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DALLAS-Texas-bred broker and former NFL lineman David R. Richards has come home to backfill the top slot in the region for Grubb & Ellis Co. after a one-year stint as head of the Detroit office.

Richards, a graduate of Highland Park and Southern Methodist University, has been named senior vice president and managing director. The relo is a rare move, perhaps a first, for Grubb & Ellis in sanctioning a reassignment of an office leader.

Richards tells GlobeSt.com that his goal is to double the 30-broker team and triple revenues within three years. With one week now under his belt, he’s already put out a half dozen proposals for professionals to join the team–with more letters on the way. Ironically, he’s planning to mine the fields of his predecessor, Moody Younger, who joined Trammell Crow Co. as a managing director in late August. “We have a great platform here. With the shake-out from Trammell Crow and CB Richard Ellis, there’s going to be people who don’t fit in that deal who are excellent people,” Richards says. “Grubb & Ellis is going to be a logical choice for them.”

The 40-year-old executive is planning a full-court press that could drive a need for more office space in six months. The play crosses all levels of professionals and all property sectors. Richards says restoring the Dallas office to its one-time top ranking for local multifamily transactions is one of his priorities as is retail. “My whole attitude is play big or go home,” he stresses. “We’re going to build this office.”

Richards says it wasn’t family ties, but rather the allure of growing up in a city of real estate rainmakers that lured him to the profession. “There was not even a question of what I was going to do,” he says. “I am really excited and appreciative that Grubb & Ellis has given me this opportunity.”

Married to a five-time All-American swimmer from SMU and the father of two, Richards retired from the NFL in 1997 after nine years. His career spans the Detroit Lions, San Diego Chargers, Atlanta Falcons and New England Patriots. His brokerage career includes three years as vice president of business development for Corvus International and three years as a sales associate for Marcus & Millichap Real Estate Investment Brokerage Co. He joined Grubb & Ellis in 2004 as a vice president and then moved into management in 2005 to rebuild the Detroit-area team, now boasting 30 brokers and “poised for record returns.” He says the plan is to put the same strategy into play in Dallas. Grubb & Ellis Co., though unrelated to the Dallas push, has plans for New York City as well.

Like football, Richards says the game of real estate needs to be fun, but it’s also hard work. It requires “the right people, the right chemistry. I want the people here to have fun. It’s too hard of a business to walk off the field feeling you’re not successful,” he says. “It’s a tough competitive business. It should not be a tough competitive environment in the office.”

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