A Tradition of “Service Before Self” Lives on for a Florida Navy Pilot

Why would a high-ranking officer in the military select Commercial Real Estate (CRE) for his next career path?

Transitioning from a career in the military to one in the private sector is a challenging task for many men and women returning to civilian life these days. Former service members must first come to grips with the fact that they now have a new “mission” that may not be as structured and definable as the strategic operations they were used to performing.  Defending the United States and protecting Americans and our country’s interests is an easy idea to get behind and a noble life decision; where making a widget and selling it to a mass of faceless consumers may not be as inspiring.

When making the transition from the battlefield to the boardroom, I believe it’s important that service members look for parallel careers that provide an opportunity to continue serving others, albeit, in a slightly less ornamented uniform.

When I began looking for my next exciting career after the Navy, I realized the “mission” of that new position must have an element of service to others behind it. More specifically, for me to be inspired to go to work every day, I knew that I needed to see the positive effect of my work in the lives of others. This personal direction led me to the world of CRE in the booming port city of Jacksonville, Florida, where I am currently using my leadership experience to build a cohesive team.

CRE professionals are in the trenches daily alongside entrepreneurs, business owners, real estate investors, corporations, and a host of other visionaries; all working toward a goal to grow our local and national economic opportunities. By serving clients, CRE advisors position businesses of all sizes in facilities that suit their immediate needs, and support future expansion and continued growth throughout Florida and the USA.

Certain skill sets developed and used in the military are particularly transferable to a career in CRE. Some specific examples include the ability to overcome resource difficulties, personnel shortages, and rapid technological advancements. To clear these obstacles, the former military member must have developed the capability to strategically think “outside the box,” along with the capacity to maintain focus throughout periods of enormous stress. The former service member must also have developed a keen ability to thrive during collaborative tasking.

Let’s face it: CRE is a never-ending, concerted effort employing many different personalities to meet a shared goal. These individuals are familiar with being a part of a team, and their military experience strengthens their patience and effectiveness during the sometimes-lengthened lifecycle of a commercial deal.

Finally, the highly competitive nature of this fast-paced business appeals to folks who have spent years competing against a like-minded peer group of results-driven individuals. The thrill of competition lives in the souls of former service members and this transfers nicely in an industry where self-motivation is critical to one’s success.

If you are a CRE broker whose responsibility it is to staff a firm (or any HR director or business owner seeking quality candidates), I urge you to actively pursue former service members who are transitioning into a new or secondary career. They will bring to the table an exceptional level of value, dedication, and loyalty. Besides, you will be better served to have them on your side of the negotiation table than staring at you from across it. Contact me today for information on Jacksonville, Florida area SVN Alliance opportunities.

Blair “Red” Greenlaw
Regional Director | SVN Alliance