Timothy Meissner and Jerry Jacquet, principals of the commercial property management firm that bears their surnames, enjoy an easy camaraderie of two men celebrating 20 years in business together and looking forward to spending another 20 doing what they love.
Meissner and Jacquet met in 1979 when both were leasing agents fresh out of college. Meissner was at John Burnham & Company and Jacquet was at Coldwell Banker (now CB Richard Ellis).
“We were competitors that worked well together,” Jacquet said.
By 1992, the savings and loan crisis had turned financial and real estate markets upside down. The firm where Meissner had been working was being sold to a New York-based company that wanted him to relocate, and Jacquet’s position as a sales manager at the La Jolla office of CB Richard Ellis (NYSE: CBG) was being eliminated. Jacquet credits the idea of starting a property management company to Meissner.
“It was really out of a need to support our families and an opportunity that we saw in the marketplace to provide a service — property management — at a more sophisticated and serious level than we knew was being provided by anybody at the time,” Jacquet said.
Meissner said the concept of providing executive level experience for the same management fee was uncommon at the time. In April of 1992, the fledgling company of Meissner Jacquet began collecting national clients and sophisticated developers, according to Meissner, and the company’s growth exploded.
Now, 20 years later, their commercial property, construction and asset management firm has grown to 35 employees managing a portfolio of more 8.5 million square feet throughout Southern California, Sacramento and parts of Arizona.
Their partnership is a traditional sales representative and operator model. Jacquet runs point on business development, identifying business opportunities and bringing them in the door. Meissner applies his development, leasing and business operations experience to set the company’s direction. Together they have 66 years of experience in commercial real estate and maintain a client list 60-deep, including Qualcomm Inc., Morgan Stanley, Port of San Diego, Clarion Partners, Prudential Real Estate Investors, Coast Income Properties and H.G. Fenton Company.
They attribute their successful partnership to a shared philosophy.
“We are family oriented. We have a good deal of integrity, a good work ethic and we’re focused,” Jacquet said. “We don’t let income — either great or little — determine who we are or how we do what we do. We create a business plan through Tim’s efforts, get the business through my efforts, and we have a very strict approach to life: Treat others fairly, and have a great deal of integrity.”
The firm is celebrating its 20th anniversary with two parties to thank three groups of people. A party at Harry’s Bar & American Grill in May brought together staff and more than 100 past and present clients from both Hong Kong and all the major financial centers in the United States. A second party at the company’s corporate office in June gathered staff, vendors, broker friends, and other supporters, without whom the partners acknowledged they wouldn’t be able to do what they do so well.
During the downturn, amidst a deathly quiet commercial real estate market, Meissner Jacquet intelligently used resources and technology to make buildings and companies more efficient. They identified services and added value by integrating energy management and sustainability practices into their property management systems.
Already involved in vendor oversight, tenants and leases, and handling client monthly accounting and reporting, adding energy benchmarking, performing energy audits and energy profiling, and reporting the results was a natural.
The company now has a fulltime LEED accounts payable person heading an energy management and sustainability division. Literally plowing new ground, they’re working with companies who build electric cars and those who build electric car chargers to get the chargers into the ground.
“It’s amazing. None of them actually know how to get the chargers into the ground on the property owners’ property,” Meissner said. “That’s where we come in. We have experience dealing with property owners and tenants. It wraps into our property management system on a very sophisticated level.”
Those seeds of forward thinking sowed 20 years ago are still being reaped today.
“The ownership of today is extremely sophisticated, and they’re looking for sophisticated property managers they can partner with,” Meissner said. “The days of hiring someone and having to oversee them are gone. They’re engaging professionals to provide professional services at a very high level, and it’s really peer-to-peer. Our clients want to be challenged with thought process.”
It’s clear that the firm’s 20-year milestone is but a step along the way, an opportunity to celebrate and give thanks, but also to plan for the future.
“We really dig what we’re doing,” Meissner said. “We think we’re doing a great job, and our clients think we’re doing a great job, so why stop?”
For Jacquet, that means competing hard for business and winning it. He’s in talks with multiple companies that, in the next 30 days, could bring in as much business as they’ve done in the past six months.
“We’re on a growth path, and we have no intention of slowing down,” he said. “We’re here for a long time. We’ve have had the same ownership for 20 years and a company that’s going to continue on in the same fashion for the next 20 years.”
Added Meissner: “We’re just getting fired up.”