Profile of a CRE Marketing Executive – DJ Sandler

Posted: March 14, 2017 by Doug Shankman – Regional Director, West Coast CREXi


DJ Sandler joined commercial real estate powerhouse JLL in 2015 after a very successful four-year tenure at Raytheon Company as the Deputy Director of Communications (#117 on the Fortune 500 in 2016). Now as Vice President of Marketing for the West Coast at JLL, the Seattle native has brought his data-driven, multi-channel marketing approach to another Fortune 500 company (#436 in 2016). Based in Downtown LA, I had the opportunity to catch-up with my old friend and colleague and learn more about him, JLL, and his views on the commercial real estate market and more.


DS: In the constantly changing brokerage landscape, JLL has stayed relatively consistent and focused on their core business. What do you see changing – if anything – during the next chapter of your storied company?

DJS: In my opinion, the next chapter at JLL will be defined by the digital and data revolution. Real estate has been slower than most sectors to feel the full transformational effects of digitalization – think of banking, retailing, and travel and how they’ve been dramatically altered by smartphones and online businesses. You really don’t have to look farther than CREXi to see all of the potential. The real digital opportunities for real estate are still to come. JLL is investing significant time and money with the goal of becoming the clear digital leader in real estate services.


DS: What role do you see tech playing in the commercial real estate landscape over the next ten years?

DJS: In ten years, I don’t think tech will be playing a role in the CRE landscape, it will be the landscape. Even in a built environment such as ours, we cannot ignore the trends and changing needs of B2B. After all, B2B is still driven by the people that make up those businesses. As a result, businesses will demand the same benefits from technology as the consumer: convenience, accountability, expertise, end-to-end solutions and transparency – any time of the day, all at their fingertips.


DS: You came to JLL following a very successful career at Raytheon. What similarities have you found within the commercial real estate and defense contractor industries? What glaring differences?

DJS: Both industries are driven by a core set of big players, which means sometimes you go up against them head-to-head on a pursuit and sometimes you might end up partnering on a deal. Reputation and integrity matter because you never know who you might be on the phone with a week from now.


DS: You have a data-driven approach to your craft. What piece of data or information about how marketing materials are disseminated and received do you think would surprise most people?

DJS: Data driven marketing is all about business development and revenue producing solutions. Many marketing organizations broadly circulate material, cross their fingers and wait to see who comes back – almost like throwing spaghetti at the wall to see what sticks. That strategy is expensive, unpredictable and hard to prove value. Through data-driven marketing, I know who my prospects are. This allows my team to develop targeted, relevant and engaging materials for a core set of decision makers. When marketing plays a role in converting prospects into customers it’s incredibly rewarding and allows us to justify our extended value in an organization.


DS: Without the blinders of a deep background in Commercial Real Estate, what inefficiencies do you see in the industry that sometimes surprise you?

DJS: Perhaps there’s a trend in my responses here, however I was surprised at the dependence on traditional quarterly reporting, which is valuable but is also less forward looking. With the incredible amount of data currently available, I’d like to see a shift towards more real-time reporting. What’s the narrative today? How can we help our customers make good decisions based on the latest market information right now? The speed of economy is increasing and our customers will eventually demand us to keep pace.


DS: Most of our early interviews have been with east-coasters so your west coast markets have been underrepresented. What is your favorite food city?

DJS: If you’re a foodie, pick a weekend and book a flight to Portland, Oregon. Hit the food carts for lunch, Pearl District for dinner, and the microbreweries in between.


DS: What piece of advice do you carry with you (or first that comes to mind)?

DJS: I try to spend the majority of my day looking forward; it’s helped me and my team focus on the art of progress instead of trying to perfect the past.


DS: If money was of no concern and you were proficient at any skill you chose, what career would you have chosen if you could start over and do anything?

DJS: I’ve never parted with my childhood rock and mineral collection and often think I could have been a famous Geologist, if there is such a thing.


DS: What trend or fundamental do you think the market-herd is overlooking when analyzing the commercial real estate market?

DJS: In my experience, the ‘herd’ has embraced and successfully leveraged financial and real estate indicators very well. However, we partner with JLL Research very closely to study broader economic and industry sectors to identify up and coming trends in the market, specifically on the west coast. By doing so, we can get out front and meet the needs of both occupiers and investors in a new or developing vertical.


Profile of a Legend – The Gambler, Steve Wynn

Posted: March 3, 2017 by Eli Randel, Director of Business Development




“Money doesn’t make people happy. People make people happy.”


Steve Wynn has built an empire worth an estimated $2.6B with serendipity and entrepreneurial grit.


Born in New Haven, CT in 1942, Wynn would eventually graduate from University of Pennsylvania with plans to attend Yale Law. However, Steve’s father passed away before his UPenn graduation leaving him with $350,000 in gambling debt which forced him to take over and operate the family’s many Bingo Parlors mostly surrounding Wayson’s Corner, Maryland. Wynn would expand the business before moving his family to Las Vegas in 1967.


It was in Las Vegas that Wynn entered the casino business by buying a small stake in the Frontier Hotel and Casino with the profits he eventually made in the family business. By 1971, Wynn had managed to profit enough from the Frontier and several well-orchestrated land deals to gain a controlling interest in the Golden Nugget Las Vegas. Through a series of renovations, he would attract high-end clientele to the Golden Nugget and would increase his stake to become the majority owner by 1973. In 1977 Wynn opened the casino’s first hotel tower which would be followed later by several more hotels. Around that time, Steve built a lasting friendship with the Sinatra family before focusing east towards Atlantic City where he developed the Atlantic City Golden Nugget which he would later sell for $440MM.


Wynn would go on to build the Mirage, the Bellagio and several other well-known hotels and casinos before selling his company, Mirage Resorts, to MGM Grand for $6.6B in 2000. He would then form Wynn Resorts Limited which he would take public in 2002 becoming a billionaire two years later. Most of Wynn’s empire was built with his ex-wife, Elaine, who he would marry twice and who sat on the board of directors for 13 years. Today Wynn is remarried, an active art collector, and was also the inspiration for Andy Garcia’s character in Ocean’s Trilogy.


Wynn’s rise to prominence can be attributed to his smarts, honesty, big vision, guts, a strong support network, and of course some luck.



“Keep it simple. Tell the truth. People can smell the truth.”

“This office is smaller than the last one I had. I’m not trying to impress people. I want to be close to them.”

“Other people’s successes are good news – for them and for you. Good for you because they show you a way to go.”

“If I complain about a traffic jam, I have no one to blame but myself.”

“Change is not threatening.”

“I am a self-made brat.”