The Office Market Arborist

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jbr david falk 02 The Office Market Arborist The Commercial Observer: You’re the president. How’s it feel?
Mr. Falk: It’s really been a lot of fun. I think both internally and externally. Internally, I think people were excited. Someone like myself, who was a broker and started out in the bullpen, is going to be involved in making decisions and leading where the company is going—because I, like them, want certain things, and that’s to have someone who knows what a broker wants and what environment they want.

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How do you balance your position as a broker with responsibilities as a president?
My position is a hybrid. It is. We’re not a big public company so the difference is I am not an administrator sitting in my office managing the brokers. I have my own team of a terrific group totaling, including myself, seven people. And I think we have a very, very strong, effective team. The way I manage that team, we’re trying to export that out to the whole firm, where it’s very cohesive and special.

You have a relatively small team. Does that work for you?

Some people think three people is a lot. I wanted a balance. I didn’t want to have a team that has so many people, there’s no close relationship. Everyone on my team I would choose to be personal friends with. I couldn’t have someone on my team who didn’t want to play in the same sandbox. We work really hard and we play hard together. So seven is the right number because if it gets a little bigger, than I’m spending less time with certain people—and that’s not what anyone wants.

Are you seeking to expand personnel-wise in New York?
One of my strengths in the brokerage business is that I know a lot of people. I happen to have personal relationships, because in our business, all you have is your reputation. That’s all there is. And I’ve always treated brokers with respect. First of all, you have to sleep at night, but it also helps get deals done. So over the many years I’ve been in the business, I’ve developed really good, strong relationships. So when this happened, all the sudden I was getting so many phone calls from people saying, ‘Now that you’re involved in this, I’d love to talk to you about Newmark.’ So right now we’re talking to, I would say, at least 10 people that we are negotiating agreements with to come over here. And these are people who would be really good fits in the company. And what I do learn, by the way, is I’m hearing a lot about the sagas that are going on in the other firms. It’s interesting, but it’s not surprising.

So there’s going to be some poaching?
There’s always poaching. It’s very hard to have someone leave another firm. You know, you think about it. I really believe that when someone is making a lot of money at a firm, obviously it’s hard for them to leave, because they’re entrenched. So I really believe that the only reason they leave is ego and emotion. Brokers have big egos, and either they don’t feel they get any internal respect, or they feel slighted, or there was a compensation issue on a deal, [and] they leave. But if they’re doing well and they’re happy, it’s very difficult. I mean, what are you going to say: ‘Come over here; We’re nice guys’? I mean, it doesn’t work that way.