Last month Roger Staubach, 65, handed off his title as CEO of the 13th ranked U.S. commercial real estate firm, according to our sister publication NREI.
Retail Traffic: Why have you chosen now to step down as CEO?
Staubach: I want to get more involved in the strategy of where we want to go. The operational side is not my forte. Our company has grown over the past 30 years and we have people in place to take us where we want to be in 10 years. They are better suited to make sure we don't miss anything. As chairman, I will be devoting more of my time to our customers.
RT: Why did you decide to pursue real estate after you retired from football?
Staubach: I had worked in real estate in Dallas during the off-season for seven years at Henry S. Miller Company brokering deals. I had a BA in engineering, but I didn't see myself doing that. I knew I wanted to stay in real estate.
RT: Was there one person responsible for getting you started?
Staubach: Henry S. Miller Jr., the son of the founder of Henry S. Miller Company. I worked with a class group of guys and gals there. Mr. Miller was a mentor to all of us. He kept my interest with real estate. If he hadn't … I don't know.
RT: Staubach Companies' mantra is “user representation.” How does it distinguish the firm in the marketplace?
Staubach: On the industrial and office side of the business we only represent the user. If you own the building, [there] is a good likelihood of a conflict of interest when you're trying to put someone in there. However, it's different in retail. In retail the customer wants a solution so we have developed some retail sites. Currently we're working on 10 to 12 retail/residential projects in markets including Mobile, Ala., Phoenix and Tuscaloosa. And, we're developing 425 acres on Royal Island in the Bahamas. Retail is probably our fastest growing business.
RT: What's your view on the state of the retail real estate industry?
Staubach: There's a lot of money out there. It's a sellers' market. It's positive if you're an owner. And, if you've just bought a building you have to hope that the rent increases will keep pace. I've seen many markets in my 30 years. It's a fascinating cycle, even to me an old veteran.
RT: What are the transferable skills of being an NFL quarterback and running a real estate firm?
Staubach: The most important skill is getting the right people in the right places. Teamwork is essential. You can't do it all by yourself.
RT: Several former Dallas Cowboys have followed your move into real estate. Troy Aikman, Keyshawn Johnson, Michael Irvin and Emmitt Smith. Is there some correlation to that?
Staubach: As an athlete there are a lot of things that are transferable. But, you can't just go from being an athlete to running a business. They all have great qualities. They know they have to work hard to pay the price to be successful. If you're a really successful athlete, it's hard to transition to not making that kind of money. They have to be patient.
RT: Do you miss football?
Staubach: I played flag football the other day. My arm is still okay. I could play in the NFL for a quarter or as soon as someone hits me … then, I'm done.