• Atlanta

Translating Lessons Learned on the Battlefield to Business

By Savannah Durban, Communications Specialist

Honor. Courage. Commitment. Those are the three core values adopted by Bayne Porter, Matt Jarratt and David Lundeen – a trio of veterans taking the build-to-suit sector by storm. During the past five years, the team, based in Cushman & Wakefield’s Atlanta office, has joined forces to create a powerhouse practice group that has completed a number of multi-market transactions in the U.S., Canada, and Brazil.

The team is proving out the notion that veterans can translate experience from their time in the military into business success. After all, the 30 build-to-suit projects in their portfolio total more than $1 billion in value and counting, and include well-known names like BMW, Mercedes-Benz, Jaguar/Land Rover, Guitar Center and National Business Furniture.

Building the Team

Bayne Porter, the most tenured member of the team, joined Cushman & Wakefield five years ago. Before entering the business world more than 20 years ago, he served as a member of the United States Marine Corps.  From his experiences in the brokerage business, he saw an opportunity to create a practice group focused entirely on build-to-suit transactions.

“Last year, more than 80 million square feet of build-to-suit projects were completed in the U.S. alone, so there is a lot of runway to focus on,” he said. “We saw a need for a specialized group of people to focus on this sector to fill a void in the industry.”

Around the same time, Matt Jarratt was preparing to exit the U.S. Marine Corps, where he was Captain and Company Commander. He began searching for positions in commercial real estate 10 months in advance of his contract end date and was introduced to John O’Neill, Regional Managing Director of Cushman & Wakefield’s Atlanta office, who, in turn, introduced Matt to Bayne. Given their shared military experience, the two formed a quick bond. Bayne offered to become Matt’s mentor, and in 2016 the two formed an official partnership to create the Build-to-Suit Practice Group.

To round out the team, Matt and Bayne wanted to hire someone to create efficiencies and support the team to help escalate business. They were introduced to David Lundeen, former United States Army Captain, and knew that his time in the field would translate well to project management.

“David’s background gave him intangible skills that couldn’t be taught,” Matt said. “We knew he would understand our process and way of thinking, and the construction  management side of the job could be learned.”

Shared Mindset

While there are many advantages to hiring veterans, the shared mindset of the Build-to-Suit Practice Group allows them a special shared mindset that has created real value for their clients. Their mission? To save clients time and money by transacting and managing projects better than anyone else.

“The military teaches you how to move quickly, communicating while you’re moving across the battlefield, and how to make your actions effective while doing all those things,” Matt said.

In the military, we always talk about “improving your foxhole,” added David. The notion of always continuing to improve your processes means that with each transaction the team grows stronger. As they maneuver through projects together they are creating best practices to secure the best possible results for their clients.

At the heart of it, the team says they are driven by their core values, which guide the team’s conduct and creates a framework for making decisions in the toughest of circumstances.

“We have to do what’s right for the client, and these values guide us even when there’s nothing else to do so,” Matt said. “Our core values – honor, courage, commitment – are what we were engrained with.”

Veterans in the Workplace

As companies continue to diversify, veterans bring an important skillset and way of thinking to business, which can be valuable.

“It’s important to help our veterans get back in the workforce quickly,” Bayne said. “Veterans work differently and have a skillset that is taught, not learned. They have something really special to offer from a leadership perspective and have strong work ethic.”

Veterans shouldn’t be hesitant to seek out business positions either, David added. Some of them take their skills and experiences for granted but they can tap into their potential and provide real value to an organization once they are brought up to speed.

“Hiring veterans is a good way for companies to give back – we risked our lives everyday,” Bayne said. “It’s good for companies to celebrate their service.”

Savannah Durban is a Communications Specialist based in Cushman & Wakefield’s Atlanta office. Ms. Durban leads strategic media relations and thought leadership efforts for the Atlanta office, and oversees the firm’s online presence including managing the blog and social media efforts. 

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