Succession Plan at Cawley Commercial Real Estate Ushers in New Management and Ownership Structure, Celebrates the Legacy and Vision of Founder Dan Cawley and Firm’s 25th Anniversary

A new management and ownership structure is now in place at Cawley Commercial Real Estate, the result of a succession plan established by the firm’s founder Dan Cawley, SIOR and foreshadowed just over five years ago when the firm added five new principals, opened a downtown office and expanded its overall operations.

Zach Pruitt, one of the principals who helped establish the downtown office, is succeeding Dan Cawley who founded the firm in 1998, as president and chief executive officer.

Cawley will maintain his brokerage license with the firm and continue to serve the clients he has built relationships with since 1985. Additionally, Cawley plans to utilize The Center for Serving Leadership, where he is a Certified Trainer, plus his 40 years of operational, leadership and mentoring experience (over 150 brokers at Cawley) to make a difference with anyone seeking help in what he calls “an amazing opportunity to serve” the industry!

“Cawley Commercial Real Estate has evolved into everything I envisioned it could be, and more, when I started the firm 25 years ago,” Cawley said. “To ensure ongoing growth and development and continue providing an exceptional relationship experience to our clients, old and new, a long-term, values-based plan was required.  We are executing that succession plan that will allow a talented group of hand-picked professionals to chart the firm’s trajectory for the next 25 years and beyond.”

In its milestone anniversary year, Dan steps away having led Cawley Commercial Real Estate to the company’s most successful and rewarding of its 25 years. Cawley Commercial Real Estate has become a strong presence in the commercial real estate industry, in Chicago and the geographic markets where it serves client needs. The firm includes more than 35 people, including more than 20 brokers and a property management division of seven employees. On an annual basis, the firm typically completes more than 300 transactions totaling more than 10 million square feet of space with a transaction value of well over $500 million.

Further, after Cawley launched the property management division in 2009 with Tony Marino, the firm now manages an 8.3-million-square-foot portfolio encompassing more than 90 buildings and more than 365 tenants.

“This is an exciting time as we look optimistically and confidently to the future of Cawley Commercial Real Estate and celebrate the company and the platform that Dan had the vision to create,” Pruitt said. “The success Cawley Commercial Real Estate has achieved and is positioned to continue is a great legacy.”

In addition to Pruitt, the new ownership structure includes six principals:  Anthony Marino, Principal and President of Metro Chicago Property Management; Joshua Hearne, SIOR, Principal/Brokerage; Andrew Maletich, SIOR, Principal/Brokerage; Rawly Lantz, SIOR, Principal/Brokerage; Frank Melchert, SIOR, Principal/Brokerage; and David Conroy, Principal/Brokerage.

More than five years ago, in Spring 2018, Doug Hayes, a long-time business friend of Cawley’s made a series of introductions which ultimately resulted in Hayes and several other experienced brokers joining Cawley Commercial Real Estate. That sequence of events further strengthened the depth, breadth and reach of the firm and paved the way for the recent change in the leadership and ownership structure.

One of Dan Cawley’s significant achievements over the course of the firm’s 25 years has been the ability to identify and recruit and retain professionals. One of the recruitment success stories is Josh Hearne who started at Cawley as a college intern and approximately 20 years later is the longest tenured principal and professional at Cawley.

“Personally and professionally, Dan’s mentorship and commitment to my success has been invaluable as I learned the business and evolved into the professional I am today,” Hearne said. “As we move forward, we’ll look to build on the examples of Dan’s leadership values and professionalism, and to continue to operate in the way Cawley has always done business.”

Cawley pointed to a number of factors that have allowed the firm to be successful over the course of 25 years, including involvement with national and local industry trade associations. Cawley is a member of SIOR’s Independent Brokerage Group which has allowed the firm to partner with other boutique, like-minded firms that have attained the prestigious SIOR designation. Personally, Cawley has been an active member of SIOR, including serving as event Chairman of the Chicago Chapter’s largest fundraising event for 11 years; Northern Illinois Commercial Association of Realtors (NICAR), including serving as its 2012-13 President; and the Association of Industrial Real Estate (AIRE).

Currently, approximately one third of the brokers at Cawley have achieved and maintain the SIOR designation. That designation is of such importance that the firm offers scholarships for the educational programming necessary to attain a designation.

Dan Cawley said one of the fundamental principles on which the firm was founded and continues to operate is based on providing an unparalleled customer service experience.

“Personal, values-based relationships must always be the critical component of building any business, or firm,” Cawley said. “Our 25 year existence is proof that a boutique platform works for a wide variety of businesses; entrepreneurial or institutional owners or users of space. Serving is never based on a company’s size but on the individuals’ commitment to values.”



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