5 Questions With Atlanta’s CRE Power Women, Part 2

Originally Published: Bisnow

SRS Real Estate Partners Executive Vice President Ray Uttenhove
Bisnow: How do you describe your job to people who are not in the industry?
Ray Uttenhove: I provide strategic planning for my retailer clients helping them analyze a market and decide how many stores they need to open to penetrate the market. We identify sites, assist with their internal approval process and then negotiate with the landlord on their behalf. Our charge is to open high-volume, profitable stores. We also provide insight on repositioning or closing underperforming stores and rightsizing existing stores. Our success is measured by how well we meet our clients’ needs.
Bisnow: What is the biggest business problem you have faced and how did you solve it?
Uttenhove: The biggest business problem that I ever faced was the Great Recession and getting through that disastrous time. I felt like I had been pushed off a cliff and was in freefall. I knew there were opportunities in every part of the business cycle and our clients needed support and a new focus as well. We made some bold moves starting with the hiring of new brokers and a marketing campaign promoting our new services. Our focus was on the disposition of underperforming stores for our retailer and landlord clients. We had the greatest success with a program that concentrated on retailers who wanted to capitalize on the vacancies allowing them to add new stores often in markets that were too expensive before the recession. Getting through these challenging times made our company stronger, particularly as the business climate improved.
Bisnow: What is one thing you think companies can do to address wage and gender inequality?
Uttenhove: Be sure that you have a diverse leadership team that includes women and minorities. If you look around and see that your most successful producers and the decision makers within the company are all white males, you have a problem.
Bisnow: What piece of advice do you give others entering the industry?
Uttenhove: Be bold and fearless. To be successful, you have to live outside of your comfort zone from the day you start to the day you retire.
Bisnow: What do you do to unwind when you’re not working? Uttenhove: Golf is a total escape for me. Playing 18 holes on a beautiful golf course is regular therapy. Traveling is my other passion. I am a total Francophile. For the last 20 years I have never missed a visit to Paris, but I love the adventure of new places all over the world. See my photo of a visit my husband and I made to an active volcano on White Island in New Zealand.