There is no one path to commercial real estate development, but for Gregory Boler Jr., a recipient of the 2022 Developing Leaders Award, his career journey started with a mechanical engineering degree at Georgia State University. JLL’s Project and Development Services (PDS) Group interviewed Boler as part of an effort to recruit diverse entry-level talent in technical majors from historical black colleges and universities (HBCUs). He was one of four students selected and began his career working for JLL’s PDS Group in Atlanta.
“This was the only year that JLL’s PDS vertical recruited national at HBCUs, for which I’m grateful because I cannot imagine doing anything else,” Boler said.
Boler has a dozen years of experience in acquisitions, development, construction, leasing, asset management and disposition. As managing director, east region investments, Bridge Logistics Properties, his roles include sourcing and executing existing industrial acquisitions and new industrial developments. He currently manages several team members across the East Coast; his region stretches from Georgia to Pennsylvania and into New Jersey.
He received a Master of Science in commercial real estate from Georgia State University. Boler is MSCRE- and ARGUS-certified and completed the exclusive LEAD Atlanta Leadership Program. The Atlanta Business Chronicle recognized him as an “CRE Up and Comer” and as one of the top “40 Under 40,” and JLL’s Atlanta office recognized him as a rising star. As a member of Emerging 100 of Atlanta, part of 100 Black Men of Atlanta, Inc., he volunteers to teach students at local universities about opportunities in commercial real estate.
John Grimsley, 2022 president of NAIOP Georgia, called Boler “a shining example of giving back.” Boler has served in various leadership roles with the chapter. He was instrumental in creating the chapter’s Future Leaders program, which he now directs. He also joined with several other chapter board members to establish the Diversity and Inclusion Summer Internship Program, which partners with HBCUs. Chapter leaders have poured time and effort into supporting the students in this successful program (read more in a post from the 2023 Chapter Leadership and Legislative Retreat).
“Greg is changing the face of commercial real estate through his tireless efforts,” Grimsley said.
NAIOP talked to this strong leader about his advice for other young professionals and what productivity hack helps him accomplish his goals.
NAIOP: What is your advice for Developing Leaders early in their careers?
Boler: One piece of advice I would give to Developing Leaders who are just starting out in their careers is to try to set your career goals in 3-5-year increments. Allow for those goals to be focused around obtaining 3-5 tangible skillsets and experiences to add to your utility belt. For example, if you’re an analyst and have become proficient in that area, maybe there is an opportunity to take on additional responsibilities in supporting construction or leasing efforts. This can also be exposure to different property types, which is important as well. Ultimately, you will have to pick a lane to go narrow and deep in, but you will be a lot more valuable to the team with your accumulated skillsets.
NAIOP: How has being a member of NAIOP helped your career?
Boler: Since becoming a NAIOP member in 2016, my relationships and exposure to other areas of the industry have grown to levels I couldn’t imagine. Putting aside my professional benefits, personally I’ve been able to grow as a leader and someone who is passionate about making an impact in his community. For example, the Georgia chapter sponsors and participates annually in Ron Clark Academy’s Extreme Room makeover. My family was planning to move and was going to sell our living room furniture. However, we donated our furniture to the family since they didn’t have any. Being able to see the family’s reaction and elatedness brought me back to what’s most important in life.
NAIOP: What’s your most-used productivity hack?
Boler: Even though I love what I do, development can be complex and stressful. To balance this, I try to get into the gym three times a week at 6 a.m. to help release those endorphins. My focus and productivity are highest on those days I do workout.
NAIOP: What could you give a 30-minute presentation about with no advance preparation?
Boler: I love talking to collegiate students about what I do, how I got into the business, a development case study, and why I’m so passionate about CRE. More specifically, industrial!