5 For Friday with Gail Bowden of Sperry Van Ness Commercial Advisory Group

Gail Bowden | Senior Investment Advisor | Sperry Van Ness Commercial Advisory Group
Gail Bowden | Senior Investment Advisor | Sperry Van Ness Commercial Advisory Group

This week, our 5 for Friday features Gail Bowden, an Advisor with Sperry Van Ness Commercial Advisory Group based out of Sarasota, Florida.

1. What is your geographic market and product specialty?
My major geographic market is Florida, with Manatee, Sarasota, and Charlotte Counties being my sub-markets. I have also co-listed with other SVN Advisors on various projects outside of Florida. My specialty is in coordinating and completing complex commercial transactions with multiple players and many moving parts, such as when dealing with a 1031 exchange. I find this type of transaction interesting and challenging at the same time. It is always very rewarding to bring a complicated deal together for my clients. I have a significant amount of experience in dealing with venture capital, project finance, construction, and development.

2. What’s your latest best practice tip that you can share?
My best practice tip for Advisors is to utilize innovative thinking and collaboration. From a client relations perspective, I would recommend finding ways to nourish your relationships through embracing all the tools technology has given us, such as social media as a means for establishing greater relationships with existing clients as well a strong web presence for attracting new clients. If you are not very tech savvy, outsource it. You have to be where your clients are, and the importance of making yourself visible on the web will only increase with time.

3. What’s been the biggest change over on how you run your business in the past decade?
I would have to say technology has had the biggest influence on how I run my business as well as being a great contributor to my success. In fact, technology is changing the way everyone does business and has become a driving factor behind the shifting landscape of the commercial real estate industry as a whole. Technology has caused a major paradigm shift in regard to just about every aspect of our lives.

4. What business book do you like to recommend to your colleagues?
“Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway”, by Susan Jeffers

5. What’s a fun fact that not everyone knows about you?
Not everyone knows that I am a grandmother of two amazing grandchildren in Utah. They are an absolute joy and I frequently travel to see them just about every two months. It may also come as a surprise to most that I recently completed a 120-mile ride from Orlando to Sarasota on a Tandem bike with one of my SVNCAG coworkers, Bruce Dilges. I like challenging myself and trying new things. I always say that I will try just about anything at least once.

*All Sperry Van Ness offices are independently owned and operated.

Office Spotlight: Sperry Van Ness Commercial Advisory Group in Bradenton & Sarasota, FL

This week, we turn the spotlight on Sperry Van Ness Commercial Advisory Group with offices in Bradenton and Sarasota, Florida.

Tony Veldkamp, CCIM | Managing Director | Sperry Van Ness Commercial Advisory Group
Tony Veldkamp, CCIM | Managing Director | Sperry Van Ness Commercial Advisory Group

1. What has been your strategy for growing your firm and also your market share?
We are very fortunate in our tertiary market to not have any other national commercial brokerage brands with a presence here.  The big firms dabble in our market from Tampa, but our biggest competition is three strong independents and a Coldwell Banker firm.  Commercial agents in our market were seeking a pure commercial real estate firm with national strength and power, but that was still very entrepreneurial and could adapt to the local market.  So Sperry Van Ness was a great fit for them.

My advisors are my best recruiters.  When they are out in the market they keep their ears open to hear of any agents with good talent, who might be looking to make a move.  They all believe in synergy and “activity begets activity”.  So they do not hesitate to bring someone of good quality, and reputation, to my attention.  Reputation and dealing fairly are very important attributes at our office.

Our market area consists of three counties with ten different cities to work in.  So while we have our main office in Sarasota and a branch office in Bradenton to show good market presence in those two counties, we will expand to add a branch office in our third county so no property is further than 30 minutes from any office.

2. What are some of the unique activities you do to motivate your team? 
Well you have to be self-motivated to be in this business for sure.  But I do believe in accountability.  I’m constantly questioning my team on their deals, market area, and specialty to have them constantly thinking about how to improve their business.  I also introduce “out of the box” ideas to get them thinking about alternative ways to seek new business.  I make prospecting suggestions and show them potential holes in the market that they can take advantage of.  But ultimately it is up to them.

 3. What’s been the biggest challenge in running your business in the last few years?
Since we are only in our 3rd year as a group working together, one of the biggest challenges has been budgeting.  Determining what services we can afford to provide to our agents based on the split arrangement we agreed upon.  We are now able to look back at the past two years and arrive at something everyone is comfortable with.  Also since we only take on experienced agents, and we’ve had tremendous growth there in the past two years, a challenge has been trying to figure out how much coaching each agent will accept, what they need, and what they don’t need.  Some folks you just need to stay out of their way, but be there when they need to bounce ideas off of you.

4. How many Advisors/Staff did you have when you joined SVN? How many (in total) do you have now? 
When I joined the group there were nine advisors and two staff in one office.  Now we have 15 advisors, with 3 staff, in two offices.  Interestingly 4 of the original 9 left us due to poor performance.  So we’ve recruited 10 new advisors in two years.


Tony Veldkamp, CCIM
Managing Director
Sperry Van Ness Commercial Advisory Group
Sarasota & Bradenton, Florida

The Sperry Van Ness Florida Team consists of experienced Commercial Real Estate Advisors in 22 offices throughout the State. For more information on Tony Veldkamp, CCIM and his team, visit http://suncoastsvn.com.

*All Sperry Van Ness® offices are independently owned and operated.