DALLAS-After six months of laying the groundwork, Grubb & Ellis Co.’s Texas leader Moody D. Younger is ready to discuss the strategy that’s allowed him to claim senior brokers in all four major metros in the state. Since his return to the firm, he’s lured at least 15 brokers, with 10-year average tenures, from competitors’ camps and has more on the way.

“We are not really recruiting people right now without experience,” confides the managing director of Texas. “I expect us to be in the top, if not the top, real estate firm in the state. We’ve had great people, just not enough of them.”

Younger’s latest power play has pulled Brock Wilson from Chicago-based First Industrial Realty Trust. He starts next Monday as senior vice president after spending the past two years overseeing the REIT’s western region.

Younger says he’s courting senior brokers with the firm’s ability to cross-market 1031 exchanges and tenants-in-common investments for their clients. “No one else has under one umbrella the ability to take an investment and diversify it across the country into 1031 structures,” he says.

Likewise, Younger says the Santa Ana, CA-based Grubb & Ellis has emerged from the industry’s two-year spate of mergers and acquisitions with its entrepreneurial reputation intact and an international platform competitive with corporate heavyweights. Younger tells GlobeSt.com that the biggest change for the Grubb & Ellis of today versus the firm of yesteryear has been the breakdown of all silos and increased “collaboration” in its brokerage circle, creating a major recruiting tool in his opinion.

“At this point, with the markets in flux, everybody is interested in talking and listening to our story. We had been knocking on their doors and now they’re knocking on ours,” Younger says. “There are brokers who don’t fit. We guard judiciously our culture, trust and respect for each other and sharing of information.”

Since July 1, Grubb & Ellis’ regional leaders have hired 25 senior vice presidents, of which seven were in Dallas/Fort Worth. Before the year ends, Younger says he hopes to add five more in both Dallas and Houston and three apiece in San Antonio and Austin.

Younger says he’s now measuring market share to judge the impact of the hires since April in Texas. He classifies his specialties of office and industrial as “good” after an initial thrust to rebuild and strengthen teams statewide. But, he’s still not done, with the hunt continuing in Central Texas for more industrial brokers. Younger’s game book also calls for beefing up agency leasing, particularly in Dallas/Fort Worth, and adding to the institutional investment sales’ ranks in Houston and Central Texas. He rates retail as the firm’s weakest link in the state, expressing an urgency to add more brokers for sales and leasing alike. And for now, multifamily is on the backburner.

“I’m filling in gaps. We are growing, building and hiring people,” Younger says. “I don’t think our competitors are doing that right now. We have a presence in all business lines, but they’re not all real robust. We want to be in the top three in every market.”

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