June 2013

Earning Trust

By Dave Petersen, CEO

The largest commercial and industrial management company in Chicago,
NAI Hiffman offers a full range of asset management services complemented by a
talented and dedicated team.

“Like all successful companies, the people are always
the foundation of the organization and its success story,” says Dave
Petersen, CEO of NAI Hiffman. “I think we have a great group of teammates
who deliver all of the day-to-day pieces for our investor clients. From
brokerage to investment sales to property management, we have all of the bases

NAI Hiffman manages more than 300 buildings. The company’s
entire portfolio is third-party owned, and 92 percent of the square footage is
institutionally owned. The company offers a local focus and keen knowledge of
the Chicago market.

“We remain locally owned and operated, so our
leadership group is right here in Chicago with us,” Petersen says.
“The culture and the approach to conducting business are viewed every day
by the employees and the brokers of the company. There is a high success rate
with merging our culture with our service to the customer. All we do is focus
on our clients in the Chicago marketplace. That is our sandbox, and 100 percent
of our energy is placed on successful outcomes from other customers.”

The firm is affiliated with NAI Global, which provides
access to market insights, connections and national and international

“We have the NAI Global Network, so when our customers
go outside that Chicago radius, we have the ability to serve them,” says
Petersen. “It’s a nice combination of the national footprint with the
local leadership structure, making quick decisions that are grounded in strong
market knowledge.”


Petersen, along with many other members of the NAI Hiffman
leadership team, joined the firm in 2006. Since then, NAI Hiffman’s portfolio
has grown from 6 million square feet and 32 buildings to the current 57 million
square feet. The members of the firm’s management team brought many strong
relationships with clients, and NAI Hiffman brought on new clients.

“I think that the customer is hungry to be treated not
as an account but as someone valued as more than an account number and a piece
of business in a piece of geography,” Petersen says. “We are not
relying on written monthly reports to be our contact point. We have personal
relationships developed. I think that’s incredibly important to building on
that theme that we are always trusted to do what we say we will do.”

NAI Hiffman uses a privately owned flat management structure
to create an efficient flow of services. According to Petersen, strong communication
between the firm’s leasing brokers and the management team has resulted in
great success.

“We have done an excellent job of merging two
disciplines together—the management services group and the leasing brokerage
side of the company,” he says. “When you get those two groups working
in sync for the benefit of that investor client, the outcomes are much more

The firm has earned the trust of its clients with its
results, they have an over 85 percent retention rate, and NAI Hiffman clients
continue to do repeat business with the firm as they acquire new assets.

“It remains and will remain a highly competitive
marketplace,” Petersen says. “The relationships and that personal
touch give you a head start, but you still are being measured in the eyes of
your customers by the success stories that you can tell and the results you have
created in previous assignments.”


Petersen says that much of NAI Hiffman’s success and ability
to satisfy clients points back to team members at all levels, and the firm will
continue to search for top brokerage talent and explore new acquisition

“We have invested heavily in the growth of our office
management and leasing, so we anticipate growing that over the coming years and
taking a bigger piece of the pie in that arena,” Petersen says. “We
continue to look at strategic opportunities to possibly acquire some business
lines that could add to our platform. That could be brokerage companies, it could
be management companies here in this market and it could also be some sideline
businesses such as maintenance operations.”

NAI Hiffman will remain true to blending strong local knowledge
and focus with national connections.

“We continue to look regionally to how we can further
serve our existing NAI Global affiliates in the Midwest with some of the
services that we are providing to our portfolio here in Chicago,” Petersen
says. “There are a number of back- room operation support services that we
could transfer to other markets, so we are exploring those opportunities as

Source: Design Develop Construct Journal (DDC)

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