Broker of the Year: D CEO’s Commercial Real Estate Awards

In a market where commercial real estate is a true profession, selecting Broker of the Year finalists isn’t easy. But this year, Jack Fraker, Randy Cooper, and Steve Lieberman stood out. Read below to find out why. The winner will be revealed at D CEO’s inaugural Commercial Real Estate Awards event on March 20 at the Hilton Anatole. Leading up to the big event, we’re featuring all 41 finalists at RealPoints, one category per day. (Click to read about the finalists in Best Land Sale, Best Commercial Property Sale, and Excellence in Architecture/Design.)

UPDATE: Scroll down to see the winner.

Jack Fraker, CBRE

Jack Fraker

When it comes to peddling industrial properties, there’s no one quite like CBRE’s Jack Fraker. He heads the firm’s national partnership, which last year inked a whopping $4.3 billion in industrial real estate transactions totaling more than 85 million square feet. Locally, Fraker consistently controls the market; in 2012, he completed roughly three times the volume of the nearest competitor—a market share he has maintained for about two decades. His strategy for success: taking a team approach to every assignment and keeping in close contact with clients, even when a deal isn’t in the works.

Fraker and his team travel frequently and put in a lot of hours—about 12 per day, as well as time on the weekends. But that time isn’t wasted. “We’re careful not to work on assignments that really have no chance of happening,” he said. Connections help, too, as does experience; Fraker has sold 550 million square feet of space since 1992. “We know all of the major owners of industrial real estate, and the most active buyers,” he said.

Randy Cooper, Cassidy Turley

Randy Cooper

Cassidy Turley’s Randy Cooper had a career-defining year in 2012, capped by representing State Farm in leases that totaled more than 2.5 million square feet of office space in Irving and Richardson—in four different transactions with three different landlords. Most notable was a record-breaking deal for 1.5 million square feet that kicks off a masterplanned project KDC is developing near the intersection of State Highway 190 and U.S. 75. Throughout it all, Cooper somehow managed to keep these big transactions under the radar—no small feat in Dallas. And he did the megadeals while also helping Cassidy Turley establish a new tenant representation group in Texas and attending to the needs of other clients.

Cooper said a key strategy throughout his 25-year career has been to put himself in his client’s shoes. “Having empathy for the client and understanding the motivations and challenges of the organization, as well as the individuals involved on a project, is critical,” he said. “Being empathetic is also the fun part of this job. Real estate is really about people.”

Steve Lieberman, The Retail Connection

Steve Lieberman

Few leaders are able to excel as a player-coach, balancing the demands of management and brokering deals. But Steve Lieberman makes it look easy. The co-founder and CEO of The Retail Connection is consistently named as one of the top retail brokers in the United States, and has been the sector’s top producer locally for more than a decade. Last year, he put together 38 deals totaling more than 1 million square feet and $100 million in consideration. For Bed Bath & Beyond Inc., he brokered 16 transactions totaling 450,000 square feet. Other clients include Nordstrom Rack and PetSmart.

Lieberman said he takes a collaborative approach to brokerage—and to leading The Retail Connection. “The best team wins,” he said. “I try to make sure that everyone has a shared vision and aligned interests, is empowered to leverage their strengths, and committed to a successful result for all involved.” Along with leases, Lieberman’s 2012 tenant-driven investment collaborations led to more than 600,000 square feet in acquisitions. Additionally, he and the firm’s Connected Development Services team triggered more than 3 million square feet of new projects.

WINNER: This year’s Broker of the Year is Randy Cooper. Click here for a complete list of winners and finalists from this year’s Commercial Real Estate Awards.

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