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 covered."

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 relationships.

"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 successful."

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 opportunities.

"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 well."

Source: Design Develop Construct Journal (DDC)

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