Bill Ehret, who co-founded the largest commercial real estate brokerage in Indianapolis, has left the company to open a local office for global firm Avison Young Inc.
Toronto-based Avison Young said Thursday that Ehret, 55, had left Cushman & Wakefield-Summit to become a principal in Avison Young and managing director of its new office, effective immediately.
Avison Young bills itself as the world’s fastest-growing commercial real estate services firm. The Indianapolis branch, to be in downtown's BMO Plaza, will be the firm's 45th office in the United States. Avison Young has taken over building leasing duties from Summit, which will continue to manage the property.
The company said it has grown from 11 offices with 300 employees in 2009 to 65 offices in North America and Europe with 1,700 employees. It often hires a top local industry player to launch new offices.
“The new Indianapolis office marks another milestone in Avison Young’s aggressive global expansion program, and further strengthens our growth efforts in the U.S. Midwest, which is a highly dynamic and strategic commercial real estate market,” Avison Young CEO Mark Rose said in a written statement.
Ehret co-founded Summit Realty Group (now Cushman & Wakefield-Summit) in 1993 with Tom Abernathy, Tom Frank and Pete Quinn. He spent 14 years as president and CEO of the brokerage before relinquishing his leadership role in February 2014 as part of a succession plan to groom younger leaders. He remained a partner in the firm.
Ehret spearheaded Summit’s decision to join the Cushman & Wakefield Alliance in 2002 and led the launch of the firm's property management division in 2009.
Cushman & Wakefield-Summit is the area's largest commercial real estate brokerage, with 35 active brokers, according to IBJ's most recent research.
“Sometimes you just realize it’s time,” Ehret told IBJ when explaining the reason for his departure. “Summit’s a great company; I’m very proud of it. I look at it as a young adult. They’re doing what they need to do. My skills are in building and mentoring, and Avison Young gave me the opportunity to do that again.”
Joining Ehret at Avison Young as senior associate will be Nancy Gibbs. She was most recently a client coordinator at Cushman & Wakefield/Summit. Ehret said he will continue to add employees but declined to reveal his headcount goals.
Ehret is expected to work closely with Avison Young principals in the Midwest, including Jim Becker in Michigan and Ohio, the company said.
“Bill’s energy and passion for the industry will be a natural magnet for Indianapolis’ top real estate talent, allowing Avison Young to quickly and effectively serve existing clients and develop new client relationships in a top-tier business environment," Becker said in a written statement.