Weingarten has a rich history of dedicated associates. In an effort to commend these committed individuals and their enduring relationships with Weingarten, this blog feature—My First Day at Weingarten—looks back at the humble beginnings of our Weingarten careers and celebrates our journeys thus far.
This feature comes from Drew Alexander, President and CEO:
“My first day at Weingarten Realty was May 15, 1978. I was 22 years old and still had several days of classes before I’d graduate from the University of Texas with a degree in real estate. I joined Weingarten as a retail Leasing Executive in Houston, but my first day of work actually took place in Atlanta, Georgia—because my first day was at the national convention for the International Council of Shopping Centers (ICSC).
The convention was held in the Hyatt Regency Atlanta, the influential 22-story atrium hotel designed by John Portman. My father Stanford, who was president at the time, gave me a list of companies attending the convention, and told me to visit their suites to collect site plans and other available materials from them. As this was the pre-Internet 1970s, the only way to learn about other shopping centers and other companies was by attending conventions.
I must have met hundreds of people that day. My father has always said that our company success is built on solid personal relationships, and I know first-hand that trade shows are a key factor in starting and maintaining those relationships. It’s no wonder the national convention (now known as ICSC RECon Las Vegas) has more than doubled in size since 1978. Last year there were over 36,000 attendees at the convention and Weingarten hosted over 600 meetings in just three days.
This year marks my 38th anniversary with Weingarten and my 39th RECon. I’ve worked my way up in the company, and my job requires many different activities. Some are more enjoyable than others, but I always enjoy what I learn at the convention. We get to hear how retailers are doing and learn about their plans and strategies. We also meet with vendors, partners, lenders, etc., and while I’m not the ‘wide-eyed’ young man I was at 22, I still find the convention really great.”
Founded in 1957, ICSC is the global trade association of the shopping center industry. Its more than 70,000 members in over 100 countries include shopping center owners, developers, managers, investors, retailers, brokers, academics, and public officials. For more information about ICSC visit www.icsc.org.
RECon is the world’s largest convention for the retail real estate industry and provides networking, deal making, and educational opportunities for retail real estate professionals from around the world.