Karen Simon – Commanding Commercial Real Estate!

Emersons Commercial Real Estate Karen Simon

It’s one thing to work in a leadership position and it’s a completely different game to become an entrepreneur. You have to go through a series of challenges, constantly, every single day. Becoming an entrepreneur is a true test of one’s will, perseverance, and endurance. But to be honest it is much much more than that.

In this special edition, we are featuring Karen Simon, President and Managing Partner of Emersons Commercial Real Estate, Tarrant County Division. Karen has truly established herself as one of the pioneers of her field and has brought a revolution in the whole commercial real estate field. 

She is an inspiration to countless, and especially to all women who feel that some industries are not meant for women. The Enterprise World commends Karen and her entrepreneurial spirit for what she has achieved is truly remarkable!

Real Estate like never before – Emersons Commercial Real Estate

Emerson’s Commercial Real Estate management LLC was founded by Richard Webb, a banker with a background in real estate, and Matt Price, a CPA with a background in real estate. The company’s base of operations is in Dallas, Texas.  

Emersons Commercial Real Estate is a sophisticated team of real estate professionals dedicated to providing you all the benefits of an in-house real estate management operation – without the typical overhead, expense, and issues associated with employing your staff. Their experienced team offers professional property management services to owners, developers, and 1031 — Tenant in Common investors. 

Emersons Commercial Real Estate employs professionals with backgrounds that span the real estate spectrum. With expertise in property management, construction management, accounting, banking, and finance — they understand the broad dynamic of modern property acquisition, ownership, and management. 

Their services can be individually tailored to allow our clients to be as hands-on or hands-off as they like. From full-service management services, including property management and construction management to single solutions like accounting and financial processing, Emersons Commercial Real Estate can design a management program that suits your business. In addition, they have expanded, now offering brokerage services for buying and selling a range of properties.

The journey of Emersons Commercial Real Estate

Emersons Commercial Real Estate has been pushing past an astounding growth rate each passing year. During their 15+ year journey, they fared through heavy waves and storms, but it is the company and its team’s persistence and dedication that led them to success. 

The company faced several challenges during its initial years such as creating rapport with the clients, securing a solid and loyal clientele, and also growing its services and standards alongside.

Emersons Commercial Real Estate not only established its success but also expanded over the years, setting up offices in Oklahoma City, Austin, and Houston, multiplying its range and portfolio, making sure they are always ahead of its client’s expectations, market demands, and the competition in the market.

During the Covid-19 pandemic when It was difficult to lease space because people were not going into their offices. They were not shopping and a large portion of Emerson’s business centered around retail leasing and sales.

It was an economic hindrance during the primary time of COVID. As a management company, they had to work with tenants who had difficulty paying their rent. So for Emersons Commercial Real Estate itself, some were very definite cost issues in handling all the expenses they ordinarily do.

But this did not stop them from dedicating themselves to making sure that not only the company but also the clients grow with them. All these factors mixed with the class apart services range of Emersons Commercial Real Estate brought them out of these challenges as true leaders of their business, and one of the most respected players in the industry.

Factors that triggered the growth of Emerson’s Commercial?

It’s the experience of the leadership team, a banker and a real estate broker, that set the company in a direction that proved to be highly successful and full of opportunities. The team’s willingness to work hard, long hours, and work well without any compromise brought them recognition throughout the Real Estate industry. 

The explosive growth kicked in when Kroger decided to outsource their property management, which is somewhere north of 2,800 properties. They wanted to work with those companies with whom they had good working relationships. So, they went together and formed a partnership as opposed to competing against one another.

“I think I would say that any successful company, uh, works well with others. It has people on board that understand the operations of the real estate business and their willingness to share with others” – Karen Simon, President, and Managing Partner at Emersons Commercial Real Estate

The list goes on, so it’s a mix of a lot of things that have made Emersons Commercial Real Estate to be one of the most sought-after and looked upon property management companies.

Service arsenal of Emersons Commercial and what sets them apart?

Emmerson Commercial is into the sale of real estate, and leasing for retail, industrial, and office product types. In sales, they offer shopping centers, office buildings, land, and industrial investment properties. They also provide real estate management between them and partnership(s). 

Today, they’ve got close to a hundred million square feet of management. They also provide consultation for accounting, real estate management, etc.

They have created a platform to do partial management. They provide consultancy on a feed basis as opposed to simply handling the sales or leasing. We’re a full-service real estate company.

There are very few companies besides them that fall into their category. “If you have experienced people if you understand the market that you’re trying to work in if you are fair in your dealings with others, you’re going to rise in the marketplace”, Karen adds.

In the minds of clients who hire them, if you have good software, if you are willing to reach out to your clients and go the extra mile, the extra step clients don’t ordinarily expect, these are the factors that set them apart, and make them one of the best in the field, and always ahead of the competition in the market.

This is not a one-off thing to Emersons Commercial Real Estate, as there are a lot of times through the years when a client requires an extra effort on their part, and they make sure they always do and in that exceed the client’s expectations.

How Emerson Commercial Real Estate takes its services ahead with the ever-changing times and trends?

There’s always a new trend around the corner. So, we make sure that we stay ahead of the curve, educating ourselves constantly, and trying to keep up on what’s going on in the marketplace. For example, when interest rates are going to rise, we try to see how that will affect their clients.

Whether it’s in leasing or sales or management, they try to stay updated with what’s going on in the marketplace. They try to stay technologically advanced as possible. If they have to upgrade their software, systems, or anything, they make sure it lands up as their number one priority.

Taking the company and its name ahead – Leadership at Emersons Commercial Real Estate!

Karen started her professional journey right out of college as she graduated with an undergraduate degree in political science, and went on to get a master’s degree. She became the first female to be hired in the Tarrant county community college system in the field of liberal arts. She taught for five years in the history and government departments.

Karen continued to stay in a doctoral program and didn’t want to accept tenure because she felt that if she did, she would get too comfortable to move on and explore other avenues. She discovered the most benefit lie in working for the federal government, which gave credit in the workplace for experience, as far as your education was concerned.

So, she sat for the civil service exam and qualified as a GS 14, 15. She made applications to the federal system, to the department of housing and urban development. She worked there for four years, as a special assistant to the regional administrator and then executive assistant to the regional administrator for a five-state region. Her responsibilities included handling the department of public affairs and intergovernmental affairs and general communications.

One day she got to know that if you qualified to hold a real estate broker’s license in the state of Texas, but didn’t have a salesman’s license, you could sit for the exam. If you’re qualified to be a broker, it could prevent a conflict of interest.

So, she applied and passed the broker’s exam and could hold a real estate license and was therefore licensed in the state of Texas without having any responsibility to anyone other than herself!

And in the course of the next six months, she met a gentleman that headed the industrial division statewide for Henry S. Miller, the largest real estate company in Texas and then, the fifth-largest in the United States. They were looking to expand in Texas and also they had no women heading any commercial department within the company. Women were working in the residential divisions but not in the commercial department. 

They offered Karen a job to start an industrial division in the Tarrant county office. She took their offer in 1983 and stayed with them for six years. During this time, she was the only female in the industrial real estate business in the Dallas Fort Worth area. But, also got the highest results for the industrial division in the Dallas Fort Worth area. 

After Henry S. Miller, she went to work in a partnership called the Real Estate Group, a minority-owned company called R.E. group advisors, Inc. where she owned the majority of the stock, also, With the government in charge of the real estate market, it was advantageous to be a woman or a minority-owned company. 

This experience got her the opportunity to expand from industrial real estate to learn more about retail, office land, and certainly land. She went on to join Woodmont company in 1996, and there too, was a pioneer as she started an industrial and a land division for the company.

Later in 2003, Karen was offered the opportunity to start a real estate office in Fort Worth for a company called the Bradford company, which primarily did industrial and office. Most of its clients were institutional people like large insurance companies. She worked there from 2003 to 2014, and left because of her entrepreneurial spirit, she wanted to start a company of her own!

Emerson’s offered her this opportunity and so in 2016 formed a partnership with Emersons Commercial Real Estate. This allowed her to not only be the managing partner but to be an owner.

Then there was no looking back for Karen, and she dedicated herself, crunching all her diverse experience and expertise to make Emersons Commercial Real Estate one of the most revered and undisputed pioneers of the real estate field!

Karen’s views on constant vigilance as a need or a strategy?

I think we need to be vigilant and always remember that you have to protect the interests of people that you work with and who work for you. 

Even though you would like to have handshake deals, you have to take the time and make the effort to commit to writing as much as you can so that it can prevent issues.

And then the work that you do, you have to be vigilant!

How does Karen handle the competition in the market?

You have to make the effort if you want to maintain a good relationship and it’s more difficult for women than it is for men, because so often when men stand up for themselves, they say, It’s just following a good business practice.

When it’s a woman she’s too aggressive. Uh, she’s too pushy that that gender difference still exists, but you do need to, as a female, stand up for yourself, but at the very same time, need to treat others fairly, and hopefully, it will come back to help you in the long run.

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