Former athletes find success in commercial real estate


Signature and Plante Moran aren’t the only places that have had a string of former athletes on the payroll.

In the Southfield office of Colliers International Inc., headquartered in Toronto, general manager Paul Choukourian recruited two former professional hockey players – he refused to identify them – along with numerous other varsity athletes.

“You just know that they are motivated, that they have a good work ethic,” Choukourian said. “Being a varsity athlete takes motivation and commitment and beyond, so that’s what always does for me. It’s not a slam dunk, no pun. When you’re interviewing an athlete, he must have the desire, the skills and quite frankly, the passion for real estate. ”

Business is not for everyone, and a financial support system is often required to stay afloat for the first two years in the industry – which is one reason the industry remains predominantly white and masculine.

“You are going to work hard and you are really not going to be rewarded financially,” Choukourian said. He estimated that for the first two years, brokers earn between $ 25,000 and $ 50,000 and sometimes have to rely on what is called a “raffle” – essentially a loan made against future commissions, in a 5 to 8% interest range.

In effect, this means that some brokers might finish their first year or two on the job essentially in debt to their employer just so they can make ends meet.

Anthony Toth is one of Choukourian’s recruits.

Now vice-president, Toth played shortstop and second base at the University of Michigan from 2007-2011, before a broken shin bone two weeks before the Major League Baseball Draft put in place. end to any chance he had to turn pro.

“I quickly had to find something else to do and immediately got into commercial real estate,” Toth said. “One of the reasons student-athletes are so successful in brokerage is that it’s a career where you really get what you put into it. There is no cap. In order to be an athlete. top level in any sport, internal motivation and insatiable successful and the best at what you do has to be there. “

At Cushman & Wakefield in Southfield, a handful of employees are former athletes.

Brian Piergentili, executive director of the local office, said he played football at Wayne State University and a handful of other members of his team played baseball, hockey and golf at the college level. His company even landed former Detroit Red Wing Darren McCarty as VP of Business Development for a spell in 2016.

“It’s such a competitive company with a lot of pressure (and it’s) maximum when you win,” Piergentili, who also coaches high school football at Livonia Stevenson, said in an email. “(Takes) a single (sicko) to do this job, I guess. You’ve always seen athletes in sales historically, really. After their playing days, I think this might be one of the few things that lets compete with luck to make big bucks (or die out).


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