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  • Writer's pictureMAREJ

Focus on Eric M. Weston, Sheldon Gross Realty, Inc.

Thriving Over 50 Q&A

I've never surveyed my colleagues, but I’m rather certain most people working in commercial real estate had at least one prior career. And because so many professionals in our industry spent time during their younger days doing other things, it follows that a significant number of them – like me – are older than 50.

My background features a bachelor’s in business administration from Rutgers University, complete with engineering courses. After graduation, I joined Bell Atlantic and held a variety of positions. It was an excellent experience, and provided me a solid foundation for putting on a jacket and tie each morning then interacting closely with a variety of individuals. Then, one day in 1991 – after I’d already been with Bell Atlantic for eight years – there was an opening in the real estate department.

I applied, was hired, and very soon found myself working with the landlords of buildings the company was leasing. I also gained experience negotiating with property owners related to easements Bell Atlantic needed so it could conduct business at a range of locations. It was all rather different than anything I’d done before … and I found myself really enjoying it.

Obviously, I was a novice back then – more than three decades ago – but I learned quickly that every situation and deal is somewhat different and that success was often the byproduct of creativity and outside-the-box thinking. And … I suppose I finally decided what I wanted to do when I “grew up.”

Over time, I transitioned into a full-time career in commercial real estate, and I’ve now been with Sheldon Gross Realty for a dozen years. In terms of learning the figurative ropes, one of the biggest challenges was becoming familiar with and then an expert in the markets where I conduct business. There’s no shortage of information – it’s both deep and broad – and I’m certain that one secret to success is to never, ever stop learning.

Something else that’s essential, no matter what your age, is an unwavering commitment to networking. You really do need to connect with and communicate with people constantly, and in that regard I’m fortunate to be an extrovert. I enjoy working with all types of individuals, whatever the project. I like to think I’m naturally open-minded and welcome new ideas and different perspectives. These are essential attributes in commercial real estate – broadly speaking, it’s not a field for the shy or reserved.

It’s interesting – I’ve referenced a prior career, the value of creative thinking, and basically continuous networking. If you stop and consider, each of these things require time, perhaps years or even decades, to experience and take lessons from. Which leads to the thought that having a few streaks of gray and some mileage on your odometer is likely beneficial to a commercial real estate professional.

In other words, it’s probably good to be older than 50.


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