When Lewis Horne moved to Los Angeles to attend USC, he had dreams of opening a chain of pet stores, of all things, in Southern California. But by the time he graduated, he had met his future wife, Lisa, and close friend Rick Caruso, and jettisoned his original business plan. Horne got his professional start as a salesman at IBM, but made the jump to commercial brokerage Coldwell Banker, where he worked as an industrial broker. That company merged with Richard Ellis International in 1998, by which time Horne had transitioned to management. Today, Horne manages the Southern California region for CB Richard Ellis Group Inc., the giant L.A. real estate services company that arose out of the merger. Despite a hectic schedule, Horne still finds time to vacation with his family water-skiing in the summer and skiing and snowboarding in the winter. And he's got a new hobby. In the last year Horne has been waking up at 5 a.m. on weekdays to go on 20-mile bike rides around his Pasadena community. Horne recently sat down with the Business Journal in his downtown corner office to discuss his life, how his company is meeting the challenges of the recession, and those long bike rides.

Question: Tell us about why you dreamed of opening a chain of pet stores.

Answer: I originally came down to USC, believe it or not, to go through their entrepreneurial program. I was working as a regional manager of a pet company in Sacramento and I enjoyed it. We sold animals and supplies, and that sort of thing, and I enjoyed hiring the staff of the company and I got to work with animals, which I love. I was in high school up there and I thought, well I will start my own pet chain in Southern California.

Q: But that didn't happen.

A: I look back and laugh at that now because obviously my horizons were expanded when I met my friends at USC and moved from Sacramento to Southern California.

Q: I take it you still have a few pets.

A: I have a golden retriever, a Lhasa apso and a pondful of koi. The dogs were named by my children; my golden retriever is Ingo and our Lhasa is Puka. No names on the fish.

Q: So how did your horizons expand at USC?

A: I joined a fraternity, SAE, and then in the fraternity I met just a lot of people that turned out to be successful people. I met several friends that are still my best friends in the world, particularly (developer) Rick Caruso, who was the president of the fraternity and I was the one that ran the pledges. He and I became the best of friends with that process. It just expanded my horizons, by becoming friends with people that had much higher goals and aspirations. I also met my wife my second year down here.


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