James A. Rosten learned the real estate ropes from his father, a Detroit dentist who dabbled in development.
“He built medical/dental office buildings and multi-family residential properties,” Rosten said. “When I was in college, he needed some help managing and leasing these properties.”
The experience served him well. Last month, Rosten was promoted to the newly created position of president of Grubb & Ellis Management Services Inc.’s western division.
In that role, Rosten, 40, will be responsible for all management services west of Colorado. He previously was executive vice president and division manager of management services for CB Commercial Real Estate Group.
Rosten began working for his father’s real estate business while a business administration major at Central Michigan University.
“It gave me a great foundation with some difficult product,” Rosten said. “Medical/dental office is tough to lease. You’re dealing with lots of doctors. They usually use a small space, so you deal with a large tenant count.”
Rosten’s experience working in the family business gave him an appreciation of working without red tape. Unlike corporations where many decisions have to go through multiple channels, Rosten only had to deal with his father.
Now that he’s president of the company’s management services division, Rosten feels at home.
“I’m one of six presidents in the company who make up senior management. The chairman really makes us feel like we’re running our own business,” Rosten said, explaining that it makes for a very “entrepreneurial environment.”
“Most of the other larger firms have more levels of management. Their approval process is not as agile as ours,” said Rosten. “I don’t have to go through many levels to approve something. I can approve it on the spot. Customers like it when senior managers can keep things moving.
“Although this is a global firm, it has the ability to act as a small firm in each market,” he said. “It’s really allowing me to do what I want to do. I feel like I’m running my own business.”
Asked if he misses the atmosphere of the family business and would like to someday start his own, Rosten said he’s concentrating on his new job. But, he added, “Eventually, I may step back into that down the road.”