Houston - ONCOR International has a new president and CEO, thanks to the recent naming of David Ball to that position. Ball replaces ONCOR'S most recent president and CEO, Stephen Jaggard, who has taken on I the challenge of a new position as presidential managing partner at Weston Development in Houston. Ball, 36, joined ONCOR in 1993 and has served as a senior vice president.
Recently NREI caught up to Ball for a brief question and answer session.
NREI: Why were you chosen to lead ONCOR?
Ball: I've got a very good history with ONCOR, and I know the CEOs and the ONCOR managers well that run our organization. I've been working with them for three years. And I've been in front of their clients regularly. In a system where you have 45 companies it's important that you get somebody who's well accepted who's thought highly of. I think it was a pretty natural choice given my history with them.
NREI: What did your previous experience teach you?
Ball: I worked in a business development capacity in the eastern and central regions for ONCOR, and that was spending the bulk of my time helping our companies to grow their client relationships, to develop the multi-market business component of those relationships. And I interfaced with our European companies as well in terms of business that came from North America over to Europe. So it gave me a lot of exposure to our top clients and helped expand those relationships. That was the basis for the regional position.
NREI: What is your greatest strength? What do you bring to the table that someone else might not?
Ball: Probably the fact that I have very strong relationships within our system and also strong relationships outside of our system that would apply to both institutions and corporations. At the same time, I'm fairly process oriented, so from the standpoint of helping to manage the global entity and from the standpoint of strategic planning and the things that go with a management position, I think I bring both of those things to the table.
NREI: What items are you addressing immediately?
Ball: The most pressing thing is our international sales meeting coming up at the end of the month for all of our 45 companies. We're taking a very strong look at our European organization. We've got several companies in place over there and I want to make sure we're giving them the same sort of resources that we do to our North American companies in terms of research and business development and support. We're looking at key expansion into some different areas, but really we're looking at what markets we should be in, not trying to really be all things to all people.
NREI: How important is your expansion internationally?
Ball: All of our customers expect us now to move with them and provide seamless service whether we're doing business with them in North America or in countries outside North America. They very much expect to be able to take their service provider and have them move with them as they expand. That definitely applies to Europe, southeast Asia, to South America. It will begin an expansion probably in to the Eastern Bloc of Europe because that's a very emerging area for a lot of companies. Markets such as the former Soviet Union are becoming a priority. South Africa as it begins to emerge and grow. These are the areas that offer opportunity for companies worldwide where in their own marketplaces they may be slower growth or even non-growth. So we have to give our customers a very good feeling that they don't have to go to multiple service providers but can come to one service provider worldwide.
NREI: Are you also seeking growth nationally?
Ball: We feel like in the major hub markets that we have the dominant companies. We have companies like Jackson-Cross in Philadelphia, CARTER in Atlanta Edward S. Gordon in New York, Cornish & Carey out in Silicon Valley. Those are the top providers in those markets. In some of the secondary markets where we don't have ONCOR companies we will be expanding over the next 12 to 24 months. We're taking a look at markets such as Indianapolis, Memphis, Kansas City. Markets that are growing but aren't necessarily the major hub. But here again that will be done very strategically. We're not trying to proliferate dots on a map, we're trying to go to the markets where our customers demand that we go, and the markets that are emerging as good secondary hubs.
NREI: What is the No. 1 benefit for an ONCOR member?
Ball: We very much rely on the strength of our individual companies, at the same time coupling that with an organization that brings a continuity and a cohesiveness to that individual strength. We very much still believe that real estate is a local business, but at the same time, you've got to be part of an organization that gives you a regional, a national and an international perspective, and also puts some standards on performance. That's what ONCOR does.
Our greatest strength is the relationships that our key brokers have at our individual companies in their marketplaces and I don't that think that will ever change. That's still how business is done.