Managing Director Capital Markets
“We are able to operate at a high level with a small team because our principals are involved on every deal. We use technology to automate tasks that allow us to focus more time on the personal relationships we develop with our clients.”
Commercial real estate is all too often a reputational-based industry where brokers tout their well-established company names as a means to open doorways and close deals. Brad Cohen, Managing Director of Capital Markets at Transwestern in Denver, strives to operate at the other end of the spectrum, focusing more on the entrepreneurial side of commercial real estate. When asked about one of the greatest challenges he has had to overcome in the commercial real estate market, he commented, “My team and I weren’t able to inherit a reputation or business platform. We had to build a business line and map out our own reputation.”
The chance to work in an entrepreneurial environment is what actually influenced Brad’s decision to join Transwestern, when he first entered the commercial real estate industry back in 2002. After an initial run for six months as a tenant representative, he ventured into investment sales. He then teamed with senior brokers and managed what he deemed a “grassroots campaign” after the market crash in mid-2008, with a focus on special servicers (bond holders of CMBS – commercial mortgage-backed securities) to pick up momentum through the market crash. He reminds more junior brokers that, “The most important time in this business is during a downturn. That’s when you ramp up and work hard to lay the foundation for future business.”
Brad denotes the turning point in his career, as when soon after the market crash, he teamed with Larry Thiel to focus more on investment sales. He commented, “You have to work in teams in this business in order to be successful.” Brad continues to carry the flame of an entrepreneurial spirit in what he describes as a “small, but dynamic team”, where he and Larry have different skill sets and are supported by a productive financial analyst. Their current focus is on the $15 million and larger office deals and $8 million and larger retail projects. Brad emphasizes that, “We are able to operate at a high level with a small team because our principals are involved on every deal. We use technology to automate tasks that allow us to focus more time on the personal relationships we develop with our clients.”
When asked about what advice he would give emerging brokers in the commercial real estate industry, Brad encourages figuring out one’s niche market, focusing on teams and partnerships, and seeking out mentorship. Bill Lawrence, Senior Vice President, Asset Management at Transwestern, has served as Brad’s mentor, but he notes that this mentorship was not institutionally established. “I was pro-active in this mentorship and asked Bill tons of question,” admits Brad.
A surprising fact about Brad includes, that in his spare time, he hosts band practice at his home once a week for a rock band he plays in as the drummer. The electronic drum-set has ample volume control, so as not to disturb his wife and two daughters, aged 11 and 8. Brad is a third-generation Colorado native and grew up in the Littleton area.