Executive Spotlight: Michael Sheinkop, Newmark Grubb Knight Frank
- May 08, 2015
In the five years since Michael Sheinkop joined Newmark Grubb Knight Frank, the commercial real estate advisory firm has been on a growing spree.
Since acquiring and combining Newmark Knight Frank (2011) and Grubb & Ellis (2012), BGC Partners has invested heavily in its global real estate platform, and the number of brokers at NGKF is now around 1,300, up from 350 when Sheinkop started with the firm in 2010. The firm is aiming for $1 billion in revenue in 2015.
“Newmark Grubb Knight Frank is positioned as a superior provider of comprehensive commercial real estate services,” said Sheinkop, the company’s Chicago-based President of Brokerage Services. “We have a global platform yet maintain an entrepreneurial spirit, client-centric focus, and we work to bring in amazing talent that elevates the services we provide.”
The latest addition to the brokerage team includes eight veteran real estate brokers from Philadelphia-based Hart Corp., specialists in industrial property transactions in secondary and tertiary U.S. markets.
As Sheinkop explained in a recent interview, one of NGKF’s goals is to fill in any staffing gaps in vertical expertise and regional depth, to ensure that every potential client need can be met.
CPE: What benefits will result from the former Hart Corp. brokers joining the team?
Sheinkop: These are institutional-minded brokers with amazing relationships that couldn’t benefit comprehensively without a platform. They will now! And this will occur because their clients more often recognize their efforts for having solved near-impossible transactions in out-of-the way rural places, when nobody else could. They can now service these relationships at an even greater level via NGKF’s global platform and through the BGC Partners family of companies. In turn, NGKF clients will have access to strategic data, and local resources to execute on multi-market, multi-asset class real estate strategies.
CPE: What do you look for when recruiting new talent?
Sheinkop: As we recruit, we are looking for individuals that help us fill in certain gaps that we may have. The clients want more from their companies and their service providers. We provide that by bringing in high caliber talent. Ultimately, we can provide a seamless service across the commercial real estate spectrum – retail, office, industrial, capital markets, and advisory. These brokers are all appreciative of the platform, and share the availability of our services with the clients.
The talent that we’ve brought in represents those individuals at the highest level – like a Geoff Kasselman (co-founder of commercial real estate advisory firm Op2mize). He is the incoming president of SIOR for 2016 and is now managing our national industrial practice.
CPE: How much focus do you place on broker production?
Sheinkop: We are always looking at revenue per broker – how much does the individual broker produce. As we hire more talented brokers, the synergy that the brokers have and the collaboration allows them all to make more money. There’s more that we are doing and offering those clients.
Shareholders get the value of the benefit from synergistic and strategic hiring, and we watch for unproductive brokers, which we prune. It’s a relatively small percentage for us, but that is a function of management – to maximize the average revenue per broker.
CPE: Does rapid growth make it easier or harder to recruit successful brokers?
Sheinkop: People come to work with the people that they know. As we hire more well-respected brokers, we develop deeper, more comprehensive benches. Those individuals that we are trying to recruit see that, that makes it easier for them to want to join and they get excited. It’s a self-fulfilling prophecy. As the brand expands and matures and we have more successes, and we grow the top line, people recognize that, the market perceives it, and ultimately people want to join it.
CPE: You’ve talked about the strong leadership that NGKF receives from BGC Chairman/CEO Howard Lutnick, President James Kuhn and CEO Barry Gosin. What does that look like in practice?
Sheinkop: We’re very flat. As an organization we don’t have lots of layers. So access to Barry and Jimmy is truly fluid. I think that’s also one of the secrets of our success. They are brokers and think like brokers. The flat organizational structure helps us retain the entrepreneurial spirit that comes right from the top.
CPE: What do you see ahead for NGKF?
Sheinkop: It’s been a very exciting time for us and I don’t think there’s any slowdown. I’m excited to be part of it on that front, as a gatekeeper for the company, organizing and bringing in more talent to make us even greater. The company’s very focused on teaching the brokers more and more about how to use the brand. I could not be more excited about what the future holds.