Ken-Stephens-web-readyKen Stephens is the Managing Principal for Corporate Property Dispositions.  He has been working in the Commercial Real Estate Industry for 34 years.  We will get a chance to learn more about him through these 10 questions.

How did you get into Commercial Real Estate?

I learned Coldwell Banker (now CBRE) was opening an office in Tampa. After interviewing and testing, I joined as a retail property specialist.

Do you focus on one aspect/industry of Commercial Real Estate?

Retail property and retail tenant representation.

Can you tell us a bit more about your experience prior to joining CPD?

In 2011, I established the affiliate company to CPD, Retail Property Advisors, prior to that I was a partner at Capstone Group which was a Tampa based real estate company specializing in retail anchor tenant representation and the acquisition and development of retail.  Previous to joining Capstone Group, I spent ten years in the real estate department at The Home Depot, most recently serving as the corporate officer overseeing all store development activities in the Western, Northwest, Southwest and Canadian Divisions.  Prior to that position I was the Western Division Director of Real Estate and Florida Real Estate Manager, during this time I was able to be involved in the development of more than 475 Home Depot stores and the disposition of approximately 100 surplus properties.  Before joining Home Depot, I spent 12 years with CBRE as a retail sales and leasing specialist.

Have you worked with any companies that we would recognize through the years?

Home Depot, Kohl’s, BJ’s Wholesale Club, Safeway, and PGA Tour Superstores, just to name a few.

Can you recall any specific experiences in this industry that helped to shape you into the broker you are today?

Assisting Safeway with their expansion into Florida in 1983 was a terrific opportunity to represent a national anchor tenant and to learn multiple Florida markets.

Who was the most influential person or persons to you in your career in Commercial Real Estate?

Actually, there are three.  Nelson Brown (Atlanta) was a great mentor when I joined CBRE.

Jim Fassio (now with Ross Dress for Less) was the Safeway real estate manager for their Florida expansion back in 1983. He taught me how to assess potential sites and how to negotiate real estate economics and documents.

Bryan Fields was my mentor and senior leader at Home Depot. Among many things, he greatly helped me learn and understand real estate strategy from a retailer’s perspective.

Do you have any quotes or motto’s that you live by?

Nothing worthwhile happens by accident.

Can you offer any words of wisdom to those just getting into the Commercial Real Estate field?

Find an industry mentor and follow their direction – they know what they’re doing.

Any additional keys to success you would like to share?

People prefer to do business with others that they know, like, and trust.

Just for fun, what gets you through the day? Coffee, tea, water or something else?

Coffee.