2015 Property Manager of the Year Cory Roberts

Cory Roberts, Senior Real Estate Manager with CBRE at 100 North Riverside, was the recipient of the 2015 Gold Circle Awards Property Manager of the Year.

How did you get involved in the commercial real estate industry/what was your first CRE job? I came off active duty in the Air Force 8 years ago and entered into CBRE’s Junior Military Officer’s program with three other servicemen/women. We received a 12-week crash course in multiple real estate business lines. I looked at process improvement and change management for property management. From there I volunteered to manage a Class-A property downtown while the manager was out on maternity leave and my road in property management began.

What would surprise our members most about you? Most BOMA members would be surprised to learn that I help run a counterterrorism intelligence unit as Major in the Air Force Reserves. But take it from me, it is not quite as exciting as Jason Bourne makes it out to be!

What qualities do you look for in your staff that make them stand out?If I see integrity and desire, then I don’t necessarily look for a set of specific qualities, rather, I try to encourage and provide opportunities for each person’s skills and talents in support of a set of core values. For example, when I see a person with a passion for arts, I want them to enhance our marketing without embellishing, but I also want them to take opportunities to teach others and learn from someone else’s business skills. The person with business skills, I want him/her to take charge of a financial report with transparency, but I also want them to expand others business acumen while strengthening their own customer service qualities. I want people to work on their weaknesses, Lord knows we all have them. I love seeing staff members perform well, but what I love more is seeing them learn new skill sets.  It becomes a morale booster, learning opportunity and career enhancer. Once it is in the culture it becomes self-sustaining.

Throughout your membership with BOMA/Chicago, what experiences are most notable?Three experiences come to mind: 1. Our staff’s recent 2015 TOBY win. We had our staff and building ownership in attendance at the Gala. The combination of Union Station’s picturesque environment and double wins was an electric moment, 2. The Tequila Tasting event I hosted for tenants, brokers, and vendors a few years back complete with a Mariachi band. 3. Meeting and working with a diverse set of tenants, co-workers and vendors. 

What is your favorite BOMA/Chicago event and why?My annual favorite is the golf outing. While it isn’t the fastest round of golf, it provides a good mix of socializing, golf, and the occasional cold beverage. You can learn a lot about people with that combination of variables. However, the 2014 BOMA annual meeting featuring guest speaker Elizabeth Dozier was my single favorite event. It was the perfect example of a leader taking charge and harnessing the abilities of her staff and students to grow into something greater.

Tell us about some of your professional accomplishments over the last few years.The last few years have been very exciting for me professionally. I’ve worked on dozens of capital projects, assisted in the only Chicago building sale in 2009, and promoted high performance building technologies and expertise. Over the last few years, my teams have been recognized with:

  • BOMA’s 2015 Local and Regional The Outstanding Building of the Year,
  • BOMA’s 2015 Property Manager of the Year,
  • CBRE’s 2014 Property Manager of the Year,
  • Boeing’s Conservation Award in 2015 and 2013,
  • CBRE’s 2012 Sustainability Leader of the Year,
  • 2012 USGBC LEED EB Gold,
  • EPA Energy Star Award three times,
  • CBRE’s 2010 Property Manager of the Year,
  • Six local and regional BOMA’s TOBYs from 2008-2011