When he was an eighth grader in Cunningham, Kan., Tony Thompson took an aptitude test that revealed his true calling. “My number one aptitude was not attorney, or CPA, or minister. It was real estate salesman.”

Some 50 years later, Thompson is the CEO of Irvine, Calif.-based Thompson National Properties, which manages 17.2 million sq. ft. of office, retail and industrial space. The company, which has grown rapidly since November 2008, provides asset management services for institutional and high-net-worth clients.

One of the pioneers in the tenant-in-common (TIC) industry, Thompson launched Triple Net Properties with four employees in 1998 and grew the company to more than 6,000 employees.

The TIC model, which allows small investors to acquire a fractional interest in institutional-grade assets, became popular among Baby Boomers looking to avoid the hassles of being landlords.

The parent company of Triple Net Properties — NNN Realty Advisors — entered into a reverse merger with Grubb & Ellis Co. in mid-2007. Thompson became chairman, but resigned several months later after a disagreement over the direction of the company.

The 63-year-old has entered into a joint venture with The Dawson Co., based in Atlanta, to form Thompson Dawson Real Estate Services. The focus will be on providing asset management, receivership, consulting and development services with a suite of products tailored for public-sector clients.

The Dawson Co. has experience in distressed real estate. The company served as a special appointed workout company during the days of the Resolution Trust Corp.

“There is a wave of receiverships and foreclosures in process right now,” says Thompson. That creates myriad opportunities for service providers.

Meanwhile, the U.S. General Services Administration is on a mission to have more of the buildings it leases be LEED-certified in order to meet sustainability requirements, emphasizes Thompson.

“The government is growing, the government never shrinks. And all of these government-occupied buildings are going to have to be converted by somebody to be LEED-certified.”