Member Highlight: Eric Kunkel


Eric Kunkel, left; Audrey Lakin of Executive Productions and Ron Lakin, CBRE

How long have you been a member of COLBA?

Since mid 1990’s I think

What do you appreciate most about COLBA membership?

I enjoy having the opportunity to socialize on a professional level with my peers in the industry.  Seeing the young brokers coming up through the ranks is also very enjoyable as they gain experience and professionalism.  The programs Colba offers are very pertinent and educational for brokers.  Having a personal relationship with the brokers and the owners helps you serve your clients better in negotiations.

Tell us about your CRE background:

Started in 1980 right out of college.  Worked for Charles Shaw Company first as a canvasser for 676 North St. Clair.  Left to become a broker with Midwest Realty Exchange which was the predecessor to Grubb and Ellis here in Chicago.  Then left to venture out to the suburbs with Podolsky and Associates for 16 straight years before joining the new Staubach office in Chicago.  Then Staubach merged with Jones Lang LaSalle and here I am!

What is your advice for young brokers starting out in the industry?

The biggest issue is the younger generation hiding behind their computers/email and phones.  This is a relationship business and they need to get out of the office to meet people and learn their markets backwards and forwards.  In order to talk to a company about their situation, you need to know the building they are in, the challenges or benefits of the property, the traffic patterns around the building, major neighbors etc.  You cannot do that without getting out of the office and talking to people personally.  Emails are easy, but they get ignored.  We need to bring the professional personal touch back to the business.

What do you expect to see in the CRE market for 2014?

Very market specific.  The suburbs unfortunately will remain flat.  It has been so long since good real estate product has been added to the markets that many of my clients are considering downtown or the larger suburban clients have pursued build to suit opportunities to get exactly what they want in the right location.

What are some of your philanthropic associations?

I do not have any real philanthropic endeavors, but I would certainly like to get involved.  I do provide a number of annual donations to my church and the Leukemia/Lymphoma society in memory of my brother who passed away in 2010.

What do you like to do in your free time?

I am an avid golfer in the summer and shoot competitive skeet and trap in the winter months.  I also am very active in small game hunting, mostly game birds, in the winter months.  I also am an avid amateur chef and love cooking and good old Kansas City/Memphis and Texas BBQ.  Low and Slow is the way to Go!

If you weren’t in Real Estate what would you like to be doing…

No idea…never really thought about it.

Most folks don’t know that I am…

Dunno…just a nice, honest guy I guess.  I have been married for 30 years and have 3 wonderful boys I am very proud of.  All have graduated from major colleges and have outstanding jobs.