Terence Spillane, the director of global media relations for commercial real estate giant Cushman & Wakefield, suffered a fatal heart attack on June 26 in Manhattan. He was 52.
“Terry very much represented the face of Cushman & Wakefield,” says Bruce Mosler, CEO of New York-based Cushman & Wakefield. “People respected Terry on the basis that he was always consistent, was always truthful and most of all was always willing to go the extra mile on behalf of the firm and the people within the firm.”
Spillane served as Cushman & Wakefield’s liaison with reporters for two decades as the company grew to become a $2 billion enterprise spanning 221 offices in 58 countries. He enjoyed a reputation among journalists as a top-notch public relations professional who returned calls promptly, arranged interviews quickly and made sure reporters had the information they needed.
Part of Spillane’s job was to keep executives on target in their communications with the media. “I would always enjoy going to interviews with Terry because on the way he made sure to run me through everything I should say on behalf of the firm,” Mosler recalls. “He wouldn’t allow me to go before the cameras until we had clearly made sure what the objectives were.”
Spillane understood where reporters were coming from, having worked as a sports writer for the New York Post. He transitioned out of reporting and into media relations when he went to work as an assistant publicity director for Yonkers Raceway, followed by a stint as an assistant commissioner of the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference.
While his career moved away from athletics, Spillane’s passion for sports and baseball in particular never faded. Whether the topic was his beloved New York Yankees or his alma mater’s Iona Gales, baseball was his favorite subject. “He would always remind me each year when the Yankees were off to a slow start that the team didn’t heat up until the summer,” says Matt Valley, editor of National Real Estate .
“Terry’s sudden passing was a real jolt to me,” says Valley, who had spoken with Spillane about a real estate study Cushman & Wakefield was launching just hours before his death. “Terry was really proud of the company he worked for and it showed in the way he carried himself. He also had a distinctive voice that made it clear he was all New York.”
Spillane was known affectionately as “Bulldog” at Cushman & Wakefield for his persistence and professional success. Colleagues described him as warm with a gentle spirit and a strong sense of fair play. “He worked with some of the most difficult personalities in this business, and each and every one of them loved Terry and knew he was working on their behalf,” Mosler says.
Spillane is survived by his wife, Mary Ann, and daughters Carolyn and Kate. The family and friends gathered for a funeral Mass on Monday at Saints John and Paul Roman Catholic Church in Larchmont, N.Y. Burial was in Gate of Heaven Cemetery in Hawthorne, N.Y.