Mile High Climber: Rob Bain, Director at Cushman & Wakefield

Mile High CRE is excited to announce that June’s Mile High Climber is Rob Bain, director at Cushman & Wakefield. Mile High Climbers are industry professionals who are new to their field or are in the early years of the profession. They innovate, inspire, collaborate, and take risks. They are future leaders and change makers. And they all have one thing in common: they deserve to be celebrated.

Rob exclusively specializes in downtown Denver tenant representation, assisting clients to identify and align strategic business, financial and operational objectives with real estate requirements. His wide breadth of services includes strategy development, portfolio management, lease negotiations, market analysis, workplace strategy development, demographic analysis, build-to-suit planning and cost of occupancy analysis.

Equipping his clients with superior information and expert guidance, Mr. Bain received Cushman & Wakefield’s prestigious “Rookie of the Year” award.

1. How did you start your career in the AEC/CRE industry?

Following my junior year at Davidson College, I accepted a summer internship with Cushman & Wakefield’s San Francisco office. I was extremely fortunate to work alongside various industry leaders and extremely patient, thoughtful mentors (particularly JD Lumpkin). After three months of asking thousands of questions, shadowing other brokers, and (somewhat) learning the business, I knew this was a career path I wanted to pursue.

2. How many years have you been in the industry?

I started my career with Cushman & Wakefield’s Denver office in August 2015, so it will be six years this summer.

3. What have been some of your favorite/proudest projects or career accomplishments?

Working alongside my team to negotiate VF Corporation’s HQ relocation from Greensboro, NC to Denver in early 2018 is undoubtedly my proudest accomplishment to date. It was certainly a team effort, led primarily by Steve Billigmeier & Todd Wheeler, consisting of a short timeline and multiple moving pieces that ultimately led to one of the largest HQ relocations in Colorado history. The transaction involved an extensive site selection process and lengthy negotiations with various landlords, developers, etc., which provided exposure to multiple facets of the business. From start to finish, the experience was very eye opening and illustrated the level of attention and detail needed to finalize such a large scale transaction on behalf of an important client.

4. What have been some of the biggest challenges in your career and how did you overcome them?

Given my naturally impatient and stubborn personality, the first few years in the business were extremely challenging with the amount of time needed to learn the market and understand the intricacies of the business. That said, surrounding myself with an extremely supportive team expedited my learning curve and allowed me the opportunity to learn from the best in the business. There will certainly be additional challenges in the years ahead; however, I truly believe working with a cohesive, likeminded team is instrumental to successfully navigating these problems.

5. What advice do you have for an emerging AEC/CRE professional?

Similar to the advice I received during my summer in San Francisco, I encourage any emerging CRE professional to meet with as many industry related contacts as possible. Regardless if the conversation appears unimportant at the time, I’ll often reflect back to advice received five+ years ago, ranging from negotiation tactics to business development strategies, that impacts the way I approach a particular challenge today. Throughout my internship, I met with 30+ professionals including brokers, architects, and landlords in attempt to better understand the industry and ensure it was a career I wanted to further explore. Additionally, I recommend any young professional evaluating job opportunities to take their time when making a decision, perform the necessary due diligence, and ensure the potential firm is willing to invest adequate time and resources into their overall career development.

6. What are some of your goals for the future?

From a professional perspective, I look forward to furthering my development in all aspects of the business. While I’m now approaching my 6th year in the business, I still find myself learning on a daily basis and believe that’s vital to becoming a well-rounded broker. I also intend to get further entrenched in the local community through local non-profits and other charitable organizations that directly impact the City of Denver. Business aside, I recognize and appreciate the importance of allocating time to charitable efforts and this is certainly a top priority of mine in the coming years.

7. What trade associations or non-profits have you actively been involved with throughout your career?

I was fortunate to participate in the 2019 Downtown Denver Partnership’s Leadership Program, which focused on improving the city by implementing the Urban Forest Initiative. This program specifically worked to increase downtown Denver’s tree canopy from 4% to 10% in attempt to improve air quality and overall aesthetics of downtown Denver. This was a phenomenal program and I strongly encourage all emerging CRE professionals to apply given the direct impact to the City of Denver.

As it relates to non-profit participation, I’ve recently joined the Advisory Board for Dream-On-3. Based in Charlotte, NC, Dream-On-3 allows children with life-altering conditions to meet their favorite athletes, attend sporting events, and provides unforgettable sports-related experiences for children of all ages. Dream-On-3’s recent expansion to the Denver metro area is extremely exciting given the broader community’s generosity and willingness to participate. As noted by the large turnout for last year’s first annual Dream Gala Watch Party, the Denver community has already embraced Dream-On-3 with open arms and I fully expect the momentum to continue in the coming years. This expansion effort will not only enhance DO3’s Rocky Mountain presence, but will elevate their mission on a national level as well, which will allow us to assist more kids across the country. If anyone would like to know more about the organization or potentially become involved with Dream-On-3, please feel free to reach out directly.


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