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Small entrepreneurial firms offer outstanding learning opportunities, Hines CEO C. Kevin Shannahan told Kellogg students at an April 15 Executive Speaker Series lecture.

Kevin Shannahan

‘People are better teammates here’

The Kellogg Executive Speaker Series offers real-estate leaders such as Hines CEO C. Kevin Shannahan a chance to connect with students

By Rachel Farrell

4/20/2009 - Kellogg students planning careers in real estate received some encouraging words during an April 15 Executive Speaker Series talk at the James L. Allen Center.

“We recruit heavily from Northwestern,” said C. Kevin Shannahan, executive vice president and CEO of the Midwest/Southeast/Canada/South America regions of Hines, an international private equity real estate firm with about $43 billion in assets under management. “One of the reasons why we like Northwestern is that we find people are better teammates here. That works for us.”

Shannahan is the latest executive to participate in the Executive Speaker Series, an informal luncheon program that invites leading real estate executives to share their perspectives on leadership, investment management, competition and personal development with Kellogg students. The series was initiated in May 2004 by the Zell Center for Risk Research and the Guthrie Center for Real Estate Research, and is now run by the Kellogg Real Estate Club and Kellogg Real Estate Program. The first speaker featured in the series was Sam Zell, then-chairman of Equity Group Investments LLC.

Since joining Hines in 1982, Shannahan has helped develop and manage real estate projects representing in excess of $10 billion. He grew Hines’ Midwest/Southeast regions from 7 million square feet and 100 employees in 1990 to 70 million square feet and more than 900 employees today. Shannahan also leads Hines’ human relations program.
Shannahan urged students to seek employment at small entrepreneurial firms — the ones that don’t necessarily come to campus to recruit — because they can provide great learning opportunities. “You’re at a critical stage to pick a group or firm to work for,” he said. “[Some of] those entrepreneurial firms will blossom over the next five years.”

The 2008-09 Executive Speakers Series has also featured Casey Wold, senior management director and head of the Midwest, Atlanta, Boston and Washington, D.C. regions for the firm Tishman Speyer; Perry M. Pinto, principal of Walton Street Capital LLC; Anthony Manno, CEO, president and chief investment officer of Security Capital Research & Management, Inc.; and Bruce R. Cohen, chairman of the board and CEO of Wrightwood Capital.