by Eric B. Lewis, MAI, FRICS
President, Valuation & Advisory Americas
We’re recognizing the individuals within our Valuation & Advisory (V&A) group who have hit major anniversary milestones this year, by asking these veterans a few questions. After having been with the firm for 20 years or more, it’s interesting to hear about their experience, tenure, and what keeps them going. I had the chance to talk with Jerry McNamara, who has worked at Cushman & Wakefield for the last 35 years…
How did you get your start in commercial real estate/why did you choose to go into the appraisal profession?
I worked as a branch manager at a bank for 10 years before I came to Cushman & Wakefield and I hated it. My brother, Tom, was the manager of the Philadelphia office of Cushman & Wakefield and his job looked a lot more interesting than mine. I begged him to hire me and while he was reluctant, he agreed, provided that I interview with the national managers at the time – Brian Corcoran and Frank Liantonio. Fortunately, the interview went well and they agreed to the hire. And luckily I was right, appraising was a whole lot more interesting to me than banking.
What is it about Cushman & Wakefield that has helped you reach this anniversary/keep you here?
It sounds like a cliché but it is the people I’ve worked with that made the difference in my professional career. The appraisers I worked with were smart and interesting and fun. Senior management was approachable and was very responsive to changes in the market. Decisions were made and implemented quickly. The work was interesting – I was never bored and I got to travel a lot. Thinking back on it, I think we had the ‘tech start-up’ work environment long before it had been invented elsewhere.
What was the most unusual assignment you’ve ever had or what has been the most memorable/your favorite?
Definitely the most unusual appraisal assignment was a chemical plant in Pennsylvania. I believe that at the time of the appraisal, it was the only manufacturer of nitroglycerin in the continental U.S. There were signs in the office parking lot ordering drivers to reverse into their parking spots. That was so you could make a quick exit in case of an explosion. That really caught my attention!
How do you plan to spend your next 5 years at Cushman & Wakefield?
For the last two years, I have been doing appraisal reviews, exclusively and I expect to continue doing that for the next five years.
When you’re not out appraising an asset or writing a report, what do you like to do?
I come from a large family and we get together often. Since my wife is a good cook and likes to entertain, that works out very well. We have hosted Thanksgiving for the family for the last 30 years and last year was the largest ever – 62 people in a heated tent in our back yard. We also have a family vacation at the Jersey Shore with a similar size crowd the first week of August but we don’t have to feed them! The last couple of years, my wife and I have managed to take a trip abroad at least once a year. We’ve gone to Italy, South Africa, Ireland, and London and we will be visiting Greece this year. This year is also our 30th wedding anniversary, so we have planned a trip to the beaches in the Dominican Republic. We’ve been there several times and my wife really enjoys it. All inclusive – no cooking!
Eric Lewis is the President, Valuation & Advisory Americas. In this role, Eric is responsible for the overall operations of the Americas V&A group, which spans 600 professionals across 6 core services, 17 practice groups, and 70 offices. He drives the primary business objectives and activities for V&A in the Americas, including our aggressive growth and technology initiatives. In 2017, the group appraised more than 50,640 properties valued at over $1.29 trillion USD.