Jeremy Weisz 4:15
dig deeper on the niching. Because you say it so clearly. And it’s not always easy to make that decision, because there’s probably lots of different clients coming to you. Right. And so you have to, at some point, I think it takes a lot of discipline to draw a line in the sand to decide that. Do you Was there a point that you decide, okay, we’re only focusing on this? Or was that a decision from the beginning?
Peter Billmeyer 4:40
It was honestly from the beginning. I’m the son of an entrepreneur. And so as my business partner, we really zeroed in on kind of this niche. We do do, maybe about 5% of our p&l is nonprofit and that’s kind of more just labors of love. You know, it’s not it’s the compensation and Then the expectations and effort that goes into those relationships are definitely inverted. But the quality of work, the importance of what they contribute to society, it’s just, it’s something you have to do. But yeah, I mean, I, I just am so in love with with business and entrepreneurship, and helping anyone that has the audacity to risk everything and build something that have my highest respect, and I will go to the very ends of our capabilities to help them because they deserve it. And that’s the backbone of our country, you know, from wealth generation to hiring and employing people. It’s, it’s, it’s incredible. There’s a phenomenal post that I would want everybody to look at today on a wonderful entrepreneur named Tom Gimbel, he posted on LinkedIn, talking about Citadel, and you know, Ken Griffin get a lot of crap. He gets a lot of negative publicity. He never seems to get recognized for the wonderful companies that he has built and the, you know, immense wealth that he has generated, not only for himself, which clearly he’s done very well, but for how about the city of Chicago? How about the city of New York? How about all of those employees that work for him? And, you know, Tom compared him to another company, which we don’t really need to name, that’s a startup, they’re definitely further down the path than just being a startup, but their quote unquote, unicorn, where are they they just announced, they’re going to lay off I believe, 20% of their workforce, great company, great people, nothing negative to say about them, but yet, they’re the darling of the media. And, you know, to me, it’s, I don’t want to go so far as to say it’s a hypocrisy. But, you know, look, both entrepreneurs, both leaders deserve a heck of a lot of respect. You know, they build something they’re trying to add value. And, for me, that’s just something that I don’t think gets talked about and revered as much as it should. Yeah,
Jeremy Weisz 7:04
yeah. I love hearing you talk about these topics, because I can I just get that feeling of passion that exudes when you talk about entrepreneurs. And you said, You’re the son of an entrepreneur, talk about some of the lessons learned there.
Peter Billmeyer 7:19
Alright, fine. How about we start with learning how to do laundry and stuff, great. So my mom, she built an unbelievable educational consulting business. She not too dissimilar to you, but a PhD in education, she was the literacy specialist. So she was a full time published author, she would travel around the world presenting to educators, for staff development days, essentially, teaching teachers how to be better. And so, you know, she had her staff underneath her that would handle some of her consulting, but five days a week, she was on the road, I saw how hard she worked. I saw how it took a toll on your body physically, and certainly mentally, to travel, the stress. And you know, the part that resonates the most with me, and this is the journey that I’m on being the son of the father of three little boys. I think, you know,
when I talked about entrepreneurship, I have two really key points that I always talk about with with someone that’s thinking about getting into it, or when I’m mentoring someone. And number one, being an entrepreneur is exactly like having a child. You can read all the books, you can talk about it nonstop, you can seek all this advice. But until that child comes into this world, you have no clue what the heck is really going to happen and what’s really going on. And being an entrepreneur is the exact same thing. You You know, you learn business class, you can get your MBA, but until you walk through that door, and the first couple of months you’re so high on adrenaline and scared out of your minds and you go through your journey of the imposter syndrome and all those pieces but the stress, the exhilaration the responsibility that they all get kind of thrown in this blender into this magical elixir and you have great days and bad days. And you know I learned a lot of those formative lessons from from watching my mom and I am just forever thankful because you know as a true you know entrepreneur growing a business it’s really first gear and fifth gear. There’s there’s no you know, in between you are either sleeping or you are grinding. And you know the the second part that I learned from her which is by far the most excruciating. You kind of get to spin three plates in this world. You you spin your business, you spin your family if you’re blessed enough to have one and then if you have a partner And I’ll be damned if I can get all three plates spinning to a healthy RPM for more than two days, I’m living pretty well, because there’s some instant thumb thing that’s going to happen and is going to disrupt. And you know, then you’ve got to really zero in on your focus. And sometimes it’s your kid, you know, misbehaving and get in trouble at school, or sometimes it’s a client causing you problems, or sometimes it’s your wife being upset with you. I mean, not that ever happened to a husband, you know, never, never happens. And so I really watched, I think, at the time, obviously, I was too young to really grasp what was going on. And so I don’t want to say it was osmosis, but over a decent amount of wine. My mom and I have been able to sit down and really unpack what a lot of that was. And unequivocally I am not where I am today from a business success standpoint, without that, that mentorship and modeling. So it’s just a it’s a gift that I’m I’m so insanely thankful for.
Jeremy Weisz 11:09
Pete, when you’re younger, did you know you wanted to be an entrepreneur? Was it professional athlete and entrepreneur? What were you thinking when you were younger? Peter? Well, it was what he wanted to.
Peter Billmeyer 11:21
This is probably why I had such limited success as a pro athlete. I love the sport, I was I was definitely committed to trying to play professionally. It wasn’t the end all be all for me. And I recognize that, you know, I was raised where education was extremely important. I took took it serious in college and studied and I loved business. But really what I learned and this was very fortuitous, because it was completely by instinct and natural. And now this is not my number one thing that I try to explain to the younger men and women that that I then I mentor and try to help foster their careers. I just knew what my non negotiables were, I’m super lucky to have an older brother that’s, you know, arguably seven and a half years older than me extremely successful as a surgeon, and I always looked up to him and his friends. And I just knew that I wanted to keep up, I wanted to earn my ability to be in that room with his friends. You know, I never wanted to have to say no. And so what it really comes down to was autonomy. And nothing means more to me than autonomy. I never wanted to have to say no to going on a vacation, I never wanted to have to miss, you know, if my son or daughter was sick at school, been able to go pick them up or watch their games or coach her, you know. And so while that’s obviously the cornerstone of kind of my career, it is also in pretty big conflict with building a business. And so that reconciliation is where I struggle. But I just, I liked leadership growing up. And I didn’t know what business I really wanted to be in. And I honestly serendipitously fell into this world, and then the role that I’ve been able to create for myself, which I think if there’s a cooler job out there, than what I get to do, I want to, I want to hear about it. Because I get to spend all of my time being around other entrepreneurs, and what a unbelievable wealth of knowledge, a vast amount of resources. You know, you get to do stuff fun and cool and entertaining, you know, things, it’s every day is different. And you know, it’s just, it’s just great. I mean, again, back to the respect I have for so many entrepreneurs and you get to meet tons of them. And that information, that knowledge, that experience that I get to learn and lean on, I get to then be direct conduit to a lot of our clients, where if we do a great job in the real estate, that’s wonderful. And that’s our job and our expectation. But if we can then come back around and do a great job helping them build their businesses, further their interests, all those different pieces that’s really live in our code and kind of our core values. And that’s the stuff that gets me super excited.
Jeremy Weisz 14:31
Or other other non negotiables that you thought about in your journey. You mentioned autonomy. Are there any others?
Peter Billmeyer 14:41
Yeah, it’s cliche. And it’s kind of I don’t want to say uncouth because it’s not quite that bad. But I wanted I wanted to be in a position where I could take the risk and no one was going to tell me how much money I could make, I had some pretty, pretty cool lessons watching what I would consider an extremely talented salesperson still to this day, just off the charts. And every year, he would finish number one in his company. And I’ll be damned if every year they didn’t take away either his biggest, second biggest or third biggest client and redistributed throughout the company to someone else, because quote, unquote, he was making too much money. To me, I just, you know, control over your own destiny. Yeah, that was a big piece. And you know, the great tail end of that story is burned him out. And he got so frustrated, he left and went and worked for one of his very good friends, where he still is the number one salesperson in that company doing the exact same thing, making for x more having 8x More fun. And it’s just another amazing Chicago success story. And so, you know, for me, I’m okay, taking risks. And that’s a big part of it. I think anybody that really wants to get ahead financially, it always comes down to risk. Always.
Jeremy Weisz 16:10
Peter, you mentioned, you know, business partnerships are like marriages, right? And your I think your brother’s journey led you to meet your business partner.
Peter Billmeyer 16:21
That’s exactly right. So, Victor, Victor started hazing me in about seventh grade. And they were, they were fraternity brothers at Iowa. And I got to know him. And I think you’re exactly right. It is like a marriage, I think, regardless of, of, you know, you know, having a male and having a husband or hetero or whatever, the dynamic, you never want to marry yourself. And it’s 100% true with Mike my relationship with my wife, where Audra she is she is not me, she she keeps me grounded, she, she beats me, you know, he beats me into place when I need to be. And Victor is very similar. He’s He’s a unbelievably calculated, even keel, just tremendous deal, person. And it’s not a stretch to say that I was never very good at being a broker. It’s just, it’s not my strength. And so it’s created a wonderful symbiotic partnership where we complement each other. And, you know, I definitely believe that a business partnership can be one of the hardest things to pull off. But if you do it successfully, there’s no doubt that it’s not one plus one equals two, it’s one plus one equals four. And it’s, it’s really been fun to be in the trenches together, trying to build this business and grind out together because no one someone has your back is it makes it a little bit less lonely at the top.
Jeremy Weisz 18:02
There’s certain things you do you know, for people who are in a business partnership, to help navigate challenges or navigate where they’re the partners are not in complete agreement.
Peter Billmeyer 18:17
bottle of booze and a whiteboard. Not joking, that’s what I call it. And I will, I will try sometimes to mediate, where you give them a little bit of homework prior to and you say, I want you to list out all of the responsibilities that you feel. And at your office personally. And when you get them in a room together, then you start listing these things out. It’s It’s fascinating. I mean, it can go spectacularly wrong, don’t get me wrong. But most of the time, when you’ll see two partners put up the exact same responsibility. And it’s like, well, we’ll we’ll wait. And then all sudden, you get to start bringing clarity. And from that, and what we tried to do is we tried to build a roadmap, and you tried to divide up those responsibilities. And usually you have a pretty darn positive impact on their company. And, you know, you check back in a year, and how are things going and it’s, you know, obviously, you’re always available, if they want to call it reach out, but it’s just, it’s communication and clarity can really help clean up a lot of issues in a partnership. So let’s say it’s
Jeremy Weisz 19:29
somewhat of a division of labor, like one person is going to be in charge of it. And if there was overlap, that’s where the conflict tends to, to occur.
Peter Billmeyer 19:37
Yeah, and it’s incredibly inefficient. You know, the duplication of efforts. Now, there are huge decisions sometimes that you have to be 100% committed on, you know, and even after this long with running this business, and, you know, there’s moments when Vic’s like, Hey, I just handled I trust you and I’m like, no, no, this is one of those where you’re gonna you’re gonna you’re gonna focus on these documents, we’re going to talk through the pros and cons. Because I want full buy in based on whether it’s the dollar amount, whether it’s the time commitment, whether it’s, you know, and I think, you know, the other part about that is you got to be able to call each other on on your BS, and you gotta humbly take it. You know, we, we just ironically, this morning, we had a bit of a, back and forth between us that we cleared up some stuff and, and, you know, I think we’re better for it. It’s not personal, you can’t make it personal. It’s, you know, because it’s really not about Victor and I, and in the instance of our business, we have all these different people that that rely on us. You know, one of our brokers has got his second kid coming in two weeks. And that weighs on you. So it’s much bigger than just us, and you know, our egos and all those things. So if you keep it in perspective, it always makes it easier to receive process and adapt from critical feedback, if you will.
Jeremy Weisz 21:03
You know, Peter, I want to talk about the evolution of the team, I know for you culture is really important. I even know the clients that you work with, you help them with culture. I mean, through their space, I heard one person say, you know, the way that you help them, develop their space actually has improved their company culture. So I’d love to hear about just from the standpoint of the company, what does the evolution of the team look like as you’ve grown?
Peter Billmeyer 21:34
What a great question. Wow. So culture is everything to us. Our tagline or trademark tagline is real estates or downpayment on culture. And we strive every day to get our clients to understand that instead of looking at your either, you know, debt payment, or your rent payment, as an expense on your p&l, it needs to be an asset. And if leverage correctly, the impact it can have on your company is off the charts. You know, prior to us kind of starting this, you and I are talking about a deal that we just recently completed, which is for signing on. And they’re one of the largest, privately held, if not the, in North America for student housing. And Rob Bronstein is absolutely brilliant. He’s he’s got a great business, financial and real estate mind. And, you know, I’ve watched the evolution of his company, where the deal we just finished was what I’m still kind of shocked. But it was a rehab of an even better space than its current, which to me is still one of the coolest spaces in all of Chicago. And what that really distills down to is, you know, the brass tacks about what it really means to a business owner to a client. There’s a lot of brokers that like to throw around a bunch of stuff about recruitment, and retainment. And it’s all I’m sorry, it’s all a bunch of garbage, it does matter what it’s about when you’re the owner, when you’re the one that’s making payroll and doing all the things, it’s about productivity. It’s very, very, very unproductive, to have a terrible culture, to lose employees and have a revolving door to have people come in, but grudgingly at 830 and run out the door at five, you know, all those things, instantaneously build on each other and pollute and contaminate. So if you can create a physical environment where your team wants to be there and talk about timing, I mean, you know, this is Welcome back, Chicago, we were having this conversation today. You know, we’re hopefully coming out of this pandemic. And if you can create these physical environments, it is the most special thing, because you’re gonna build a culture. Where, Hey, Jeremy, How’s your dad? I heard you have, you know, it’s those magical moments. It’s the silence between notes and music. When you’re in the kitchen, grabbing a snack or doing something, it’s not about the snack, you know, that’s not only as crappy as putting the paper, it’s about human interaction, and we need it. We need it now more than ever. We are so in a mental health crisis, from this pandemic, from being isolated from being under duress and stress, you know, suicide rates. When I’ve been hospital, you know, visits, it’s all just skyrocketing. And, you know, if you look at it, you create an environment where people want to come. They do their work, they get the verbal and even more importantly, sometimes, the visual affirmation of a job well done, that does not exist in zoom. They will never come through With the same type of emotion that it does in person to person interaction. And so when we really look at a client face, we want to be as efficient as possible. We want to try to get the best deal possible. But we want to create an environment where the team is going to come, they’re going to do their work, and they like to stick around. And it’s such an amazing exercise when I will sit with a client in their space where they have never thought of this concept. And they think we’re so lucky in Chicago, they think that we’re just trying to get them to spend more money. And in Chicago, it’s one of the few markets in the country, our Commission’s have absolutely nothing to do with what you’re paying in rent on the office side. And so if you’re paying $75 a foot or you’re paying 30, it’s the exact same feat, but we’ll do a stopwatch. And we’ll say, Okay, what time are people usually allowed to leave? Or what time do people usually leave? Okay, let’s say it’s 530. So we’re sitting there, maybe having a cup of coffee, having a beer or something like that. And you watch people running out that door. And then you take them the next week to a client that trusted you that followed you, that did it right. And it’s 530. And you see someone get up, and they’re like, oh, here, we come out. And they go into the kitchen. And they pour themselves to drink, or they pour themselves a cup of coffee, or they grab, you know, a soda or whatever. And then they go back to their desk. And they’re not always doing work. But that’s okay. Sometimes they’re just, you know, be messing with each other and catching up or chatting or, you know, the more that you can have your team interact with each other, in an environment that’s positive and safe. You just get such a much higher level of productivity. And that distills itself down to recruiting, retaining, and all those different things. So that’s, that’s really the part that we try so hard to educate and instill in our clients. Because we know in the end, that’s going to have the greatest impact on their business with regard to real estate. You walk
Jeremy Weisz 27:05
in, and you’ll see a space differently, obviously, from your clients, because you’ve seen so many spaces, you have a vision of what it could be, what it could be for them. What are some cool things that you’ve done with spaces that maybe the client had no idea was even in the realm of possibility, or they didn’t even think about, when you look back at some of the projects you’ve done?
Peter Billmeyer 27:27
I mean, first and foremost, it’s, it’s the common areas. So the kitchen, if you will, quote unquote, we call it the heartbeat of the space, heartbeat of the of the office. And what that’s meant to really mean it’s not somewhere you go heat up, your, whatever lunch you brought, and you go sit back at your cubicle, or you don’t sit back at your desk and eat your food. It’s the accoutrements, you know, in our office, we have a keg, a kegerator, where we have the most unbelievable nitro coffee. And then we also have, under normal circumstances, you know, a second tap, which is, which is, you know, a keg of beer, if you will, we have pretty much, you know, tend to have a younger staff. But but the kitchen is where we really want to start it. And then from there, we kind of grow out where we look at the common areas with regard to shared offices, the lactation room, the fact that people have not been doing that, for 50 years. To me, it’s just asinine. You know, I mean, as a young mother, you deserve to be comfortable in every way, shape, and form. If you are coming back post, you know, maternity leave, and those kinds of things. We, we try to make sure that we focus on the location, the placement of certain rooms. So to give you a perfect example, a conference room, most people would think I always want my conference room to be very nice, up front, and near my receptionist, sometimes they say, You know what it needs to be near the kitchen, because if we’re going to be serving refreshments, whatever, okay, that’s, that’s fine. But just because it’s been done that way forever, doesn’t mean that it’s right. There are certain clients where they have this energy and this buzz, and this just amazing environment, atmosphere. When you walk in, you’re like, Whoa, what is going on in here? Sometimes, you put that conference room, on the other side of that further back in the office, because when you’re bringing people in, that’s infectious. You feel that. So if you’re bringing in a prospect, you’re bringing, you know, it’s the little details that really matter to us, and always trying to make sure that we think through as many scenarios as possible with regard to our clients. I think it
Jeremy Weisz 30:00
You probably know better than me. But I think in the Walter Isaacson’s book, about Steve Jobs, he paid very particular attention to the layout and the space in the communal area.
Peter Billmeyer 30:11
maniacal he was maniacal about it to the point where he drove people nuts. I mean, he, he looked at architecture and space design with the same conviction as product design. I mean, his book is fascinating about that, I totally agree with you, you know, and to just mail it in, or leave it in the hands of, you know, a building architect, that you just say, Okay, I need seven offices, I need two conference rooms. And here you go. Those days are kind of gone, and they shouldn’t be gone. And, you know, the, as leaders, we really screwed up, to be very candid. Prior to the pandemic, we got greedy. We stopped investing in the right things with our, our teams in the physical space. And it’s like, well, wait a minute. No, no, we, you know, the kitchens were cool Pete like that snacks and all this other stuff. That’s true. But bench seating 110 square feet per employee. I mean, I don’t want to smell what you ate last night for dinner. Because I’m sitting so close to. And by the way, now, post pandemic, it’s so obvious that Jesus, how gross is that? You know, I don’t want you’re sitting there blowing your nose, coughing, and you know, I mean, you gotta treat your employees as human beings. Now, I’m happy and proud to say that we never follow that, you know, everybody that works for us. They have their own beautiful six by six, you know, area, we’ve always allowed them to spread out, we’ve always treated them the way they should be. But that’s kind of a cool revolution that we’re undergoing right now. Leaders are being forced to reevaluate and to reinvest in their spaces to coax that don’t use that, you know, that people back into the office. And it’s been so much fun playing a role in helping to guide that.
Jeremy Weisz 32:00
Yeah, I want to talk about the landscape of commercial real estate. Have you seen a new normal now, or going back to what was before?
Peter Billmeyer 32:07
It is absolutely not going back to the way it was before for maybe ever, maybe ever, you can’t account for the technological shift. That, you know, the pandemic really serves as a catalyst for perfect kind of low hanging fruit example. Take Grandma, Grandma’s grocery shop her entire life. Right, that’s all the dead Renu they are definitely a tech laggard, you know, they’re not some early adopter, well, pandemic hits, they’re forced to figure out what, you know, Instacart, Amazon, whatever, you’ve got it, there are things that you want to do that maybe you enjoy. But if you’re one of those that hates going to the grocery store, and you’ve now figured out, oh, my gosh, the produce is fine. The food gets here, when they say they’re not going back. Those efficiencies, those quality of life decisions are not going back. And I look at the office environment and the Office experience the exact same way. If I had $1, for every time, I’ve heard, you must be freaking out, you must be so worried about your career and your company, you guys are gonna go out of business. I’ve never been worried about it one day, in my life. Because we’re human beings. That being said, we forecast probably 20 to 30% will not come back to the office, and probably shouldn’t. And a very, very simple example of that is I have what I consider to be one of the most phenomenal bookkeepers I’ve ever come across in business. I love her. I mean, I would sit there and go to dinner with her any night of the week she wanted to, I will sit and talk with her. I haven’t seen her in three years. My books get done. They’re perfect. There are times when you know, they’ll jump on my computer screen and we go through QuickBooks, and we’re looking at some things and making sure we’re on the same page. And that’s totally understandable. And that’s okay. But what if you are a younger, aspiring leader? Someone that’s in creative, someone that’s in sales, something that needs collaboration? What do you get? Get on my my calendar for 15 minutes on Zoom? No, we’re going to lose a decade of leaders of future leaders if we don’t get people back in the office. Because coming back to that, the magics the silence between the notes when I walked out my office to go grab or fill up my water or do something and I hear one of my young members. You know, she says something dumb or he says something dumb or it’s misguided. I hear that instantly. And I correct it instantly. And we move on. You cannot manufacture and recreate that via zoom via phone call. And so leaders are having to really think through how they’re designing their spaces, what they’re putting in their spaces. What are they offering to get their teams out? ACC, where they’re going to be located. And I think we’re going to be so much better for it. When you forecast out, three, four years from now, and a lot of these positive changes come, especially in the Chicagoland area, so long as we get the violence under control, because that is a very significant headwind that needs to be taken extremely seriously from not only the business community, which I think is, but but from a complete and total Finnick leadership standpoint, because that is the number one issue that we’re hearing about bringing people back to the office is the fear of the commute.
Jeremy Weisz 35:40
You mentioned people saying, you know, you must you must be worried, you do have you didn’t mention before we hit record there, you see some scary stuff looming.
Peter Billmeyer 35:53
I get scared for the landlords, especially in particular to the office market. We have a considerable I don’t want to call it a perfect storm. But there are some very large headwinds coming for a significant portion of the office landlord community in the Chicago area. You’ve got the combination of amazing new products coming on the market, you still have Lincoln yards hanging out there Project 78, you have the Bank of America building that just came on, you’ve got Salesforce tower, you have BMO Harris, you look at what transpired at the post office. We’re becoming a very bifurcated market of haves and have nots, trophy towers, really great locations, high end amenities, those have been healthy and are continuing to kind of be stable. The buildings that are a bit more antiquated, that we’re not, you know, fully invested in, when you look at companies, whether it’s they’re downsizing, they’re not renewing, I don’t see a huge threat only from downsizing because a lot of companies to my earlier point are actually spreading back out. But when you have a supply demand imbalance rates are going to drop. And why I call it you know, a wonderful bonanza for someone like myself, because I’m only on the tenant side. And we get to be heroes by having a lower cost of occupancy that we get to deliver on behalf of our clients. From a landlord standpoint, that’s really scary. And then now really dig deeper and look at what’s going on. I mean, the Fed just raise rates and other 50 bits yesterday, there’s talk that might even be 75. Come come June. So if the lending markets become less favorable, which is unequivocally happening, you look at the CMBS markets tightening when your mortgage on food, and your 30% vacancy, refinancing isn’t what it used to be. And some of these landlords are going to write checks to get their debt, you know, debt to equity ratio back and balance, and some are gonna throw back the keys. And you do that, that is a very, very painful process for a building. And for that lender, when you do either didn’t do a foreclosure, or goes into receivership because someone is myself, we stopped showing those buildings, there’s too much uncertainty. So you lose that velocity. Someone is myself, we start calling those tenants most buildings, because sometimes it services go down, and you relocate them. So there will be you know, a lot of relocations coming where there’s a cost of accuracy comes down to willing, you know, companies that were in lower and mid tier buildings are going to be able to move up, you know, and still pay the same. So I’m going to be able to just save a ton of money. So we are very bullish, very excited, and super pumped for our model. But there there’s definitely some problems coming for the kind of the more macro real estate environment, if you will. Lots of choices for tenants there.
Jeremy Weisz 39:02
I want to talk about who are what are the ideal characteristics of a client for you? Who’s what does that look like?
Peter Billmeyer 39:12
It’s a it’s a, it’s a tough question. We are we are predominantly industry agnostic. So we don’t do anything in retail. Thank God, we are not good at that. But so long as it’s an office or industrial user, whether they want to buy a building they want to lease doesn’t really matter. But privately held typical revenues are, you know, between a smaller client, you know, just they take 2 million a year in revenue up to our largest client, their holding company does about 7 billion. And, you know, it’s it’s not a lack of resources. With with regard to our abilities, it’s it’s much more the empathetic understanding that As someone that has built a business that signs a rent check every month, you know, those nuances of how you really drive not only the best deal from an economic but just an overall value standpoint, and so if you’re a privately held, and you have any of those kinds of questions, or desires or needs with regard to your, your environment, that’s, that’s who we get really excited to talk to.
Jeremy Weisz 40:25
What did you do Peter with with New Hope Academy,
Peter Billmeyer 40:29
the New Hope Academy is one of those like, truly greatest deals feelings ever. So to Dave and Brandi Lawrence, they are a therapy tool. So you have a significantly larger than any of us with like, part of the population where certain parents for certain reasons, whether it be special needs, whether it be mental, whether it be you know, they don’t fit in some of these schools, right. And the schools, they don’t have the resources, like a normal public school to, to be able to service, this subset of children. And so we found David brandy and an old, just terrible kind of warehouse type building, it was a complete square peg, round hole, they were going to put a gun range in across the street and down a block and you know, so though it feels extremely hard to pull off, you have busing, you’ve got to do vehicle counts, you’re gonna have to get a zoning variance. And then how are you going to find a landlord that wants that used, knowing it’s going to be a bit harder on your building, than say, you know, post grad professionals, then you got to find a landlord that’s going to actually want to pay for the construction. So we move them the space turned out so phenomenal. And their landlord, he deserves a ton of credit, he believed that, um, and they needed each other. It worked out so well, that three years after moving them in, they almost doubled in size, again, based on how positive and I’ll be darned if they’re not almost full. You were talking about the most vulnerable kids in our society that they are the ones being the safety net, and catching and educating and helping and bringing, you know, stability and safety to it’s really not impressive what they do and their commitment to the betterment of society and their businesses, quite frankly.
Jeremy Weisz 42:44
And then what about rock FASCO? And Connolly? What did you do?
Peter Billmeyer 42:51
That’s a that’s a cool one in that. They’re an amazing law firm, a general practitioner, they specialize in a lot of different areas. But it’s what I kind of considered, this was really like rock FASCO and Connelly 3.0. You know, Jay Rock, and Matt Connolly, they they have taken over the firm, it’s their time, they’re growing quickly. They’re investing in their people, they’re investing in their practice, and it was time to invest in their space. And it was a very complex, it was a long process to get the right deal for them. They just moved in on Monday. And it’s gorgeous. The location, the finishes to build out the views. Without a doubt, I’m 100% confident it’s going to have a very, very high positive impact on the things we talked about earlier with their ability to poach and recruiting lawyers, their ability to have them stick around and Bill Maher hours on a weekly basis and, you know, improve that cultural piece. And so I think there’s a lot of wonderful things ahead for for that firm. And you know, moving is brutal. Everybody will tell you that’s done it and they know they’re extremely happy to have it done.
Jeremy Weisz 44:14
You know, Peter with all you have going on with business and family. You are helping out several organizations as well Spinal Bifida organization, the Daniel Murphy scholarship. Talk about those for a second.
Peter Billmeyer 44:30
Spine before I was on, that was a while ago. That was my very first what I consider executive board, spine Association Illinois. A question and connection was probably will forever be my baby. That was on that board for 10 years. I was president for four it’s just an amazing facility up in unincorporated like forest 16 acres 20 Indoor horse stalls out outside, I believe they now have about eight. It’s hippotherapy. So you’re linking up disabled children and adults physically disabled mentally disabled with horseback riding and the impacts on people. Yeah, we can’t even go into it. There’s some of the the outcomes that that I’ve personally seen. I’ve been on the board for four years of Daniel Murphy scholarship fund where we help underprivileged middle school children get scholarships to high school. So we’re right around 500 scholars right now. It’s, it’s, it’s a really impressive organization. After four years, I’m actually going to be rolling off of that and going to take a little bit of time for my family. But the other one that’s super near and dear to my heart is Clearbrook. Where they serve 8000 special need families in Illinois, it’s about a $55 million a year operating budget, policing, predominantly adults in Sillas. So Scylla is a home where you would live with three other typically, if it’s four bedroom, three other special needs adults 24 hour care, and you’re trying to recreate as close to a normal living environment as possible versus one room 50 people feeling more like a retirement home type type situation. They also have amazing day programs for children and for adults. Who they just had their gala last Friday. It’s it’s, you know, it’s it’s a really great place. No different than than misery Korea, if you will. Peter,
Jeremy Weisz 46:41
I have one last question or a combination of there’s a Part A and Part B to this last question. But before we get to it, I just want to thank you. This has been amazing to hear your expertise and the stories and I want to point people to your website, which is Bespokecre.com. Are there any other places online? We should point
Peter Billmeyer 47:01
people to? I’m laughing sorry. We’re going through our whole website review as we speak. Now, I mean, just what we’re regular people, you know, and if there’s one lesson I’ve learned in business, it’s, it’s not what you spend on marketing. It’s not what you say it is. It’s what the people you respect. That’s what your clients, right, that’s your reputation is what they say it is. And so I think you have to have nice marketing materials and look professional, but ultimately, we we can’t do our jobs without getting in the room with our, our clients and our prospective clients. Because we need to see it, touch it, feel it. And, you know, we meet with a lot of people. And that’s a wonderful part of our job.
Jeremy Weisz 47:52
Check out bespokecre.com. So last question. Peter, you know, sports also mimics a lot about life and business. And I think I was I was reading about you online the other day, I think someone from Oregon State or a think tied a record that you sat there of 15 shot I don’t remember the exact number, but you had 15 Plus shout outs and all those in a row or what it was, but I wanted to hear the most memorable game that you had on the bad side. And then on the good side, because sometimes we learn our biggest lessons from the bad ones and they stick with us. So I want to hear the bad game and I want to hear the good game when you look back on your career as a soccer player.
Peter Billmeyer 48:48
Wow. The bad one is still doesn’t believe it, it doesn’t leave you. I can I can tell you that. It still bothers me after all these years even it’s truly kind of laughable. I mean, there’s 2002 in the NCAA Tournament, he’s peers who is the left back for Portland, just more or less was was clearing the balls right before halftime. And in hindsight, it was probably a little laissez faire. And you know, my defender had told me you know, it was away and I’ll be doing but this thing just dropped out of the sky into the upper 90, almost like on a vertical and it was a goal and it was by far the worst time the worst goal of of my career to have given up and I think that the big takeaway from it is humility. You know, I was I was a wreck that night and you feel like you let your entire team down and all those countless hours of work and preparation and and just You know, the the true investment? I think I’m better for it. But But I would be lying if I said that that’s a lesson I really would prefer to have not learned. And certainly not that way. And then, you know, from a positive experience, there’s there’s a lot there. I mean, we we had a special team, we really got to go in my senior year where we ended up finishing second in the Pac 10, which was an arguably the second best conference in the country. Probably beating Stanford in my senior year and overtime at home, because we beat them on the road and at home, my junior and senior year, both times where they absolutely shellacked us, my freshman and sophomore year. So anytime you can get one over on redemption, yeah, they you know, UCLA and Stanford played for the National Championship my, my sophomore year, so it was it was not a lot of fun to lead the PAC 10 and saves all four years. I mean, I I definitely know what it’s like to be shelled to say at least.
Jeremy Weisz 51:13
Peter. First of all, thank you everyone. Check out bespokecre.com and more episodes of the podcast. Thanks, Peter. Thanks, everyone.
Peter Billmeyer 51:22
Thank you so much.