Andy Oyler grew up in Colorado Springs. While caddying at The Broadmoor and other courses, he picked up not only valuable business tips, but also a full-ride scholarship to the University of Colorado in Boulder. After studying architecture, his career took a different turn when he met commercial real estate broker Dale Stamp, who now owns Quantum Commercial. Oyler, 39, has been selling and arranging leases for Stamp for the past 15 years. He spent time with the Business Journal to talk about commercial real estate.
What makes Quantum stand out?
In Colorado Springs, we have so many great brokers. At Quantum, we have one of the larger and more active firms in leasing, sales and property management. We have a significant depth of experienced professionals who focus on our clients, and not just the transactions. This is a business about relationships, not just commissions.
What’s trending in your industry?
The residential market is looking strong, and the commercial market is following suit with positive signs of a full recovery. We’re also seeing an increase in the investment market, especially from people outside Colorado Springs, despite concerns about interest-rate increases. We have several new developments downtown and throughout Colorado Springs, and I think we’ll see more new construction as vacancies continue to decrease and rates increase. We also expect to see new companies relocating here from areas like Denver because the cost of housing and commercial real estate is a lot less expensive here.
Talk about difficulties you’ve overcome.
Any profession has its challenges, but commercial real estate is uniquely difficult to break into because there’s so much to learn — and no college or business school offers the type of education needed to be a broker. Typically, it takes up to five years working with a senior broker to get up and running in this business, not to mention weathering market-downturns when very few deals are taking place. Also, with a commission-based salary, a broker can go long periods of time without income. It’s highly recommended to save for the lean periods and know how to manage your money well. As for the day-to-day challenges of the business, it’s often easy to stay busy, but difficult to stay productive and to know where to focus your energy. Overall, I think real estate is one of the best investments out there, and I really enjoy working in this industry.
What difficulties has the industry faced?
Colorado Springs has historically been more of a military/defense town. That’s slowed considerably during the past few years, but we anticipate the military ramping up again. Cities throughout the U.S. have become very competitive for companies to relocate to by offering all types of incentives. Most of the top cities and states have created an environment of what I refer to as the “cool factor.” That’s somewhat difficult to define, but there has to be the perception that attracts younger professionals and newer companies. These places have trendy apartments/restaurants and jobs with a vibrant nightlife that appeal to young professionals. I encourage the Colorado Springs business community to consider if a young professional is graduating from college or a company is setting up a new location, where would they like to be and why? Most companies and young professionals are looking for a cool area with all the amenities — the key is redesigning a city with the cool factor in mind. This will lead to higher job growth and sustainability.
How can we retain young professionals?
This has certainly been an issue for years. Most young people leave the Springs for college or after graduating from college, these young professionals move to bigger and more exciting cities. As I mentioned earlier, young professionals look for the “cool factor,” but there have to be companies that can offer employment and relatively cheap housing or apartments. Fortunately, we live in a great area with tremendous potential close to the mountains. We’re starting to see signs of this cool factor with new developments downtown and in the surrounding area. We will see more new cool developments, but we need to continue pushing our developers, politicians and taxpayers for more of these types of projects which will help generate more money for our city and more jobs. I see a lot of great things in our future in Colorado Springs.
What advice do you have for other young professionals?
So many important factors help people become successful, such as drive, loyalty, creativity, education and persistence. [They should] surround themselves with successful, smart and positive people and always network. Recently, I became a member at Kissing Camels Country Club. That has been a great place for meeting some very successful businesspeople, and the club is very impressive. For a professional at any level, it’s always so crucial to give back and always learn and strive to be better. For example, I recently joined Junior Achievement. In our society, there is little formal financial education, so through Junior Achievement I want to help teach kids about the business world and personal finance. I also recommend staying healthy by working out and eating right.