A lifetime committed to becoming a professional hockey player taught Steven Spinell the value of hard work, time management and teamwork. Coming from a real estate family opened his eyes to the endless opportunities for success in the industry.
After bonding with fellow Miami of Ohio alum Ben Erskine on JLL’s Suburban Tenant Representation team, Steven joined as Associate in 2016, focusing on companies in the North Market as well as national business development for JLL’s Build to Suit Practice Group. “It’s unbelievable how much detail goes into the build-to-suit process. Through years of experience and high-profile projects, John Musgjerd and Ben Erskine have mastered all the moving parts,” said Spinell.
Typical day: I’ve transitioned from a team support role to being the boots-on-the-ground guy. I focus on business development, primarily in the North Market under Dan McCarthy‘s guidance, as well as pursuing build-to-suit opportunities for our practice group. You’ll find me on the phones prospecting, working on financial analyses and providing transaction support.
The 411 on JLL’s Build to Suit Practice Group: Build-to-suit projects are tremendously risky and complex. Our team provides clients a single point of contact for all aspects of the project, which simplifies the process and offers clients complete transparency and control. In addition to keeping the bidding competitive and maintaining that leverage throughout the process, we also have the entire JLL platform at our fingertips to offer in-house services from financing to project management. By keeping every part of the process controlled and competitive, we eliminate surprises and our clients end up with the results they envisioned.
Identifying build-to-suit opportunities: We find that companies typically consider build-to-suits because (1) they have a run-down campus and are in dire need of an updated, more efficient facility; (2) they want to focus on retaining talent and rebranding the company image; or (3) they are growing out of their current space and can’t find anything on the market that meets their requirements. Companies with 150,000 square feet of space or larger tend to be the most likely candidates.
Lessons learned: For someone starting off in the business, the Build to Suit Practice Group offered me the unique opportunity to partner across JLL service lines to gain a better understanding of the global platform. Our most recent project in the Chicago area, Zurich North America’s headquarters in Schaumburg, confirmed the suburbs are alive and strong, and we anticipate continued, steady growth.
Hometown: Vernon Hills, Illinois.
School: Miami University in Oxford, Ohio, where I studied finance. I played hockey for all four years and was captain of the team my senior year. The first time I went to Soldier Field was in 2009 to play the first outdoor hockey game ever played on the field. Even before the Blackhawks!
First job: Mixing mortar on a brick laboring crew for four summers. I learned how to work hard, but also the importance of going to school to learn how to work smart.
Going pro: After college, I pursued a professional hockey career, aiming to play in the NHL. I had stints with the Boston Bruins’ AHL affiliate in Providence, Rhode Island, and with the New York Rangers’ AHL affiliate in Hartford, Connecticut. After a few seasons, I decided to begin a new chapter. While all of professional hockey life isn’t glamorous (at times you’re living out of a suitcase), I have unbelievable memories of the journey.
Habits: I’m up by 4:45 a.m. to work out and get the work day started. This is when I like to read and get organized. I’m most efficient in the morning.
On my Spotify playlist: Eric Church, I love country music. My favorite concert to see each year is Dave Matthews Band at Alpine Valley.
On my DVR: “Game of Thrones,” “Gladiator” and “The Sandlot.”
Dream dinner party: Grabbing a beer with Mike Tyson.
Just married: I met my wife Haley during high school and we started dating in college. I proposed on the tennis court, asking her to be my “partner” in tennis and in life, followed by champagne and a picnic at our favorite lake nearby. After getting married in downtown Chicago, we had an unforgettable honeymoon in St. Barts. Every beach felt like a private cove and the snorkeling was amazing. Now we’re back and hard at work on renovating our future home in Libertyville.
Bucket list: Go on an African safari.
Nobody knows: After wearing skates practically every day for 22 years, I have yet to put them back on since I retired from hockey.