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Compass gains one team leader but loses another, architect takes CDOT helm, and more

by Emma Ludman

Compass snags top team from @properties

Yesterday, Compass Chicago announced that Lance Kirshner will be bringing his top producing team, LAKE Group, over from @properties. Just last month Kirshner was voted Industry MVP by readers of Chicago Agent magazine.

Kirshner identified design and advertising prowess as two key reasons for the move. “For us, Compass fills the gap in individualized marketing,” said Kirshner in a press release. “The marketing and design team[s] are creating some of the most effective and eye-catching work I have ever seen in the industry to date.”

According to Compass, the LAKE Group — which, along with Kirshner includes Joanne Balbarin, Laura Dewey-Lando, Nancy Gordon and Cristina Tu — have nearly $43 million in sales combined as a team for 2019. “Providing concierge-level real estate services has always been the team mantra for the LAKE Group,” said Joe Siciliano, sales lead for Compass’ Lincoln Park office. “We welcome the team, as they will be a fabulous addition to the Compass Chicagoland culture.”

Compass team leader switches over to Fulton Grace

Ted Guarnero, a familiar face on the Chicago real estate scene for more than three decades, announced that he’s left Compass for a local boutique brokerage. He’ll be bringing many members of The Guarnero Group to Fulton Grace, though the team will take on a different identity. Guarnero is joining forces with Nick Nastos, most recently the leader of Chicago’s Property Shop within Fulton Grace. The two will head up the newly formed Seventy7 Group out of the firm’s Milwaukee Avenue office in Bucktown.

Part of the fit for Guarnero was finding a place where his technology tools could blossom. He runs a lead generation website that creates specialized drip campaigns by neighborhood, price point, transaction type and other factors. “It is so different than what most are doing,” he said in an interview with Chicago Agent, noting that one of the main reasons he brought the technology and talent to Fulton Grace was the company’s president, TJ Rubin. “TJ is one of the first who said, ‘Let’s see how we can integrate this into everyday life at Fulton Grace.’”

Not only does the site deliver listings to homebuyers who are searching criteria, it also feeds up emails containing advice for those looking to pick up a sale through foreclosure, information on securing a jumbo loan, or specialized content for sellers who are looking to downsize, for example. The content is also dynamic, changing what consumers get in their inbox based on search criteria and website interaction history. 

Rubin said Fulton Grace’s flexibility with new tools is an asset for bringing on established teams. “We have significant experience in creating and customizing our platforms to suit outside technology,” he told Chicago Agent. “We are tech forward in that we are able to seamlessly integrate others’ websites and technology into our systems.”

Studio Gang planner appointed as new transportation chief

This week, Mayor Lori Lightfoot appointed Gia Biagi, an urban planner and the principal of Studio Gang architecture practice, to be head of Chicago’s transportation department.

This won’t be Biagi’s first time working for the city, however; before joining Studio Gang in 2015, she served the Chicago Park District for twelve years, spending her final years there as chief of staff. The mayor’s office noted Biagi will be working toward improving traffic issues downtown as well as working on the new INVEST South/West Initiative.

“I look forward to working side-by-side with Gia and the entire team at CDOT as we implement our vision for equitable, comprehensive urban planning, and transportation that supports every one of our residents, neighborhoods, and businesses, and helps our entire city thrive,” Lightfoot said in a statement.

Skender named ‘modular builder of the year’

Construction Dive, a national news site dedicated to reporting on the construction industry, awarded Chicago-based Skender their annual ‘Dive Award’ for modular builder of the year.

Skender, which has been in the construction business for 64 years, has been dedicating increasing resources to modular building — the practice of constructing structural components inside factories — over the past decade. Construction Dive said the award recognizes Skender’s work toward creating a modular business model that has potential to bring much needed change to the construction industry.

“Skender’s leadership team is talking a level of chess that I haven’t seen other builders do,” Skender’s Chief Technical Officer Stacy Scopano told Construction Dive. “We’re looking at a distribution strategy and sales model that looks more like a product-oriented business than a construction business.”

Carrie Jo Little graduates from NAR Leadership Academy

Carrie Jo Little, a real estate professional based in West Chicago, graduated from the 2019 National Association of Realtors Leadership Academy this week. Little is the designated managing broker and owner of CarMarc Realty and has been serving the Chicagoland area for 18 years.

The program brings in agents from all over the country to help them network and learn advocacy skills that will help them become more involved on a local level. “Since completing the NAR Leadership Academy, I’ve brought everything I learned in the courses back to my boutique brokerage,” said Little. “Implementing those tools will help my agents become more successful now and in the future.”

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