The need for teamwork, being able to rely on your teammates and helping them when needed helps Ahlburn both in the office and in the outdoors.

LOS ANGELES—If you think producing new and thought provoking research for commercial real estate brokers and executives across the US is a daunting task, try climbing some of the world’s death-defying mountains. 

Aaron Ahlburn is based in the Los Angeles office of JLL and is the director of research for the industrial and retail sectors for JLL in the Americas. He helps prepare in-depth, customized research on market trends and forecasts, strategic and competitive analyses, consumer demand studies, economic updates and projections, demographic and industry studies, among other types of thought leadership and white papers. 

He joined the firm in 2008 as head of industrial research following JLL’s merger with The Staubach Co, and later took on the position of Head of Retail Research for JLL’s US operations.

What you may not know about Ahlburn, is that he has a desire to hike to exotic places in his spare time, something he says helps him in his day to day job.
“I haven’t done Whitney yet, but it’s on the list,” Ahlburn tells “I’ve always enjoyed hiking and camping—but some of these trips have also a desire to go somewhere ‘exotic,’ places a little more off the beaten path—and where other, likeminded people would want to travel.

Ahlburn has traveled to Belize many times and done some hiking and caving, but his first trip of this series was in the Himilayas—to the Annapurna circuit in 2008. He has also been to Everest Base Camp in Nepal, the Chomolhari route in Bhutan and throughout Colorado modestically, among others. He hopes to hike Mont Blanc next year—his first in Europe.

The preparation is a few months—both to be fit and also to take care of all the necessary arrangements. As for why he does it? He tells that it is for the physical and mental challenge, the people you meet along the way, and experiencing the beauty of the outdoors.

Some of the similarities between his role in commercial real estate and hiking, he says, are the need for teamwork, being able to rely on your teammates, and helping them when needed.