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The leaders in the DC commercial real estate industry come from different backgrounds and, in some cases, made their bones and fortunes in other fields. For example, one founded the first television network for African Americans, another was a noted banker and still another has made headlines as the managing principal owner of the Washington Nationals. Yet the common thread among these titans are that they have each put their personal mark on this area through their investment in time, capital and imagination. All without exception are also heavily involved in civic and philanthropic causes that benefit thousands and make living in the DC area that much better. Here's a look at some individuals who have helped shape—continue to influence—the local market.

JOHN E. “CHIP” AKRIDGE III

Despite starting his Washington, DC-based real estate development firm just as a national recession was beginning in 1974, Chip Akridge has provided the leadership that has resulted in Akridge acquiring or developing approximately 12 million square feet of office, retail, industrial/warehouse and research and development space in the DC area. Akridge noted in a recent radio interview that the current downturn is the sixth since its company's inception. One key to the company's success has been having strong equity partners in each of its projects. One of Akridge's passions on the philanthropic front is the Trust for the National Mall. A veteran of the Vietnam War, he's chairman of the trust that is dedicated to restoring and improving the National Mall, which has fallen into a state of disrepair.

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