Spotlight Interview: Joey Odom: Atlanta Director, Stan Johnson Company

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Joey Odom is one of the top brokers and Atlanta Director at Stan Johnson Company based in their Atlanta Office. Joey has been with Stan Johnson Company for over ten years. Odom oversees the Atlanta office and southeast region, focusing on serving net lease buyers and sellers within the geography. Odom specializes in the sale of net lease retail properties, which is arguably one of the leading investment sectors within commercial real estate.

LD: What career path did you want to take when you were in college?

JO: My original plan in college was to go into youth ministry, and the college I attended had a strong program in this field. After a few semesters with this in mind, though, I shifted to a business focus in sales and marketing.

LD: What events in your career path brought you to your current position at Stan Johnson Company?

JO: Out of College I worked in the athletic industry for several years, but I had always been interested in the commercial real estate industry and was fortunate to know several people at Stan Johnson Company, namely Brad Pepin, who is a top producer at the company. Brad introduced me to the company and I was fortunate to be hired on soon after.

LD: Can you tell us what your “average” week of work is like?

JO: My role within SJC is the “player coach.” On the player side, our team (including Maggie Holmes, Mike Sladich & KB Yabuku) focuses primarily on representing sellers of net lease retail properties in the Southeast – it has been a tremendous year for our team on this front. In any given week, I will visit existing or prospective clients, manage current deals or strategize on upcoming listing pitches.

On the coach side, I work alongside our other teams in the Southeast. This includes Van Barron, whose team focuses on medical sales, Britton Burdette, whose team focuses on office & industrial sales, Jason Long, whose team focuses on retail sales and Jason Powell, whose team focuses on drug store and other retail sales. We are having a record year in the Southeast and are excited to continue the momentum. Additionally, my goal is to recruit top talent to join the Stan Johnson Company team.

LD: Joey, why do you believe the STNL space has become so hot? Why are there a growing number of investors entering the STNL space? Income Predictability? Less property management headaches? Perceived ease of understanding the STNL investments?

JO: The STNL space has grown hotter and hotter over the past few years. As a general statement, the space is viewed as a flight to quality and safety. It has been a safe haven investment for many individual investors deploying money from the market to alternative investments. Institutional investors have grown increasingly more active as well, with new and existing funds having larger allocations to net lease. Foreign investors have been particularly active in the space; in the past several weeks, we have closed with an Israeli group and a French individual investor, as examples. Even with compressed cap rates, yields for real estate in the U.S. are still very attractive to foreign investors, particularly those with turmoil in their own countries (Venezuela, Greece, etc.). Because Stan Johnson Company focuses exclusively on net lease sales, we are able to tap into a broad array of investor groups, and are the bridge between institutional and private capital.

LD: Everyone has a few transactions that stand out in the careers.  What is one deal thus far in your career that stands out to you and what is the significance to that deal?

JO: We were fortunate to be asked to present for a large portfolio of Dollar General properties several years ago, and were competing against several large competitors. In preparation for the pitch, I spent several days at the office until 4am! We connected very well with the client and were awarded the business. That year we sold 135 Dollar General properties for this client, and have closed in excess of 200 sites in total for them to date. More rewarding is the relationship we have developed with this client; I consider them very close personal friends.

LD: What advice would you give a young Joey Odom just out of college and starting his professional career?

JO: Some of the best advice I received was to not stress out too much about your first job. Every experience we have can be used as a stepping-stone, whether in that particular job or a future job. The key is to use every experience as an opportunity to grow, especially in turmoil or difficulty. I heard John Maxwell recently say, “Growth isn’t guaranteed in difficulty, but it’s the only environment in which it happens.” We can take comfort in difficulty or turmoil, knowing it has the potential to make us better.

For more information on Joey Odom and Stan Johnson Company please visit www.stanjohnsonco.com. For more information on Leavitt Digital please visit www.ldcre.com.

Spotlight Interview: Jeff Rowlett, Vice President Investments/ Dir. National Retail Group/ Dir. Net Leased Property Group at Marcus & Millichap

JR News Release

Jeff Rowlett, along with the support of his team is among the top investment brokers at Marcus & Millichap.  Over the years Jeff has honed his skills and developed a niche, concentrating on STNL assets and multi-tenant retail throughout the Midwest and Nationally.  Jeff has worked at two of the top commercial real estate brokerage firms and been pursed by many other top CRE Firms.  Jeff’s exposure to these top commercial real estate brokerage companies has given him a unique peek behind the curtains at some of the major firms and allowed him to see which corporate structure and culture worked best for his style of brokerage and most importantly, for his clients.

 

LD: What career path did you want to take when you were in college?

JR: Surprisingly I have a degree in Kinesiology, Sports Medicine with an emphasis in Cardiac Rehab and my goal was to become an Athletic Trainer in the NFL.

 

LD: What events in your career path brought you to your current position at Marcus & Millichap?

JR: Looking back I can only say that I was guided into my current career path and I had little if anything to do with it. One of my clients that I was working with in athletic training introduced me to a family friend that happened to be one of the top investment brokers at Marcus & Millichap and one thing lead to another. I didn’t even know what commercial real estate investment sales meant at that time, but it intrigued me. Marcus & Millichap has a great platform and training program, so I jumped in headfirst and never looked back.

 

LD: Can you tell us a little what your “average” week of work is like?

JR: My average week consists of hours upon hours of time on the phone or meeting with clients to discuss their commercial real estate needs and if or how my team might be able to help them. This is a relationship business, so the more people you know in the business, and specifically, the more people you can help to solve a problem for, the more valuable you will be. The remainder of my time is spent organizing, tracking escrows, completing proposals and working on mentoring and building my team. I have a never-ending thirst for knowledge, so I invest a lot of time reading and listening to podcast while on the road and always advancing to get better at serving my clients and growing as a person.

 

LD: Majority of your listings/ sales are in the secondary markets; what are some of the differences you see in investment opportunities in Primary Markets versus investments in Secondary or Tertiary Markets?

JR: Well we have the unique advantage of working in both primary and secondary markets. I live in the suburbs of Chicago, which is where I spent the first 8 years of my career learning and doing deals. Over the past 5 years I have developed a team based out of Milwaukee, so we do a lot of transactions in the Midwest and also our single tenant business, which is a nationwide practice. There are similarities for both markets; location and tenant credit rating are always factors, but the differences are the buyer pools for various markets. The assets in secondary markets have experienced much more attention from out of area buyers the last couple of years because of the limited new construction and limited supply of quality assets for sale. For the secondary markets we see more offer activity from local buyers that know and understand the area well, but we still sell good majority of these properties to buyers from outside the market or state. The primary markets see activity from local & regional buyers, syndicators and institutional buyers alike. Pricing and cap rates for the assets of course vary as well.

 

LD: In 2015 – 2017 there is an estimated $601 Billion of CMBS maturities hitting the market.  What impacts do you think this will have on the market (listings coming to market, demand for debt, debt available, cap rate expectations, etc.)?

JR: The Fed’s decision last week to hold rates is further evidence that we have some time left in this current cycle and cap rates may even continue to compress for Class A assets. Low interest rates, steady NOI growth, and competitive yields are supporting investment in all categories of commercial properties. Transactions in 2015 are on course to exceed pre-recession peak levels, and most property sectors continue to see inflows of equity and disciplined underwriting by debt providers. With positive economic trends boosting property performance, commercial real estate remains a favored asset class for investors.

 

LD: All property types have their own cyclical natures for a number of different reasons. Can you tell us a little bit about the cyclical nature in the STNL market?

JR: An STNL property, as an asset class is actually a relatively new category for investors. The sector now even has subcategories such as Dollar Stores, Automotive users, Banks, Drug Stores, Fast Food and QSR restaurants, etc. These properties are very popular among 1031 exchange buyers because of the nature of the long lease terms and limited (if any) landlord management responsibilities. When the recession hit in 2008 these assets became even more favorable due to the predictable cash flow and low price points, which allowed investors to continue buying even with constraints in the capital markets. There seems to be no end to buyer’s appetite for STNL properties right now and for the foreseeable future. Fluctuations in interest rates will have an impact on cap rates and spreads eventually once inflation starts to kick in.

 

LD: Everyone has a few transactions that stand out in the careers.  What is one deal thus far in your career that stands out to you and what is the significance to that deal?

JR: Your first deal is probably the one you will never forget. There is so much excitement and you are so focused on doing everything right and pleasing your client, so I will never forget the first one. It was a CVS anchored shopping center property in central Illinois and the sellers were a local family and they had worked so hard their entire lives to develop properties and build a portfolio that supported the family financially. It was so gratifying to help them maximize the value and sell at a price that was several hundred thousand dollars above the previous offers they had received before we listed the property. I will always remember that first deal and that they were the first client to hire me and give me a shot.

 

LD: What advice would you give a young Jeff Rowlett just out of college and starting his professional career?

JR: I mentor new agents to this day. I just started mentoring an agent this past week and have mentored roughly 10 or so agents over the years to help them start their careers. This is something that keeps me humble and grounded in the fundamentals of our business. I advise them to practice and become excellent in the fundamentals; develop a discipline in doing the key factors of goal setting, planning, tracking your activities, prospecting (yes, cold calling is still the MAIN driver of success), and working your plan very hard the first 3-5yrs. Brokerage is fun, but it’s hard work, and there are NO shortcuts. As soon as you get traction, get some help and hire an assistant. I still work with a coach and read to get better every day.

 

LD: What advice have you received that has been instrumental in your success?

JR: I was fortunate to start my career at Marcus & Millichap where the training and platform is so strong. I have had a lot of great mentors to watch and learn from and some that have invested in me. I was always willing to do the hard work and when I was told, “do this and you will succeed”, I just did it until it paid off. My regional managers and private coaches that I’ve hired have always taught me to be disciplined and do the right things, like continual learning, prospecting for new business every week, and setting goals. It certainly helps that I have a great team that supports me and great clients that see the value we bring to them! I am excited for the future and the next phase of my career.

For Additional Information on Jeff Rowlett please visit Marcus & Millichap or Net Lease Property Advisors. For additional information on Leavitt Digital please visit Leavitt Digital’s homepage.

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