Pinkard selects Gillece to help him run the firm

President: David Gillece is only the second person outside the family to hold that title at the real estate firm Collier Pinkard.

March 26, 2003|By Meredith Cohn | Meredith Cohn,SUN STAFF

For the first time since Walter D. Pinkard Jr. took over the family real estate firm in 1982, he is officially sharing top management duties. Pinkard chose David M. Gillece, an executive vice president, to be president of Collier Pinkard effective today.

Pinkard, 52, will remain chief executive officer and chairman and will continue to give direction to the firm, which has had a hand in many of the region's largest and most prestigious companies' moves. He will take on Gillece as a partner in running the 250-person firm, which operates three local offices and two in North Carolina.

"The primary role of president of the firm is business development, and now I have the business development and the CEO pieces," Pinkard said. "There's a feeling that the tasks need to be separated."

The move marks the second time someone from outside the family has been president at the 80-year-old firm, which offers services including brokerage, asset management and consulting.

Colliers Pinkard, one of the region's largest real estate firms, averages about 175 transactions a year and counts among its clients brokerage Legg Mason Inc., insurer St. Paul Cos., law firm Piper Rudnick LLP and Catholic Relief Services. The company does not release revenue figures.

Pinkard said Gillece, 53, is a natural fit. He has been at the firm for nine years and was head of Colliers Pinkard's corporate services operation. He was already one of 22 shareholders of the firm.

"This will allow us to more nimbly respond to the marketplace," Gillece said. "We really had more opportunity than we could effectively handle with the singular guy in the corner office."

Gillece said he does not expect much to change in the culture or operations of the company. With the economy in a slump, no new offices are planned. And workers at the firm will still work in groups and be paid salaries and bonuses. That isn't the case at traditional real estate firms, which assign a lone broker to a client and pay him or her on commission.

Clients and competitors consider Gillece thoughtful, capable and low key.

"We chose them about 2 1/2 years ago to help us in finding out new home," said Ray Peloquin, a vice president at architectural firm RTKL Associates Inc., which moved from the central business district to Inner Harbor East.

"David brings a knowledge base of not only the needs of the tenants, but the political situation in the city. He's able to give a total overview of everything the client needs to know because he understands the city from more than just a real estate perspective."

John McLaughlin, chief executive of DAP Inc., said Gillece helped the sealant manufacturer move to the Can Co. in Canton and helped it find separate distribution space in the county.

"We moved DAP from Ohio to Baltimore in March 1998, and David was very instrumental in facilitating our move," he said. "We searched numerous locations, and when we narrowed our choices to Baltimore, he was instrumental in finding us space and working with Struever Bros. [Eccles & Rouse Inc.] in developing the space. And he helped us work with the state and the city, too. We were unfamiliar with the market at the time, and we got everything from him."

Robert Manekin, a competitor of Colliers Pinkard, said of Gillece, "He's a skilled real estate professional who also has experience in running and managing a corporation. He will do a wonderful job."

Before joining Colliers Pinkard, Gillece ran a consulting firm, Gillece & Assoc. for three years. From 1988 to 1991 he was president and chief executive of Baltimore Economic Development Corp., the precursor to Baltimore Development Corp.

He also held several positions at the Greater Baltimore Committee and is on the boards of several civic organizations.

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