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PORTLAND-Sonna Durdel is on the hunt for her successor. The executive director of Insignia/ESG’s Pacific Northwest region is taking a one-year sabbatical from commercial real estate to relax and learn how to cook Italian while her new party house is being built on Cooper Mountain. Durdel intends to focus on business development, client services and production when she returns to the company in the fall of 2002.

The vacation begins in mid-September. Meantime, Bob Shibuya, who oversees the entire Western region for Insignia, tells GlobeSt.com Durdel is hard at work creating a short list of candidates to replace her as a senior partner in the Northwest. “I have in mind people I want to call,” adds Durdel, without revealing any names.

Shibuya says the financial package for the new director will depend on the individual. “If the person has dealmaking abilities like Sonna, we would allow them to be involved in commissions,” says Shiboya, “while someone with a pure management background would likely utilize that component.”

Durdel, a former senior executive in the Koll Company, broke off and founded Forum Properties in April 1990 and promptly won a contract with the Principal Financial Group to manage 1.2 million square feet of industrial and office space she developed for PFG while at Koll.

By 1997, when her company was acquired by Insignia, Forum was overseeing 2.5 million square feet of commercial property, managing development for corporate clients and generating annual revenues of more than $3 million. Since that time, Durdel says she’s grown revenues by 45% per year and turned the operation into a well-rounded real estate services provider with 7.2 million sf under management and $130 million worth of product under construction.

“Sonna is one of the premier developers, property management and brokerage/transaction professionals in Portland,” says Shiboya. “She has been instrumental in establishing a strong operation for us in the Pacific Northwest since we acquired her company.”

Until a permanent successor is named, Shibuya and David Pogue, Executive Managing Director of Property Services, will oversee the Pacific Northwest operations. On-the-ground oversight will be managed by Dwight Knapp, who will be charged with the daily operational and administrative tasks in the interim. The company’s regional property management team will be led by Mark Walsh. All development operations will continue to be managed by Monte Haynes, Director of Development.

Durdel tells GlobeSt.com she will return in September 2002 bent on reaching $1 billion in investment and asset sales. As of today, she has closed deals worth $958 million. Says Durdel, “I plan to come back and be the company’s top producer.”

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