Kevin Yates has been with Allegro since 2009 and became a partner in 2015. He lives in University Heights with his wife Maureen, their son Brendan (2.5), and their daughter Morgan (11 months). When not at work, Kevin loves going to see live music, attending Indians and Cavs games and spending time with his family. Let’s get to know him a little better!
Where did you go to college, and are you doing today what you thought you’d be doing then?
Miami University and no! I intended to go to school to be an architect, changed course and studied for a career in finance. I suppose I chose a career that you can argue incorporates both concepts.
Describe a typical day at the office.
A typical day tends to be about half in the office and half out. While in the office I would typically be having internal project team meetings, reviewing leases/purchase agreements, reviewing architectural studies and plans or making phone calls. While outside of the office I would be meeting with clients to discuss status on current projects and strategizing about next steps, attending new business pitches, or networking over coffee/lunch/drinks.
Why did a career in commercial real estate appeal to you?
Commercial real estate was appealing to me because it is a blend of so many different disciplines. It requires highly developed financial skills, an understanding of real estate law and implications, sales/marketing and negotiation skills. It is also a very entrepreneurial field that I believe allows you to chart your own career a little more than other scripted career paths.
What deal/project are you most proud of?
We won Office Transaction of the Year a few years ago on a project I spearheaded, on behalf of our client the Austen BioInnovation Institute in Akron (ABIA). It was a nice win for the firm since there were a number of high profile and public transactions that year. This incredibly challenging project took me out of my comfort zone in a number of ways. I managed not only the public and private partners on the project, but also a capital stack that was constantly evolving. I learned a lot of lessons throughout that project that I carry with me today.
What characteristics do you think make someone in your field successful?
One of the mantras we have at Allegro is “Distilling complexity into clarity.” It is the ability to take what can be incredibly complex matters and communicate the issues and solutions in such a way that our clients, who usually aren’t real estate experts, can make informed decisions. Our clients outsource their real estate projects to us because they trust us and understand real estate isn’t their core capability (nor should it be). The combination of having the technical skills required (financial/legal/etc…) and being a great communicator is very powerful, and more uncommon than you would think. The job also requires an organized mind, and by that I mean the ability to juggle and manage what is seemingly a hundred balls in the air on each active project. But at the end of the day, it is earning our clients’ trust over and over again that will ensure our success.
What is your favorite thing about working at Allegro?
The impact we can have on our clients and their business. It is incredible to me that real estate can so often be an afterthought to many C-suites, and yet it generally is in the top two or three items on the expense ledger. A proactive rather than reactive approach to an organization’s real estate portfolio can make a profound difference, both organizationally and financially. Successful conclusions to projects can often times be a-ha moments for our clients.
What makes Allegro different from other brokerages?
More than anything, the familial and collaborative atmosphere we were able to create and maintain throughout our growth. There tends to be inherent roadblocks to collaboration in our industry, and at the end of the day it is the client that suffers most from that environment. Our team is comprised of professionals with a very diverse set of educational and experiential backgrounds. We have lawyers, MBAs, a Naval officer and even individuals with science and engineering backgrounds. We all think and are able to look at problems very differently. We all just happened to have chosen the same profession, and when you get us all in a room our clients benefit. My clients don’t just get Kevin Yates, they get our whole firm.
Are you involved in any philanthropic initiatives?
I am currently a member of the Cleveland Bridge Builders Class of 2016 and I sit on the board of directors for the Visiting Nurse Association of Ohio.
Where would you love to vacation (with no budget or time constraints!)?
Now, while my kids are young, I would probably like to take my wife to some remote destination where we could unplug and only pack t-shirts, shorts and flip flops. When my kids are a little older, I would like to tour America in an RV (this has not been cleared by my wife).
What’s your drink of choice?