From an early age, Mandi Thorn – a recipient of NAIOP’s 2015 Developing Leaders Award – considered commercial real estate to be an important and exciting industry. Her parents’ careers in the field inspired her to pursue CRE, as did the opportunity to make a direct and long-lasting difference in the community. Thorn joined NAIOP Southern Nevada in 2005; she became involved in the chapter’s Government Affairs and Spotlight Award Committees, and attended the chapter’s 2014 NAIOP Developing Leaders Institute. NAIOP Southern Nevada honored Thorn with the 2011 Developing Leader Spotlight Award.
Thorn spent 15 years with Harsch Investment Properties, most recently as assistant vice president-director of construction and maintenance, before transitioning this summer to focus on her family. Daily responsibilities in her role at Harsch Investment Properties included negotiating contracts, coordinating construction budgets, providing overseeing project bidding, overseeing quality control and inspection of work in progress, among numerous other tasks. In addition, she also managed the 13-member Maintenance/Facilities Department. Valued for her expertise within office, industrial and retail product types, Thorn has acted as a respected spokesperson for the company and for the industry, serving on the City of Las Vegas Board of Appeals, City of Henderson Development Services Advisory Board, and as a voice for the NAIOP Southern Nevada Government Affairs Committee on industry issues.
Thorn has received accolades for her contributions to the community, notably in support of Air Force families. She was honored as the 2014 and 2015 Nellis Air Force Base Spouse of the Year by Military Spouse Magazine for her work alongside her husband for the 555th RHS and 926th SFS squadrons and their families stationed at Nellis AFB. Thorn was also presented with the President’s Volunteer Service Award (Gold Level) in 2014 for her volunteer efforts in support of U. S. Air Force families.
NAIOP: How did you become interested in working in the commercial real estate industry?
Thorn: My dad, who is a project manager, got me interested in construction as a child. My mom is vice president of a commercial real estate company and my brother is a union electrician. I was bound to end up doing something in the construction/commercial real estate world. Development and construction was the career that spoke to me from a young age.
NAIOP: How has being a member of NAIOP helped your career?
Thorn: The relationships I have formed as a member of NAIOP have become vital to my career. I can pick up the phone and call any municipality, utility, engineer or contractor and reach someone who I met either at a NAIOP function or through a NAIOP colleague.
NAIOP: What advice would you offer to other young professionals in commercial real estate?
Thorn: Be passionate. You need to be motivated and driven to be the best you can be. It is that passion that will force you to push yourself harder, ask more questions, get more involved and become more successful.
NAIOP: Who has been an inspiring or influential figure in your life?
Thorn: An amazing man named Randy Kyte. Randy was my boss for 9 years, but more than that he was a mentor and someone who always believed in me. Being a young woman in construction has its challenges, but Randy always encouraged me to “tell them what I think.” We tragically lost Randy to ALS in 2014 and it left a hole in my life. I still carry those words with me to inspire me on the days when things get tough.
This is part of a series of profiles of NAIOP’s 2015 Developing Leaders Award recipients, who have distinguished themselves through exceptional commitment and contributions to the industry. This prestigious award was presented at NAIOP’s Commercial Real Estate Conference 2015 in Toronto. Read about all of the honorees in the Winter 2015/2016 issue of Development Magazine.
The recipients of the 2016 Developing Leaders Award will be recognized at Commercial Real Estate Conference 2016 in Scottsdale, Arizona. Watch this two-minute video to learn more about NAIOP’s Developing Leaders program.
Marie Ruff is Communications Senior Manager at NAIOP.