Community improvement at heart of Conrad’s goals

Emphasis on Commercial Real Estate profile for The Memphis Daily News

Nov. 2, 2013

Since Kemp Conrad, principal with Cushman & Wakefield/Commercial Advisors LLC, took the position as president of Commercial Advisors’ asset services – a leading third-party provider of leasing, property management and project management services – revenues have increased by 215 percent.

No small feat. But when you consider he took the reins in 2007, and much of this time was during a recession led by the real estate market, the firm’s growth is even more impressive.

Originally from Atlanta, Conrad came to Memphis to attend Rhodes College, where he played basketball and majored in history. He graduated in 1996 and, knowing he wanted to work in business, went to the Owen Graduate School of Management at Vanderbilt University for his Master of Business Administration.

He worked in the technology sector during the dot-com craze of the late 1990s. When that bubble burst, he was in his late 20s and did a “gut check” as far as possible careers to pursue.

“I had a couple of different criteria,” he said. “I wanted to become a subject matter expert in a community-centric field that was very entrepreneurial and you had the ability to build wealth. Commercial real estate was the industry that best checked all those boxes.”

Back in Memphis, he worked with Trammell Crow Co. for five years before moving to his current job.

Commercial Advisors’ main focus is business real estate services, a 25-year-old business begun by Larry Jensen, president and CEO of that side, and one that “has always been steady growth,” said Conrad who moved in to lead the asset services business representing landlords.

“The timing was just right when I had come over,” Conrad said. “That business was younger, they had started it about five years earlier. … We had the right people but we had to get the right people in the right positions. We did that and we recapitalized the company and just focused on our strategy, which is that we’re relationship-oriented, not deal-oriented, and just try to add value to what our clients are doing. It’s been a good run.”

On the tenant side through the Cushman & Wakefield relationship, Conrad acts as broker for large clients such as heavy hitters Smith & Nephew, Adams and Reese LLP and Five Below, those with a revenue of $50 million to $5 billion and total portfolio of approximately 20 million feet globally . . . (read more)