The FORT Podcast: Mark Brooks – COO @ Permanent Equity – Managing, Serving, & Incentivizing People

Mark Brooks is Chief Operating Officer and Co-President of Permanent Equity – a firm that invests with no intention of selling in small and medium-sized private businesses. In his role, Mark and his team are responsible for the operations of PE’s 13 (and counting) portfolio companies spanning multiple industries including aerospace, construction, manufacturing, ad tech, and professional services.

On this episode, Mark & Chris discuss:

➡️ what makes a great and a terrible manager

➡️ how Mark manages owners of acquired businesses

➡️ how to create alignment and incentives

➡️ why Management is not a Trade


Listen on:
Apple Podcasts



(00:03:05) Mark’s career at AOL and The Motley Fool

(00:08:21) What is a good manager and what is a bad manager?

(00:11:29) What does your role look like at PE?

(00:17:37) What’s the cadence of communications with the businesses under PE?

(00:23:14) Are there cues in conversations with owners of a potential acquisition that put a deal in question?

(00:25:07) Do any of the businesses you buy already have a board in place?

(00:27:03) How do you handle owners who may not be as open to being managed?

(00:31:22) How do you incentivize owners differently than other Private equity shops?

(00:39:22) The ‘Working with Mark’ document

(00:43:41) Management is not a trade

(00:48:53) Do you agree that people leave managers, not companies?

(00:51:23) What’s the difference between a Manager and a Principal?

(00:56:03) What do you use in addition to personality tests to identify talent?

(01:01:11) How do you play out a scenario when you have two equals in a business and need to have one move up to manage the other?

(01:07:23) How do you know you’ve struck a balance between being too flat and being too management-heavy?

(01:12:17) How do you create alignment and incentives for teams that may not necessarily be impacting the bottom line?

(01:22:39) Why are incentives so much easier to understand in hindsight?

(01:27:34) What should the communication cadence between managers and teams look like?

(01:30:39) True Management is an inversion


Episode Summary

In the ever-evolving sphere of the real estate industry, Mark Brooks emerges as a beacon of knowledge and strategic insight. His recent interaction with Chris Powers in a compelling podcast episode offers listeners an unparalleled deep dive into the nuances and intricacies of real estate dynamics. Mark’s extensive experience and his commendable journey in the field have solidified his stature as a leading voice in the domain.

The episode unfolds with a spotlight on Mark’s substantial contributions to real estate. His achievements are not just a testament to his expertise but also to his ability to adapt and stay ahead of the curve. Throughout the conversation, Mark emphasizes the essence of adaptability, highlighting its crucial role in navigating the ever-shifting terrains of the real estate market.

A significant portion of the discussion orbits around the themes of investment strategies tailored for real estate. Mark, with his methodical approach, elucidates his methodologies for evaluating potential deals. He underscores the need for a meticulous market analysis, balancing it adeptly with intuition. This segment is a veritable guide, offering listeners a pragmatic approach to identify and capitalize on investment opportunities while adeptly navigating the inherent risks.

Market trends, undeniably central to any real estate discourse, are dissected with precision. Mark’s comprehensive analysis of the market’s trajectory shines a spotlight on emerging sectors and the challenges they entail. His insights resonate with both novices and seasoned professionals, providing a clear roadmap for understanding and leveraging market dynamics. Further, his emphasis on the transformative nature of technological advancements in construction within real estate offers a fresh perspective on the sector’s future.

Mark’s business strategies, marked by adaptability, resilience, and an in-depth understanding of market dynamics, form a cornerstone of the episode. He delves deep, sharing anecdotes and experiences that highlight the challenges and strategies pivotal for success in this competitive arena. His tales are not just stories but lessons, equipping listeners with the tactics needed to carve a niche in the expansive world of real estate.

As the episode progresses, the broader implications of market trends and their overarching influence on real estate are elaborated. Mark’s insights, complemented by Powers’ astute questions, craft a narrative that offers a holistic understanding of market dynamics, growth trajectories, and potential challenges.

The episode also offers listeners a candid glimpse into Mark’s entrepreneurial journey. His tales of challenges, triumphs, and the invaluable lessons learned along the way resonate deeply, emphasizing the tenets of perseverance, adaptability, and the relentless pursuit of knowledge.

Concluding the episode, Mark’s reflections on the future landscape of the real estate market underline the podcast’s value. The discussion on potential growth sectors, the looming challenges, and the strategies vital for future success underscores the episode’s significance in today’s dynamic real estate environment.

In essence, this podcast episode with Mark Brooks stands as a monumental resource for anyone vested in the real estate industry. The amalgamation of Mark’s expertise and Powers’ incisive questioning ensures that listeners walk away equipped with a wealth of knowledge, strategies, and insights, all tailored for success in the real estate domain.


The FORT Podcast with Chris Powers is a place where you can find meaningful conversations about entrepreneurship, real estate, investing, and more.

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The FORT is produced by Johnny Podcasts

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