Robert Thornburgh, SIOR, CCIM, CPM, FRICS, SIOR's Chief Executive Officer, is responsible for the management of the Society’s global business and executing the directives set by the SIOR Board of Directors and its governance committee.
Thornburgh, a long-standing commercial real estate specialist and trailblazer based out of Los Angeles, California, brings more than 25 years of exemplary industry knowledge and management experience, with a strong focus on integrity and a transformational, service-oriented style of leadership.
We sat down with Robert to ask him some very important questions about work and life, and to find out a little bit more about who Robert Thornburgh the man really is.
Who is Robert Thornburgh?
A proud family man who laughs often; who doesn’t sit idle well. He’s authentic, driven, energetic, and thoughtful. And he’s a huge optimist tempered by a sarcastic sense of humor whenever possible.
What does SIOR mean to you?
I credit SIOR for being a driving force in my career. The industry knowledge, those rare but highly impactful “best practice” ideas shared by members, the deal making, and of course trusted friendships built all over the world, sums it up quite well.
What are your goals for the first year?
It’s incredibly important to emphasize that SIOR isn’t broken. That said, our industry is changing rapidly. In that theme, our most significant effort early on will be the development of a new and dynamic long-range plan to future proof the organization. It will stay true to our core principles while driving a significant, heightened value back to the members and broader CRE industry. I see a very bright future ahead for SIOR.
What first drew you to SIOR?
I was fortunate to have a few early mentors in my career who held the designation. They spoke so highly about the organization but were also the definition of excellence and integrity in the marketplace. It was easy to connect the dots.
In three words, how would others describe you?
Passionate, generous, but tough.
What do you think are the best skills that you bring to your job?
For whatever reason, I have always been good at understanding the vision side of business. The ability to see that future-minded goal or destination, why it’s needed, and how to get there. I believe I’ll bring a unique balance to the process - being relentless in the pursuit of that vision - balanced with the knowledge that the best ideas often require those key elements of time and patience.
What is your favorite thing about your career?
Meeting and working alongside talented people across the globe.
What would your pet say about you if we asked for a reference?
The guy gives big hugs.
Who is family to you?
Family is absolutely everything to me. I also consider my closest friends to be a part of my family.
What is your greatest accomplishment?
Raising up my son and daughter the right way, helping guide them to become the amazing young adults they are today.
If you could choose one song to play every time you walked into a room for the rest of your life, what song would you choose and why?
Anything from the Rocky IV soundtrack. Lionel Ritchie’s “All Night Long” would be a close second but let’s not put that in print please. [Oops, too late!]
What is your favorite game or sport to watch or play?
Baseball, especially the Dodgers.
What are the best and worst purchases you’ve ever made?
The best purchase for me, not surprisingly, would always be real estate (and my wife’s wedding ring in case she reads this). The worst: a lotto ticket. I know the odds, but when the jackpot really gets up there, it’s hard not consider picking one up. Maybe it’s the optimist in me. You have to be in it to win it, right?
If you could choose to do anything for a day, what would you do?
Travel back in time and give the younger version of myself a long list of information.
If you could only eat one meal for the rest of your life, what would it be?
Carne Asada street tacos, jalapeno on the side please…no question.
What is something you think everyone should do at least once in their lives?
Join the military. It’s definitely a regret of mine.
What ridiculous thing has someone tricked you into doing or believing?
Does pursuing the role of SIOR Global president count? : )
What inspires you the most?
Successful people who also embody kindness.
Where is the most interesting place you’ve been?
Penn, North Dakota. Population 20. I spent time there with my grandfather and his close group of friends who were local farmers. They referred to themselves as the “roundtable of knowledge.” Hardest working group, I have ever met.
If you could turn any activity into an Olympic sport, what would you have a good chance at winning a medal for?
My wife would tell you garage organization. Gold medal hands down.
What’s your favorite drink?
It really depends on the time and place. Always a theme. Mexican restaurant means its margarita time. Hotel pool is going to lead to a Pina Colada at some point.
What’s your favorite holiday?
Christmas. Much of this would be tied to my faith but for whatever reason, that period of the Holidays just seems to bring out the best in people.
Tell me three pet peeves.
Laziness, people who criticize from the shadows but aren’t willing to contribute to solving problems, and those new contacts you reluctantly accept on LinkedIn who immediately go for the sale.
What do you do in your free time?
Spend it with family, friends, and traveling whenever possible.
How do you want people to remember you?
That I loved with all of my heart and always gave whatever I was involved with 100%.
What would be your personal motto?
I always liked Shakespeare’s: “Love all, trust a few, do wrong to none.”