The FORT Podcast: Chris Powers & Drew Pearson – Build a REPE Operating Company

Drew Pearson, Managing Partner at Pearson Partners, began his commercial real estate career at Latter & Blum in Baton Rouge in 2008. He moved to a boutique firm named Waters & Pettit in 2011 and within a few years became a top-selling agent there. To date, he has sold over $100MM dollars of investment property in more than 15 states. In 2015, he began to work at the real estate private equity firm Promanas in Ann Arbor, MI. There he served as head of acquisitions helping the firm grow to over $250MM of real estate asset value. He considers his time at Promanas instrumental in his growth and development process.

On this episode, Drew and Chris sit down for a live mentoring session on how to build a REPE operating company. They discuss how to go from 4-5 people to 20, the benefits of bigger deals over smaller deals, and how to create leverage in your business. Drew ends this session by asking Chris the things he would teach himself 5 years ago. Enjoy!

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(03:36) – Honoring Friendships

(05:28) – Drew’s Evolution Since Meeting Chris

(06:29) – What are some major hurdles people have when going from 4-5 employees to 15-20? 

(11:47) – Setting Goals & Always Refining Your Process

(19:22) – The Dark Side of Pursuing Greatness

Relentless by Tim Grover

(24:05) – Drew’s Background in Real Estate

(27:29) – The New Language of the Next RE Cycle

(41:03) – What are some roadblocks you see young GPs make as they advance in their careers?

(49:58) – What were some big leverage points in your career?

(55:37) – How do you cultivate your relationships?

(1:00:15) – Thinking and Reflecting vs. Consuming Information

(1:06:10) – What’s the biggest challenge you’re facing right now?

(1:11:44) – What advice would you give yourself 5 years ago?

Episode Summary

Drew Pearson, esteemed for his unparalleled expertise in the realm of real estate, joined Chris Powers on an enlightening episode of the Fort podcast. Pearson’s profound insights stem from years of hands-on experience and a keen understanding of the intricacies of real estate investment and development.

The episode commenced with an exploration of the challenges associated with diversifying asset types within the real estate sector. Pearson emphasized the difficulties of maintaining commitment and expertise when juggling multiple asset types. He drew a parallel with Tiger Woods, highlighting the significance of specialization and dedication. Just as Woods became a legend by focusing solely on golf, real estate professionals can excel by honing their expertise in specific asset domains.

Pearson then delved into the growth trajectory of his company, with a special emphasis on the expansion of storage facilities. From starting with a handful of facilities to the potential of doubling the company’s size, Pearson’s journey showcased the importance of strategic planning, market understanding, and seizing lucrative opportunities.

The duo also discussed the nuances of scaling a real estate business, touching upon the transformation from a small team to a larger, more structured organization. Pearson and Powers elucidated the challenges of transitioning from a deal shop, where roles are multifaceted, to an entity with clearly defined responsibilities. Pearson candidly shared that not every real estate entrepreneur aspires to own thousands of buildings, indicating the value of recognizing one’s niche and excelling within that space.

Shedding light on the integration of technology, the conversation underscored the need to view technology not merely as an end but as an enabler. Modern real estate businesses harness technology to augment their decision-making capabilities, ensuring that investments are backed by comprehensive data. This holistic approach to technology fosters a competitive edge, equipping firms with the tools to navigate new markets and identify potential investment avenues.

Pearson also highlighted Fort Capital’s prowess in market diversification. He claims its agility to pivot, recognize opportunities, and act with decisiveness underscores their forward-thinking strategy. Coupled with cutting-edge methodologies, such dexterity grants them an expansive operational canvas, stretching beyond regional confines.

One of the episode’s insightful segments revolved around Fort Capital’s student housing project near TCU. With ambitious fundraising targets and a clear vision, the initiative exemplifies the firm’s commitment to value creation and steady cash flow generation for investors. Pearson emphasized the firm’s modus operandi, which hinges on direct capital raising followed by astute real estate acquisition and management.

The Fort is produced by Johnny Podcasts

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