Penn Circle apartments in Carmel with Gershman Brown Crowley, based in Indianapolis.

Milhaus is working with the city of Indianapolis on a plan to redevelop the former Bank One Operations Center at East and Washington streets. Milhaus also is working on projects in Texas, Tennessee, New York and New Jersey. Beyond real estate, Miller is co-founder of Indianapolis-based Wellfount Pharaceuticals, an institutional pharmacy for facilities, such as day homes, nursing homes and jails, throughout the Midwest and Southwest.

While growing his business, Miller completed his MBA at Indiana Wesleyan University in 2002 and then obtained his law degree from Indiana University in 2006. He is involved with the Urban Land Institute, a not-for-profit focused on sustainable development, and the International Council of Shopping Centers. In 2007, Junior Achievement named him Indy’s Best and Brightest in real estate. He is an instrument-rated pilot and, in his free time, enjoys traveling with his wife, Julie, and 2-year-old son, Ethan.

Denny Oklak

Dennis D. Oklak, 57
Chairman and CEO
Duke Realty Corp.

Dennis Oklak has spent 25 years at Indianapolis-based Duke Realty Corp. and has been sitting in the CEO’s chair for seven. He also heads the company’s executive committee, overseeing the direction of the company and its investment committee. Duke is one of the largest owners and developers of commercial property in the United States and is a New York Stock Exchange-listed company with more than $7.3 billion in assets.

For a little more than a year before becoming CEO, Oklak was president and chief operating officer of the company, which made him responsible for all real estate operations. From 1986, when he joined Duke, until then, he served in various roles, including executive vice president and chief administrative officer and vice president and treasurer. Before coming to Duke, Oklak spent nine years with Deloitte & Touche, a New York-based auditing and consulting firm. He is a certified public accountant and a member of the Indiana CPA Society.

Oklak is on the board of governors of the National Association of Real Estate Investment Trusts and chairman of the Sustainability Policy Advisory Committee of the Real Estate Roundtable. He is also on the board of the Central Indiana Corporate Partnership and sits on the Dean’s Executive Advisory Board of Ball State University’s Miller College of Business. Born in Mishawaka, Oklak graduated magna cum laude from Ball State University. He and his wife have two children and enjoy travel and Butler University basketball.

Jon Owens

Jon R. Owens, 53
Principal, Senior Vice President
Cassidy Turley

After graduating from Indiana Un-iversity in 1980, Jon Owens went to work for a contract-service publisher for chambers of commerce around the country. In 1983, that job led him to a position as manager of membership development with the Greater Indianapolis Chamber of Commerce. His perch at the chamber gave him a clear view of career opportunities in Indianapolis and, in 1988, he joined Indianapolis-based F.C. Tucker Commercial Real Estate Services as an office leasing agent, responsible for both the Gold Building and Merchants Plaza. He’s been with the company, now Cassidy Turley, ever since.

During his 23 years in the Indianapolis office market, Owens has been involved in more than 1,000 lease and sale transactions, representing owners and tenants, including such local clients as OneAmerica Financial Partners, Christel House International, Indiana University Health, Indiana Landmarks and the Indianapolis Airport Authority. In addition, Owens has represented a number of law firms in lease-extension and relocation assignments.

Owens has been active in the Society of Office and Industrial Realtors since 1995 and was Indiana-Kentucky Chapter president in 2006. He has served on many SIOR national committees. Owens is a lifetime member of Cassidy Turley’s George C. Charbonneau Leadership and Performance Award and a perennial President’s Club recipient for exceeding production goals.

Active in the community, Owens graduated from the Stanley K. Lacy Executive Leadership Series and is active in the Greater Indianapolis Chamber of Commerce’s Economic Development Council and Indianapolis Downtown Inc. He also serves on the board of Children’s Bureau Inc. He and his wife, Mary, have three daughters and a son.

Ersal Ozdemir

Ersal Ozdemir, 36
Chairman and CEO
Keystone Group

Originally from Turkey, Ersal Ozdemir learned con-struction from his own father. Building on what he learned, he founded Keystone Group, a commercial construction, real estate development and investment firm, in Indianapolis in 1997. Of the many projects the company has tackled, Ozdemir says he is especially proud of Sophia Square, a Carmel apartment and retail development; 3 Mass condominiums, a mixed-use project incorporating sustainable features, such as a green roof; Madison Plaza, a 1920 south-side industrial building, once blighted, and now redeveloped as office space; and the new Wishard Hospital, under construction between Michigan and 10th streets. Keystone is headquartered in the Majestic Building downtown, built in 1895 and completely renovated by the company in 2006.

Ozdemir holds a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering from Purdue University. He is also a graduate of the Stanley K. Lacy Executive Leadership Series. An inveterate volunteer, he serves as chairman of Children’s Bureau Inc. and Current Publishing. He also serves on the boards of the Palladium Center for Performing Arts Foundation, the Indiana Chamber of Commerce, the Greater Indianapolis Chamber of Commerce and the Greater Indianapolis Progress Committee. He is on the board of trustees of the Indiana Historical Society and the University of Indianapolis; the board of governors of the Indianapolis Museum of Art; and the board of advisors of Purdue University’s School of Civil Engineering. He’s co-founder and on the board of the American Turkish Association, and the list goes on.

Ozdemir enjoys the arts and supports them with his time. Some of his hobbies are traveling, spending time with family and friends and playing soccer and table tennis.

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. 


Mark Perlstein

Mark A. Perlstein, 57
Sitehawk Retail Real Estate

Mark Perlstein, who holds a degree in architecture from the University of Illinois, began his career in that field working for the Everitt I. Brown Co. He next joined the locally renowned firm of Evans Woollen and Associates which later became Woollen Molzan and Partners and recently closed, where he worked for three years before joining Indianapolis-based Robert Borns & Associates to oversee various aspects of residential and commercial developments.

In 1984, Perlstein decided to shift his career focus to real estate. A year later, he joined the Indianapolis-based Linder Co., where he became a partner in three years. In 2007, Perlstein and his partners purchased the company from Gary Linder and renamed it Sitehawk Retail Real Estate. Perlstein represents local and national retailers in site selection and lease negotiations in Indiana, and he represents landlords in securing retail tenants and restaurants. He has represented companies including Costco Wholesale, Trader Joe’s, Border’s Books and Starbucks as they entered the Indiana market.

An Indianapolis native, Perlstein is a member of the Indianapolis Hebrew Congregation, the International Council of Shopping Centers and ChainLinks Retail Advisors. He is an active volunteer for Meals on Wheels and ASPCA, an animal-protection group; he has coached for Carmel Dads’ Club. He enjoys basketball and is overall an inveterate sports fan. He and his wife, Sally, who live in Carmel, have two children, both in college.


Mike Petrie

Michael F. Petrie, 57
Chairman and CEO
P/R Bancorp

Those who have lived in Indianapolis long enough will remember the old Merchants Bank, its bright green logo and the Merchants frog. The name and look have re-emerged, thanks to Michael Petrie and his partner, Randy Rogers. Both alums of Merchants Bank, they purchased the name and logos. Petrie has made the Merchants name an integral part of his long-standing banking, mortgage and investment business.

Carmel-based P/R Bancorp, a bank holding company, owns Merchants Bank of Indiana, which in turn owns P/R Mortgage and Investment Corp. Petrie is involved in the entire company but, he says he spends most of his time involved in the mortgage corporation.

Petrie founded P/R Mortgage and Investment in 1990 with partner Rogers. (The two make up the P and the R in the name.) For the preceding 10 years, Petrie worked for Merchants Mortgage Corp., an organization specializing in the finance of multifamily rental housing, where he rose to the rank of executive vice president. In 1980, he was responsible for arranging the first Freddie Mac multifamily housing loan in Indiana.

Petrie is a 1979 graduate of the Indiana University School of Business, with a major in finance; he also holds an MBA from IU. He has been designated a certified mortgage banker and an accredited mortgage professional. Active in the housing industry, he has served on the boards of the Federal Home Loan Bank of Indianapolis, Merscorp Inc., Indianapolis Neighborhood Housing Partnership, Near North Development Corp. and Fannie Mae National Advisory Council, among others. In 2006, Petrie served as chairman of the Mortgage Bankers Association in Washington, D.C.

He has served on numerous civic and charitable boards, including the Archdiocese of Indianapolis Catholic Charities, the Coalition for Homelessness Intervention and Prevention and the Penrod Society, where he served as president. He is a graduate of the Stanley K. Lacy Executive Leadership Series and received the Mortgage Bankers Association’s Burton C. Wood Legislative Service Award, and the Sagamore of the Wabash.

Charlie Podell

Charles E. Podell, 56
Senior Vice President Indiana Operations
Duke Realty Corp.

As senior vice pres-ident of Indianapolis-based Duke Realty Corp.’s Indiana operations, Charlie Podell is responsible for all development, marketing and leasing activities in the state, comprising more than 29 million square feet of industrial and office properties. Sweeping the title and statistics aside, Podell is a team player, who attributes big results to, as he says, “a team of high-energy, results-driven leaders who consult our clients and provide creative real estate solutions.” He believes that his role is in motivating, training and developing the team. He received Duke Realty’s Industrial Team of the Year award in both 2008 and 2009.

Podell joined Duke Realty as an industrial leasing representative in 1989 after 12 years in sales and sales management in the logistics and transportation industry. In 1997, Duke named him assistant vice president, and he became vice president of leasing for the Indiana industrial team in 2001. He was named to his current position in 2009. Some notable transactions under his leadership include the Amazon space at Anson, near Zionsville; Medco Health Solutions, also at Anson; CNG in the Lebanon Business Park; and PDS at AllPoints Midwest in Plainfield.

Born in South Bend and a graduate of Indiana University, Podell is actively involved in the community. He is on the Economic Growth Council of the Greater Indianapolis Chamber of Commerce and a board member of both the Arthur Jordan YMCA and the YMCA of Greater Indianapolis. He chaired the 2010 Strong Kids Campaign, a YWCA program that funds activities, membership and camps for kids who couldn’t otherwise afford it. He and his wife, Jane, have two children. He enjoys playing golf and racquetball and traveling with his family.

John Robinson

John Robinson, 43
Executive Vice President
Jones Lang LaSalle

John Robinson in 1993 co-founded with Ben Evans a boutique commercial real estate firm, Meridian Real Estate. The Indianapolis company went gangbusters, claiming plum transactions such as 80 projects completed for Indianapolis-based Guidant Corp. before Massachusetts-based Boston Scientific acquired it. In 2008, Robinson stepped aside, believing “my time and partnership there had run its course, and I was ready for a new challenge.” That opportunity appeared immediately. Dan O’Neil, today his co-manager, was moving from California to Indianapolis to open the local Jones Lang LaSalle office. The financial and professional services firm specializes in real estate and has clients in 60 countries and 750 offices across the globe. It has more than $41 billion in assets under management. Chicago-based JLL saw Robinson as an ideal partner, someone with rich knowledge of the local market.

Robinson heads the office’s investor service practice group, a team of market experts that focuses solely on owner representation. He represents two high-profile local properties: the Chase Tower and Keystone at the Crossing, a five-building office park. He also represents Pedcor Cos. in Carmel and the city of Carmel, as well as North Carolina-based Bank of America, Philadelphia-based BPG Properties, Australia-based Charter Hall Office REIT and Illinois-based Inland American Office Trust.

Robinson was once an IBJ Forty under 40 honoree. Beyond his real estate career, he has worked with Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central Indiana and the Penrod Society. An Indianapolis native, he is the married father of three teenagers and spends his free time with them. When he was at Indiana University, he participated in the Little 500 bike race and is revving up for the 2012 Ironman Triathlon, which will be his third.

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. 


David E. Simon, 49
Chairman and CEO
Simon Property Group

David Simon com-mands the largest U.S. publicly traded real estate company in the country, with total market capitalization of approximately $60 billion as of Jan. 31. Famous for its shopping centers and malls, the company currently owns or has interest in 390 properties in North America, Europe and Asia, including such area shopping centers as the Fashion Mall, Greenwood Park Mall, Castleton Square Mall and Clay Terrace.

Simon could surely have sailed into the company’s executive offices right out of college, but he headed first to New York, where he was a vice president of Wasserstein Perella and Co., a Wall Street firm specializing in mergers and acquisitions and leveraged buyouts. He returned to Indiana and joined the family company in 1990. In 1993, he led Simon Property Group’s $1 billion initial public offering, which, at the time, was the largest real estate stock offering ever. Simon became CEO of the company in 1995.

Since taking the helm, he has orchestrated more than $25 billion in acquisitions that, together with ground-up development, have allowed the company to assemble a portfolio of top-tier shopping centers.

Simon is a member and former chairman of the National Association of Real Estate Investment Trusts’ board of governors and a former trustee of the International Council of Shopping Centers. In 2000 he was inducted into Indiana University’s Kelley School of Business Academy of Alumni Fellows. In 2010 Harvard Business Review included him in its list of the 100 Best-Performing CEOs in the World. In January, Institutional Investor magazine recognized Simon in its annual All-American Executive Team issue.

Simon holds a bachelor’s degree from Indiana University and an MBA from Columbia University’s Graduate School of Business.

Sam Smith

Samuel F. Smith II, 50
CEO and Principal Indiana Region
Colliers International

During his nearly 30 years in real estate, Samuel Smith has racked up more than 25 million square feet of sales and leases, exceeding $2.5 billion in value, in more than 2,500 projects. He specializes in representing large tenants and buyers and is also the Colliers Education Service Group global managing director. In the latter capacity, he can count to his credit more than 80 school projects, totaling more than 2 million square feet, including ITT Educational Services Inc. in Carmel and Wiley Inc. in New Jersey

Smith landed in real estate because of a summer internship. He jokes, “I didn’t know any better,” but he has certainly made good of his choice. Smith has amassed a number of awards, including being named power broker many times by CoStar, a Washington, D.C-based real estate industry group, and top-producer awards by the real estate companies he has been affiliated with during his career: Los Angeles-based CB Richard Ellis; Carmel-based Meridian Real Estate and Indianapolis-based Duke Realty Corp. Smith was one of six founders of Resource Commercial Real Estate in 2005. In 2010, that company joined the Colliers International family. Smith explains: “Colliers is one of the top brands in the world and joining them allowed us a real opportunity to dramatically increase services to our clients locally and around the globe.”

Smith’s dad was in the U.S. Air Force, so the family moved often when he was a child, but they settled in Kokomo in 1970. From then on, Indiana felt like home to Smith. He is on the steering committee of the Make-A-Wish Foundation and belongs to the Penrod Society, Indiana University Alumni Association and Northview Christian Church. He is a Life Loyal member of Sigma Chi Fraternity.

Bill Taft

William G. Taft, 47
Indianapolis Executive Director
Local Initiatives Support Corp.

William Taft came to real estate development through the door of historic preservation, armed with a master’s degree from Ball State University’s College of Architecture and Planning. At first, Taft explains, he was interested in rehabbing buildings. He then moved on to larger projects—whole neighborhoods. He says, “I realized that the path to neighborhood revitalization was through both residential and commercial real estate.” He adds that the real estate skill set needed to help not-for-profits is similar to that of for-profits.

Taft has headed the local office of New York-based Local Initiatives Support Corp. since 2005. LISC has invested more than $100 million in projects developed by neighborhood-based community development corporations and other not-for-profits. These investments in comprehensive community development include affordable housing, small businesses, community facilities, charter schools, commercial corridor revitalization and green spaces. Developed through the Great Indy Neighborhoods Initiative, LISC’s efforts include the Near East Super Bowl Legacy Initiative.

Previously, from 1991 through 2005, Taft was president of Southeast Neighborhood Development Inc. Under his leadership, SEND invested more than $30 million into revitalizing Greater Fountain Square, including renovating more than 150 affordable apartments and helping 30 neighborhood businesses to expand. Before SEND, he served as executive director of Main Street Richmond in the eastern part of the state. He has also worked with the Pennsylvania Avenue Development Corp. in Washington, D.C., the office of Sen. Richard Lugar, R-Indiana, and for the Historic American Buildings Survey.

Taft is a director of the Institute for Comprehensive Community Development, the Indianapolis Private Industry Council, the Super Bowl Legacy Leadership Committee, the Coalition for Homelessness Intervention and Prevention, the Southeast Neighborhood School of Excellence, the Indianapolis Housing Trust Fund and Redeemer Presbyterian Church.

He and his wife, Joanna, and their three children live downtown in a home they have been renovating since they bought it in 1991.


George H. Tikijian III, 49
Tikijian Associates—Multihousing Investment Advisors

George Tikijian dove into real estate in 1984 right after he graduated from Indiana University with a degree in finance. He debated between careers in banking and real estate. He decided on real estate because, “Real estate has a little greater risk but there is also an opportunity for greater rewards.” He started at the local office of Los Angeles-based CB Richard Ellis, the nation’s largest real estate service company and worked his way up, becoming one of the company’s top-performing multihousing specialists. He earned his Certified Commercial Investment Member designation in 1988. He was senior vice president of CBRE in 2005 when he left to form his own company.

Tikijian Associates is an Indianapolis-based broker and adviser to apartment owners, investors and managers. During his career, Tikijian has been involved in the sale of more than 240 apartment communities totaling in excess of 55,000 units with a total value of more than $1.8 billion.

Tikijian has served on the board of the Indiana Apartment Association for the past 18 years and has held several offices. He has been actively involved in IAA research, lobbying and governance. He is the 2006 recipient of the Joe Rhodes Memorial Award for Outstanding Contributions to the Apartment Industry and the 2003 recipient of the Donald J. Williams Volunteer of the Year Award, presented by the IAA. Tikijian Associates is a contractor and advisor to the Indiana Housing and Community Development Authority.

Tikijian volunteers as an advisor to the Local Initiatives Support Corp. and sits on the boards of the Indianapolis Housing Trust Fund, PNC Bank Community Development Advisory Board and Indiana University Kelley School of Business Board of Visitors. He, his wife and three children live in Zionsville.

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. 

Steve Van Soelen

Stephen L. Van Soelen, 45
Director, Strategic Real Estate and Facilities Planning
Eli Lilly and Co.

Influenced by his father’s real estate career with a developer-owner-manager in Des Moines, Iowa, Steve Van Soelen pursued real estate jobs after college. “I secured my first job by hitting the streets and cold calling,” he says. JMB Properties Co. in Chicago opened the door to Van Soelen, and the company sent him to Indianapolis on his first assignment, where he helped with management of One Indiana Square. From JMB he went to Indianapolis-based Browning Investments as an asset manager and Indianapolis-based Freihofer Commercial Real Estate as a commercial broker. Before joining Indianapolis-based Eli Lilly and Co., about eight years ago, he was vice president and in-house counsel for Indianapolis-based Estridge Development Co.

Van Soelen and his team at Lilly are responsible for managing global real estate transactions, as well as for providing site and facility planning support to the various Lilly business units and sites. The portfolio consists of approximately 25 million square feet across 76 countries. Locally, he has worked on the Elanco Headquarters site in Greenfield, the massive North of South project and the relocation of Faris Campus personnel to Lilly Corporate Center, among other projects.

Van Soelen earned his bachelor’s in finance from the University of Iowa in 1988. While working full time, he squeezed in law school at Indiana University School of Law in Indianapolis, graduating in 1995. He had considered MBA programs but felt that “law school would be more beneficial in the long term.” He is a member of CORENET, a real estate organization that promotes benchmarking, best practices and networking. He has served on the boards of the Building Owners and Managers Association, Pleasant Run Children’s Home and the Riviera Club. He is active in coaching his children’s sports teams.

Zeff Weiss

Zeff A. Weiss, 54
Ice Miller LLP

Zeff Weiss is the chairman of Indianapolis-based Ice Miller’s Real Estate Practice Group. Since joining the firm in 1983, after a short stint as a certified public accountant, Weiss has focused his practice in real estate development, finance and tax. Weiss’s most recent projects have included representation of the Indiana Convention and Building Authority in regard to the development of Lucas Oil Stadium and the North of South developer on the $140 million mixed-use development that will link the campus of Eli Lilly and Co. to downtown. His practice also includes matters relating to eminent domain, representing both landowners and condemning authorities throughout the state. Weiss is a frequent speaker for the Indiana Continuing Legal Education Forum and has presented the annual Indiana Real Estate Case Law Update for several years.

Weiss received both his bachelor’s and law degrees from Indiana University. His wife, Zoe, is a practicing attorney, and together they have four children, three of whom are currently students at Indiana University. Weiss is a member of the American College of Real Estate Lawyers and has been recognized by the Best Lawyers of America, having been named the 2010 Indianapolis Real Estate Lawyer of the Year. He is active in civic matters and is currently a member of the board of the Indianapolis-Marion County Public Library Foundation and is the campaign chairman for the Jewish Federation of Greater Indianapolis. He enjoys all sports and traveling with his family.

Michael Wells

Michael W. Wells, 58
REI Investments Inc.

REI Investments Inc.’s newest high profile local project is the JW Marriott, which opened in February. The Carmel company, led by Mike Wells, has been involved in Circle Centre mall, the WellPoint Operations Center, Emmis Communications’ headquarters and the Indianapolis Marriott Hotel, all in downtown Indianapolis. The company has a number of hotels and multifamily projects under development in Indianapolis, Louisville, and Austin, Texas.

In addition to his development work, Wells manages the portfolio of real estate owned by the REI Real Estate Partnership. These investments, totaling more than 950,000 square feet in the Indianapolis area alone, include 300 North Meridian downtown, several parking garages and suburban office buildings. REI currently has more than $200 million in ongoing development projects.

Wells joined REI 21 years ago and became president in 1994. Before joining REI, he was a practicing attorney, specializing in real estate and tax-exempt financing. He is a magna cum laude graduate of the Indiana University School of Law—Indianapolis and holds a bachelor’s degree from Purdue University.

Wells sits on the boards of directors of the Building Owners and Managers Association, the Benjamin Harrison President Site and the YMCA of Greater Indianapolis. He is immediate past chairman of both the Indianapolis Zoo and the Crossroads of America Council of the Boy Scouts of America. He was co-chairman of the Jazz Fellowship Awards held in April and has been involved in the Indiana Chamber of Commerce. He is a graduate of the Stanley K. Lacy Executive Leadership Series.

Darell Zink

Darrell E. “Gene” Zink, Jr., 64
Chairman and CEO
Strategic Capital Partners LLC

Gene Zink leads Strategic Capital Partners, an Indianapolis real estate investment trust with approximately $1 billion in managed assets, and a holistic urban redevelopment company with approximately $150 million of current projects in various phases of development. Since Zink and Richard Hurd founded the company in 2005, it has opened offices in Chicago and New York.

In addition to his position with Strategic Capital, Zink is a director and member of the audit committee of HHGregg and a director and member of the audit committee of Kite Realty Group. He is part owner and a director of Midwest Ready Mix. He is past chairman, director and a current member of the executive committee of the Greater Indianapolis Chamber of Commerce and past president of the Park Tudor School Board Trust, the Park Tudor Foundation, the CICOA Foundation and the Pleasant Run Foundation. Zink is a co-founder, past board president and current board member of the Challenge Foundation Academy, an inner-city charter school, which has been recognized both nationally and by the state for its education efforts.

Before founding Strategic Capital, Zink spent 26 years with Indianapolis-based Duke Realty Corp. He was a general partner in the private predecessor to Duke and took Duke public in 1993, after which he served as chief financial officer, executive vice president and vice chairman. Before joining Duke, he was a partner in the Indianapolis law firm of Bose McKinney and Evans; prior to that he was a captain in the U.S. Air Force.

Zink holds a bachelor’s degree from Vanderbilt University, an MBA from the University of Hawaii and a law degree from Indiana University School of Law.•


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  1. to mention the rest of Molly's experience- she served as Communications Director for the Indianapolis Department of Public Works and also did communications for the state. She's incredibly qualified for this role and has a real love for Indianapolis and Indiana. Best of luck to her!

  2. Shall we not demand the same scrutiny for law schools, med schools, heaven forbid, business schools, etc.? How many law school grads are servers? How many business start ups fail and how many business grads get low paying jobs because there are so few high paying positions available? Why does our legislature continue to demean public schools and give taxpayer dollars to charters and private schools, ($171 million last year), rather than investing in our community schools? We are on a course of disaster regarding our public school attitudes unless we change our thinking in a short time.

  3. I agree with the other reader's comment about the chunky tomato soup. I found myself wanting a breadstick to dip into it. It tasted more like a marinara sauce; I couldn't eat it as a soup. In general, I liked the place... but doubt that I'll frequent it once the novelty wears off.

  4. The Indiana toll road used to have some of the cleanest bathrooms you could find on the road. After the lease they went downhill quickly. While not the grossest you'll see, they hover a bit below average. Am not sure if this is indicative of the entire deal or merely a portion of it. But the goals of anyone taking over the lease will always be at odds. The fewer repairs they make, the more money they earn since they have a virtual monopoly on travel from Cleveland to Chicago. So they only comply to satisfy the rules. It's hard to hand public works over to private enterprise. The incentives are misaligned. In true competition, you'd have multiple roads, each build by different companies motivated to make theirs more attractive. Working to attract customers is very different than working to maximize profit on people who have no choice but to choose your road. Of course, we all know two roads would be even more ridiculous.

  5. The State is in a perfect position. The consortium overpaid for leasing the toll road. Good for the State. The money they paid is being used across the State to upgrade roads and bridges and employ people at at time most of the country is scrambling to fund basic repairs. Good for the State. Indiana taxpayers are no longer subsidizing the toll roads to the tune of millions a year as we had for the last 20 years because the legislature did not have the guts to raise tolls. Good for the State. If the consortium fails, they either find another operator, acceptable to the State, to buy them out or the road gets turned back over to the State and we keep the Billions. Good for the State. Pat Bauer is no longer the Majority or Minority Leader of the House. Good for the State. Anyway you look at this, the State received billions of dollars for an assett the taxpayers were subsidizing, the State does not have to pay to maintain the road for 70 years. I am having trouble seeing the downside.