Crye-Leike Commercial Real Estate president and managing broker Eric Fuhrman is a busy man.
For starters, he is in charge of a bustling division of one of the largest real estate firms in the country.
“Our division is ahead of expectations right now,” he said. “We’re delighted by that.”
A native of Chicago, Fuhrman did not get his business start in real estate.
“I have a background in commercial construction, so it was a natural segue into real estate when this opportunity opened up in commercial real estate,” he said. “Being able to talk the lingo and understand process is a good foundation.”
He came to the Bluff City because he “married a Memphis girl, and we came here to be near family.” But when he first arrived with his then-new wife, Joanna, he knew no one who could help him get a leg up.
“I had only one name in my Rolodex,” said Fuhrman, who quickly found a place for himself in the business world. “I thought Memphis was exceptionally welcoming, frankly. I was coming from the East Coast, and I thought people here were warm and a lot more apt to pull up a chair and talk to you. And that was refreshing.”
Fuhrman says he owes much to an early mentor, Dan Whipple, who he calls a “legend in commercial real estate. … It’s been one of the greatest things in my life. Having a mentor in this business is one of the biggest keys to success I can point to.”
Fuhrman says he appreciates and values the opportunity to work for such a recognizable brand, calling the network, which stretches from Memphis to Nashville, from Atlanta down to Destin, Fla., invaluable.
“It’s a Coca-Cola level of familiarity,” he said. “Crye-Leike is a household name in this region and our commercial division thrives with properties that, to our competitors, are too small.”
Fuhrman’s division specializes in handling the large number of office, retail and industrial properties that are valued at less than $2 million. While many real estate firms spend a lot of energy chasing after a few big scores, Fuhrman said the Crye-Leike strategy of nurturing many smaller clients is very effective.
“To the broker who is just entering the business, I say, just wait three years, because those three-year leases you signed with small businesses will be coming up for renewal,” he said. “And that’s a beautiful thing, because if someone has sustained a business through the downturn and they’re in their third or fifth year, they’re doing great, renewing or expanding leases for their happy customers.”
But it’s not just his business that keeps Fuhrman busy. He is also a board member of the Memphis Area Association of Realtors. He joined the professional association very soon after entering the business, and he said he found the educational aspect of networking with his colleagues to be very helpful when he was starting out.
“It’s a place you can go to stay current with the market,” he said.
Fuhrman said he is particularly proud of his work on the association’s Governmental Affairs Committee.
“The significance of that (committee) to homeownership and property ownership to the entire western end of the state is just unbelievable,” he said. “Even the mayor has come to MAAR asking for input to some real estate matters. Who better to turn to than people who live and breathe real estate every day?”
In his personal life, Fuhrman is a devoted family man with five children: Gabe, 14; Audrey, 12; Sam, 10; Ellie, 6; and Molly, 2.
“My oldest one at Christian Brothers, and my youngest one just got potty trained!” he said. “It means I have to sell and lease a lot of real estate.”
Fuhrman is bullish on Memphis’ future, and would encourage his children to pursue their future here, “but my oldest one has his eye on West Point,” he added.
As if all of that isn’t enough to keep him busy, Fuhrman is also an avid runner who has been training for the St. Jude Memphis Marathon. To him, it’s not just exercise, it’s a way to stay involved in the community he loves.
“You couldn’t ask for anywhere better to settle down and put down roots,” he said.