Insights | May 6th, 2019

Austin’s new generation of real estate pros find lessons from their sporting lives

Ut athletes blog
Share

It’s not unusual for athletes and sports superstars to get involved in real estate. Roger Staubach may be the most famous of all in the creation of the Staubach Co. that launched thousands of commercial real estate careers.

Locally, some big names that come to mind are former MLB pitcher Huston Street and former NFL running back Jamaal Charles.

What’s really amazing to me are the college all-stars locally who chose real estate as a profession and are finding that their athletic skills and team participation set them up for business success.

ATX Real Estate News sponsor Austin Title counts Chris Kemp among its talented ranks. Kemp leads commercial business development at Austin Title.

Chris Kemp

At 6-feet 8-inches Kemp utilized his impressive wingspan to glide and chop through water with amazing speed, earning 12 All American titles as a member of the University of Texas swim team.

“I had the honor of swimming for legendary swim coach Eddie Reese, who has won 14 NCAA Championships at Texas,” Kemp said.

His dedication to the sport and to his team has already paid dividends during his real estate career.

“The biggest thing that I gained from swimming under Eddie was resilience. A bad practice, a bad swim at a meet, a disappointing finish to a season, all of those things were part of the sport. How you react and come back from those moments are important to being successful in the pool,” Kemp said. “I’ve had similar experiences in the real estate world. The key is to get up the next day and keep putting in the work, learn from your mistakes, and maintain the confidence that the results will come.”

In Kemp’s business development position, building relationships is a key aspect of building client trust. Learn more about Chris here on LinkedIn.

Chris’s daily networking has put him touch with many other athletes who now compete and collaborate in the world of real estate. I reached out to several of them to learn how sports impacts their careers.

Andrew Dick

Director of Acquisitions, F&B Capital

Andrew Dick


University of Texas basketball
Bachelor’s degree in finance, 2013

How did you end up making real estate your career?
My initial interest in real estate came from a class I took at UT taught by Joseph Cahoon, and I was fascinated by the way types of real estate shape communities and neighborhoods. Being in Austin, I could see the rapid growth and expansion happening around me, and I eventually wanted to be a part of that growth. Candidly, at the time buying buildings sounded much more exciting than buying bonds.

What about your participation as a college athlete helps the most in your real estate career?
While being a college athlete had its many perks, it required a significant time commitment and a ton of hard work. Ahead of games and even new seasons, there was an intense focus on strategizing, scouting and planning to ensure we were fully prepared. My coach at the time, Rick Barnes, preached “doing your job” and focusing on all those little details that your “job” entails. This work ethic and preparedness foundation has carried through to my professional career. In real estate specifically, the more data points you have at your disposal, the more detail-oriented you are — especially on the acquisition side — the better the outcomes.

Furthermore, my time at UT has afforded me a large network of former college athletes who are also in the real estate field. This extends beyond UT alumni to other colleges, as there’s comaraderie given the shared experience. Almost all of these guys are willing to give advice, share experience or have a causal conversation about the local and national markets. Learn more about Andrew here on LinkedIn.

Brad Buckman

Senior associate, AQUILA Commercial

Brad Buckman


University of Texas basketball
Bachelor’s degree in education, 2006

How did you end up making real estate your career?
I played basketball overseas in Europe for about 8 years before I decided to move back to Austin. I was born and raised in Austin, so I was excited so many people and companies decided to make my hometown theirs. I knew I wanted to be a part of Austin’s incredible growth, get to know the newcomers and build relationships, take part in helping shaping the new Austin, and find a way to use the skills I had learned in my professional sports career to serve businesses. Being a tenant representation broker for AQUILA has helped me accomplish all of those goals.

What about your participation as a college athlete helps the most in your real estate career?
Being a college athlete helped me out in so many ways. Just like sports, real estate is very competitive and you’re a part of a team/business. At AQUILA we are very competitive and team-focused, which really fits with how I work best. Also, during my time at UT, we were one of the best teams year after year. I learned so much about competition and how to build a great team. Those lessons have help me greatly in my real estate career. And like being a Longhorn, at AQUILA I know my teammates are the best of the best. Learn more about Brad here on LinkedIn.

Buck Cody

Principal, Endeavor Real Estate Group

Buck Cody


University of Texas baseball
Bachelor’s degree in English with a business minor, 2005

How did you end up making real estate your career?
My stepfather suggested that I consider getting into the real estate business as it was/is a field where one’s preparation and effort – and subsequent performance – directly impacts his/her career trajectory (i.e. no ceiling). I asked Tommy Harmon (one of my former coaches at UT) if he could make any meaningful introductions for me to key people in the industry and he connected me to David Roche – one of the founders of Endeavor. I met David and the Endeavor partners in the fall of 2005 while I was still playing minor league baseball and eventually interned at Endeavor during fall 2006. I started full time April 1, 2007, and have been here ever since.

What about your participation as a college athlete helps the most in your real estate career?
Above all I learned that I would rather be a solid team player on the winning team vs. being a star player on a losing team. At UT I was surrounded by players, many of them more talented than I was, whose skill sets, attitudes, leadership styles, and expectations were either complimentary to or in line with mine. Our teams at UT benefited immensely from great chemistry, teamwork, and culture, and that combined with preparation and luck routinely led to both winning and a real sense of accomplishment for me personally. Fifteen years later the same holds true professionally, where here at Endeavor I am one of a sizable collection of individuals with different personalities, skill sets, interests, and beliefs who wake up every day excited to come to work and put the overall best interests of the team — in this case firm — and our partners ahead of any individual success or recognition. Just as was the case at UT, this team-first mentality and approach – coupled with tremendous effort, preparation, and some luck, has led to a considerable amount of fun and very measurable personal satisfaction. Learn more about Buck on the Endeavor website.

Case McCoy

Senior managing director, HPI Tenant Advisors

Case McCoy


University of Texas football
Bachelor’s degree in kinesiology with a certificate in real estate, 2013

How did you end up making real estate your career?
I was fortunate to know several people in the business and did some internships/shadowing during my limited time off. I really enjoyed my classes while working on my real estate certificate, and ultimately landed at HPI.

What about your participation as a college athlete helps the most in your real estate career?
To be a successful athlete at the highest level, you have to put in the extra work and time, have a competitive spirit, and be a strong leader/team player… all strong attributes for brokers as well. It is an “eat what you kill” mentality in both worlds and that is why you see so many ex-athletes get into the business. Learn more about Case on LinkedIn.

Chris McColpin

Senior director, HFF

Chris McColpin


University of Texas basketball
Bachelor’s degree in business administration and master’s degree in accounting, 2002

How did you end up making real estate your career?
I always had an interest in real estate, stemming from a couple of supporters of the basketball program who were in the industry while I was playing. As I was transitioning from coaching college basketball I wanted to find a career that could be fulfilling on both the personal and analytical side. I was fortunate to get connected with HFF through some family friends and the relationships I built from being part of the basketball program. 14 years later the people that helped me get my career after basketball started are still part of my professional life, including Jody Thornton (President of HFF) who I am thankful for since he gave me an opportunity to build a career in commercial real estate.

What about your participation as a college athlete helps the most in your real estate career?
I think being a college athlete helps any young person transitioning into a professional career. Playing sports in college is basically a full-time job, and one that entails a lot of travel and time management. The commitment to being the best at not only your sport but to try and excel academically was definitely instrumental in allowing me to build a career in real estate. HFF is such a team-oriented company that it feels like I am still part of a great team every day I come to work. Learn more about Chris on the HFF website.

JD Lewis

Office leasing, HPI Real Estate Services & Investments

JD Lewis


University of Texas basketball
Bachelor’s degree in communication with a business minor, 2008

How did you end up making real estate your career?
I’ve always been fascinated by commercial office buildings and felt I could succeed in the business with the right direction. During my transition from sports talk radio I spoke with a handful of commercial real estate firms and HPI’s culture reminded me of all the basketball teams I’ve been a part of in the past.

What about your participation as a college athlete helps the most in your real estate career?
Being a college athlete is such a grind, but it teaches you to be relentless. It’s not always about who’s the smartest or most talented — if you work harder than others, you can find success. Learn more about JD on LinkedIn.

Kyle McCulloch

Senior associate, Stream

Kyle McCulloch


University of Texas baseball
Bachelor’s degree in communications studies, 2011

How did you end up making real estate your career?
Multiple friends/teammates from UT were in the industry (Seth Johnston (Lincoln Properties) / Buck Cody (Endeavor) / Todd Gilfillan (Lincoln Properties)). When I transitioned from professional baseball and finished my degree it seemed like a good fit.

What about your participation as a college athlete helps the most in your real estate career?
Relationships created at UT (see above) and learning how to manage failure. Coach Garrido always spoke about staying within a process and not chasing results. With baseball being a game of failure and getting more no’s than yes’ in CRE, it translated well into an approach that has been fairly successful while keeping me sane with the ups and downs of this business. Learn more about Kyle on LinkedIn.

Kyle Peco

Associate director, FourPoint Investments

Kyle Peco


University of Texas basketball
Bachelor’s degree in economics 2007, master’s degree in finance and accounting (Southern Methodist University), 2012

How did you end up making real estate your career?
I have always been drawn to the tangible aspect of real estate, and the creativity needed to acquire, renovate and develop commercial real estate properties. I have focused the bulk of my career on capital markets as a former construction lender turned multifamily broker. In my role I get to work with developers, investors, lenders and other professionals all of whom bring a unique perspective to real estate, which is what makes my job so fun.

What about your participation as a college athlete helps the most in your real estate career?
I would have to say that my experience as a walk-on basketball player at UT proved to me that with enough perseverance anything is possible. If you would have told me that I would have ever been on Texas’ basketball team I would have laughed at you, but I guess anything is possible if you put yourself in the right position. Learn more about Kyle on LinkedIn.

Ryan McClurg

Development analyst, Endeavor Real Estate Group

Ryan McClurg


University of Texas basketball
Bachelors degree in finance, 2018

How did you end up making real estate your career?
I took a chance on exploring an industry that I have always found intriguing and I ended up really enjoying it.

What about your participation as a college athlete helps the most in your real estate career?
College athletics taught me how to work within a team and understand individual’s strengths and talents. Real Estate is a very team-oriented business in which you need a great team in order to be successful. Learn more about Ryan on LinkedIn.

Todd Gilfillan

Vice president tenant representation, Lincoln Property Co.

Todd Gilfillian


University of Texas baseball
Bachelor’s degree in corporate communications, 2009

How did you end up making real estate your career?
I had a lot of good friends and family that I looked up to that were involved in real estate. However the two biggest influencers were my parents. They had their own real estate companies while I was growing up and that allowed me to see both the pros and cons of the industry firsthand. My father is a single family residential land developer, and my mother is a residential sales agent. Instead of going into the land side of the industry like my father, he nudged me to go get involved in the commercial side. After Jimbo Cotton (McAllister and Associates) called Derek Lewis (Lincoln Property Company) and left him a voicemail about hiring me, I was brought on board and it turns out office tenant representation was a great fit for me.

What about your participation as a college athlete helps the most in your real estate career?
There are a lot of Augie’isms (UT coaching legend Augie Garrido) that come to mind I could plug in here that translate well from the baseball field to the office environment. In my opinion one of the best things I learned during my time playing baseball at Texas is the ability to control what you can control, and let the rest go. Baseball is a game of failure and many variables, but when you control everything that is in your control, your chances for success increase significantly. The same is true in real estate. Learn more about Todd on LinkedIn.




Back to all posts

The Latest Austin Title News

AREN favicon thumb
News | Oct 14th, 2019

ATX Real Estate News — Oct. 14, 2019

Lincoln Property represents WeWork in Rainey District development; meet the irrepressible Jay Lamy; what about Austin’s homeless debacle?

AREN favicon thumb
News | Oct 7th, 2019

ATX Real Estate News — Oct. 7, 2019

WCC faces new lawsuits; Moton Crockett passes at 96; More on WeWork, Amherst Holdings, 2020 Austin Parade of Homes

Hotel Van Zandt living room
Insights | Sep 21st, 2019

Can Austin sustain unprecedented pace of hospitality expansion?

Even with nearly 1,700 rooms delivered this year, the average occupancy rate is a superb 77 percent, the highest in the state, according to Source Strategies, a hospitality research and data firm based in San Antonio.