I'm a Blue Blood

In December I was visiting with my client, Heather Slack who is a Vice President with Alliance Residential. We discussed common sales and management themes we shared and quickly acknowledged that so much of what we know and practice today came from the early years in our career working with Trammell Crow Residential. I will call this “back in the day.”

On my first day with this company, I was told that Trammell Crow was awarded the second best company in the nation to work for by Forbes Magazine. This was part of the impressive story we were instructed to tell every prospective resident. Our sales process was hammered into our heads that we should tell the Trammell Crow Story, discuss the 30 day move in guarantee and explain the 24 hour maintenance promise. But working for Trammell Crow was more than just a story.

I believe in traditions and in a time of change I like to see companies honoring their traditions. Some of the traditions at Trammell Crow would be that we would never step over a piece of trash, wear our uniform with pride, do right by those that do right, look forward to promotion from within, attract exceptional people, have the best benefits program in the industry (people would retire without ever missing a paycheck), and proudly wear your tenure pin.

There was a time when this was the largest and most prestigious company to work for. I think a lot of it had to do with the fact that in the 80’s we were building so many apartment communities and if you worked onsite, you wanted to work at the newest and nicest community. There was a strong company spirit rooted in the honor and tradition of working for this company.

As I grew in my career, I climbed to a position that created the opportunity to meet Trammell Crow at his home in Dallas. My president, Bruce Webster, arranged it so that I would get my tenure pin from Mr. Crow himself. To this day, I feel so lucky to cherish this photo as a milestone in my career. When the partners started to “cash out” by taking their divisions public, I was in the Chicago office and saw my division split between Gables and Avalon. While each of these companies seemed to be destined for exciting times, I was very sad to leave Trammell Crow.

Today I write in my blog with fond reflection of a time gone by, when there was a huge sense of pride and enthusiasm to be the most professional company in the industry. I wore my name tag and tenure pin with an attitude of excellence and carried my business card with responsibility to carry on the traditions. For this reason, Heather and I both agreed that our blood was Trammell Crow blue. I am sad to say that Mr. Crow died last week. Today, I see remnants of the company I once knew and hope to see the allegiance appear once again for another brand as strong as back in the day.