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Thomas Smith gains traction in competitive market

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Employing the values of vision, passion, tenacity and results, Thomas Smith has achieved national and international recognition throughout his 25 years in the commercial real estate arena.

Thomas Smith

Smith began his real estate career with CB Richard Ellis in Phoenix in 1980 and found early success as a multifamily broker specializing in both existing projects and land for development.

During his brokerage career he won many awards for sales excellence, which led him to write his first book, "Winning in Commercial Real Estate Sales -- An Action Plan for Success," released in 1990 and today still on the recommended reading lists of many major brokerage firms.

He joined the ranks of CB Richard Ellis' senior management team in late 1990 as senior vice president/director of professional education.

Smith was the architect and leader of CB University, which became the benchmark for sales and management training for the commercial real estate industry. He introduced professional education programs for a select group of CB's major corporate clients and later developed management and leadership programs for many of the executives who lead CBRE today.

He was promoted by the chairman of CB at that time, Jim Didion, to the position of executive vice president and given the additional responsibilities of marketing, corporate communications and change management.

Thomas was recruited by Arthur Andersen and quickly became a partner with the firm in charge of integrated strategy, marketing and brand development for the worldwide real estate and hospitality practice. His work at Andersen was recognized by firm-wide leadership and outside associations for its creativity and results in brand development and innovative sales and marketing practices.

His company San Diego Real Estate Investment Corp. began a partnership with Richard Lund, founder of Biltmore Holdings based in Phoenix, in late 2003 with the mission to identify and develop significant sites for office and industrial projects throughout San Diego County.

The results of their collaboration can be seen today with Biltmore Ocean View Hills in Otay Mesa, an 87,500-square-foot industrial condo for sale project completed in October; Biltmore on Palomar in Carlsbad, a 95,000-square-foot build-to-suit for 24 HR Fitness' future Shared Services Center and state-of-the-art health club, slated for completion in summer 2007; and Biltmore at Bressi Ranch, a 108,000-square-foot, 12-building office project in Carlsbad slated for completion early in the fourth quarter of 2007.

Smith is currently pursuing new development and acquisition opportunities in Las Vegas and other select markets in partnership with Ken Satterlee of St. Croix Capital Corp.

He attributes his fast start in the San Diego market to the generosity, support and advice of many local developers, including Satterlee, Mike Murphy and Charlie Abdi, as well as John Bailey of Lusardi, Mark Read from CBRE, Scott Cairns of SmithConsultingArchitects and Bill Ballard of Burnham.

"I am still a relative newcomer in commercial real estate development, but the support of many people in the business in San Diego -- and of course, the willingness of Dick Lund to show faith in me by bringing the financing, his reputation for successful projects and other support -- enabled my ability to get traction in a highly competitive market," said Smith.

Smith and his wife, Julie, together with their dog Kona, live in Rancho Santa Fe, Calif., where they share a passion for gardening, skiing, biking, reading and the beach.

He still finds time for two of his favorite passions, professional speaking and senior level strategy facilitation. Smith also serves on the board of Home Aid San Diego, is a member of NAIOP, and serves on the building committee for Casa de Amparo.

Submitted by San Diego Real Estate Investment Corp.

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