DALLAS-Two high-profile figures negotiate lead positions in competitors’ camps in what is proving to be a year of change for Dallas’ top brokerage houses.

Dennis Barnes, formerly a Trammell Crow Co. principal, is on board at Insignia/ESG while Matt Herring has left CB Richard Ellis to head up a newly formed subsidiary, Wilcox Capital Partners, at the Dallas-based Cawley Wilcox Cos.

Barnes, a 22-year veteran, is Insignia’s new leasing director. In 1999, he left Equity Office Properties and joined Trammell Crow to oversee leasing and development efforts in the North Dallas submarket. Now, he’s settling into a lead spot at Insignia in the firm’s ongoing courtship of the industry’s top names in the region. “Dennis Barnes is the type of talent we are seeking in this market,” Philip C. Baker, Insignia’s executive director, said in a press release. Baker is simply making good on a vow made in October to mold a new Dallas Insignia team from the region’s brokerage leaders.

John Combs, president of Insignia’s US property services, says Barnes’ hiring “is the first in a series of several strategic hires in our landlord/agency practice.” The Dallas market has been getting its fair share of the New York City-based brokerage house’s attention since late summer. “The Dallas market,” Combs adds, “remains one of our top priorities in the country.”

Bill Cawley, chairman and CEO of Cawley Wilcox Cos., has tapped Herring, a vice president at CB Richard Ellis, to be president of his newly formed capital group. Wilcox Capital Partners is tasked with arranging the acquisition, financing and disposition of office and industrial properties owned by corporations, institutions and entrepreneurial investors. The subsidiary will be leading a charge to buy US properties in partnership with several institutional equity partners.

“Wilcox Capital Partners is an initiative that Matt is uniquely qualified to lead,” said Ran Holman, president of Cawley International. “His diverse product knowledge, business experience, broker background and capital markets expertise were a glove-fit for this endeavor.”

Like Barnes, Herring also is a well-known industry figure in North Texas. He previously was a vice president with Dallas-based Henry S. Miller Commercial and principal and owner of Cowest Capital, a group of financial services companies formed to invest and manage investment-grade property.

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