Cates Named Commercial Broker of Year

AMOS MAKI | Special to The Daily News

The Memphis Area Association of Realtors Commercial Council honored its most productive members of 2012 at the 12th annual Pinnacle Awards gala, held Thursday, April 25, at the Memphis Country Club.

Many of the winners of their respective awards said the key to their success was a focus on selling Memphis. Brokers are often the first point of contact for companies looking to relocate to Memphis and existing firms who are looking to expand their existing footprint here.

“I am passionate about this city, and I take my role as an advocate for Memphis seriously,” said Andy Cates from Colliers International, who brought home the Commercial Broker of the Year award. “We need to be just as relentless in promoting the city as we are the properties we are selling.”

Cates’ determination and zest for life was praised by his peers.

“Andy is passionate about work, he is passionate about business and he’s passionate about life,” said Bayard Snowden of Colliers International Asset Services.

International Paper was honored with the Commercial Council’s Community Impact Award. International Paper recently committed to maintaining its corporate headquarters in Memphis. International Paper will erect a new office tower to house 600 employees at the Fortune 500 company’s campus at Poplar Avenue and Massey Road in East Memphis.

In addition to the new building, International Paper has committed to retaining 2,274 white-collar jobs and creating 101 new ones. The company’s total investment is expected to reach $115.7 million.

The company spread its philanthropic wealth around, giving $700,000 in grants to local nonprofits, $4.5 million to the National Civil Rights Museum, and $1 million to the Shelby Farms Park Conservancy, among others.

Steve Guinn, vice president at Highwoods Properties, said International Paper’s commitment to the city and all its needs is without parallel.

“It was an easy choice,” said Guinn. “I’m not sure that any other companies came up.”

Alex Stringfellow of CBRE earned the Newcomer of the Year Award, making him the highest earning broker with no more than two years of experience.

Brokers of the Year awards were presented in eight categories: industrial leasing (landlord), Brad Kornegay of Colliers International Asset Services; industrial leasing (tenant), Scott Pahlow of Newmark Grubb Memphis; land sales, Jim Ranier IV; multi-family, Blake Pera of CBRE; retail leasing John Elkington of Elkington Real Estate Group; office leasing (landlord), Ron Kastner of CBRE; office leasing (tenant), Patrick Gamble of CBRE; and investments, John Lamberson of CBRE.