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ATLANTA-Bob Peterson, chairman and CEO of locally based Carter USA, is turning his attention back to the firm’s brokerage business. The 35-year commercial real estate veteran takes over for Joe Terrell, who will remain an executive vice president focusing on brokering transactions.

Peterson says his primary goal in helming Carter’s Brokerage Services segment is to emphasize its importance in the various service lines offered by the 50-year-old company. Brokerage services is one of Carter’s five core service lines and covers tenant representation, third-party leasing, land sales and investment sales.

“The opportunities are out there for us to attract talent in the marketplace,” Peterson tells GlobeSt.com. “We need to go about our business in a different way, maximize our platform and try some new ideas. We just need to get better while times are tough.”

Peterson, who began his CRE career as a broker in 1974, says he has been through downturns before, though none as challenging as this one because of so many job losses affecting all property sectors. He expects the overall market to recover, but more slowly than in previous cycles.

Having joined Carter in 2001 as executive vice president of brokerage and corporate services, Peterson once owned an Atlanta development firm that built more than 100 office and industrial buildings. He sold his company in 1999 to CarrAmerica Realty, a REIT that was acquired by an affiliate of the Blackstone Group in 2006.

Terrell, a well-known Atlanta CRE veteran who co-founded Bullock Mannelly Partners, will now be able to focus solely on brokerage. Peterson describes Terrell as “the consummate deal-maker.”

Peterson observes that the current recession, plus the recent spate of mega-brokerage consolidations, have led full-service firms such as Carter to serve clients of all sizes by opening new lines of cooperation between core services. Carter’s other four core businesses beyond brokerage include real estate advisory, development, project and program management, and property and facility management.

The ultimate goal, he adds, is to come out of this downturn as a better, stronger company: “Sometimes when business is good, you don’t have time to improve.”

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