- By Billy Fink
- November 11, 2015
We at Hightower put a lot of focus on hiring the right people. The Humans of Hightower series highlights some of these people. Up today: Justin Sharp, sales executive and a former Associate Vice President at Cushman & Wakefield.
How did you first get involved with CRE?
I sort of fell into CRE, and am glad I did. I was an environmental economics major at UC Berkeley, which is equivalent to ‘hippie who likes finance.’ I spent my summers teaching economics, but when it was time to graduate I didn’t have any ‘work’ experience, so I took an unpaid internship at a company called Cassidy Turley (now Cushman & Wakefield). I immediately fell in love with investment sales brokerage - I was always good with both finance and building relationships, so investment sales was an exciting transition as I learned to communicate real estate value and build meaningful relationships within the industry.
I spent nearly 6 years there and joined Hightower in October, which I am thrilled about.
Walk us through your day-to-day at Cassidy Turley/DTZ
I had a lot of different responsibilities - I started as an Analyst and finished as Associate Vice President. For most of my career, if I wasn’t on the phone or at a meeting/conference, I basically lived in Argus and Excel. I logged thousands of hours just making new iterations of an Argus run and converting it to Excel and formatting that, or creating new versions of Excel reports to track prospects or market data, because an automated system didn’t exist.
I definitely experienced, on a daily basis, the pain points that Hightower is trying to solve, and I’m excited to leverage my experience to help transform the way CRE professionals do work.
Any cool stories from your time in CRE?
My first year in the industry my boss let me have his invitation to Vornado’s christmas party in San Francisco. Vernon Davis (49ers) and Natasha Bedingfield (singer) were the celebrity guests. At one point in the evening, I managed to convince them to take an epic Christmas card photo with me. They thought it was hilarious and I got a great photo out of it. The rest of the night people thought I was much more important than I was. I didn’t correct them.
How about your decision to move from CRE to CRETech?
I wanted to stay in the real estate sphere, but was ready to gain exposure to a new and exciting aspect of the industry and be able to problem-solve in a new way. Hightower represented to me an energetic, mission-driven company in a unique position to truly transform the way landlords and brokers manage their portfolios and workflow. As a CRE professional, I knew immediately that this technology will disrupt the industry forever and for the better, and I wanted to be a part of that paradigm shift. I was lucky enough to be connected to Brandon through a friend.
How's the transition from SF to NYC been?
I was born and raised in the San Francisco Bay Area, and before moving to New York had never lived anywhere else. I’m definitely a Bay Area kid through-and-through and was worried about the transition at first, but New York is a world-class place and has an incredible amount of energy in a way that is intoxicating, you just really want to be a part of it. So I’ve really enjoyed my time here so far and look forward to continuing to explore all NY has to offer. Now I just need warmer clothes…