Developing Leader Spotlight: Building a Company and Local Communities

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Personal connections have been key to John Drachman entering the commercial real estate industry and establishing his own business. A recipient of NAIOP’s 2015 Developing Leaders Award, Drachman has been a NAIOP member since 2007, serves as co-chair of the Property Investment Perspectives National Forum, and is a member of the Industry Trends Task Force and the National Forums Advisory Committee. In his role as the president/founder of Stillwater Investment Group, he is responsible for the firm’s investment and asset management activities. During his career, he has successfully executed over $350 million of value-add and opportunistic real estate acquisitions and has led the asset management efforts on a portfolio of properties with a net worth of over $750 million. Read on for more about what drives and inspires this remarkable Developing Leader.

NAIOP: How has being a member of NAIOP helped your career?

Drachman: NAIOP has helped me do two major things which have helped my career: It has helped me understand the business and learn from some of the top people in the industry on how the business really works. It also has greatly improved the relationships I have within the industry both on a local and national basis. Without NAIOP, I do not think I would have been in the position to start my own real estate investment firm.

NAIOP: What are some of the most rewarding aspects of your job?

Drachman: I love building a company from scratch and seeing my projects come together to provide value to my investors and to the local communities in which they are located.

NAIOP: Who has been an inspiring or influential figure in your life?

Drachman: My great-uncle Roy Drachman grew up in Tucson, Arizona, did not graduate from college, and did not start his real estate career until his 40s but had a remarkable career. He has inspired me in my own career to remember that it is not where you start, but where you finish.

NAIOP: What advice would you offer to other young professionals in commercial real estate?

Drachman: Find a great mentor in the business, never stop learning the business, and start building relationships in the business from Day 1.

NAIOP: What is your dream vacation destination?

Drachman: My wife and I love to travel a lot and I think our next bucket list trip is to New Zealand.

This is part of a series of profiles of NAIOP’s 2015 Developing Leaders Award recipients, who have distinguished themselves through exceptional commitment and contributions to the industry. This prestigious award was presented at NAIOP’s Commercial Real Estate Conference 2015 in Toronto. Read about all of the honorees in the Winter 2015/2016 issue of Development Magazine.

Taylor Cotton