Industrial Midwest

JLL's George Cutro: New role, new responsibilities, same love for the industry

George with his wife in Cozumel, Mexico.

Meet George Cutro, new head of industrial research for the region at JLL. Known to many as a major industrial icon, he now joins the firm after nearly 20 years with Colliers International, and is now responsible for expanding JLL’s new market presence.

Meet George Cutro, new head of industrial research for the region at JLL. Known to many as a major industrial icon, he now joins the firm after nearly 20 years with Colliers International, and is now responsible for expanding JLL’s local market presence.

Cutro’s real estate experience dates back to when he was just a child, helping his father, a residential broker at the time, with the simple tasks.  But now that his responsibilities have grown exponentially, Chicago Industrial Properties caught up with Cutro in a Q&A where he lets us in on his real estate journey.

Chicago Industrial Properties: What are your responsibilities now as the new head of Midwest industrial research at JLL?

Cutro: I am responsible for developing the concepts and research for new thought leadership that helps grow and further define JLL’s Research platform. I am also charged with meeting the demands of JLL’s fast-growing Industrial business and being a catalyst for elevating JLL’s market research regionally and nationally.

Together with research analysts Chad Buch and Paul Marsh at JLL’s Chicago O’Hare office, I help manage high-profile industrial projects and assignments and work to expand JLL’s local market presence and drive new business.  In the real estate business today, flawless data is a competitive advantage.  We are evolving our industry-leading data platform so that we can give our clients an edge in the market.

CIP: What originally sparked your interest in real estate?

Cutro: My father was a residential broker and I used to help him as a kid pulling out dead listings out of his listing book. When I got older I would help him canvass the northwest suburbs, hanging marketing materials on doors.  However, my first entry into the commercial real estate world was when I inquired about a job offering in the paper for a research analyst – no company listed. The company turned out to be Cushman and Wakefield, who eventually hired me back in 1988.

CIP: What has kept you in the industry all these years?

Cutro: I truly love what I do. I am a people person and have built a relationship with the brokerage and institutional community with an information exchange (known in the brokerage community as “Cutro’s Friends & Family Plan.” Furthermore, I am a rare soul that absolutely loves database management. I am always looking for ways to gather, filter and improve the data. Even with all the technology we have, I find the most successful way to gain good data is by picking up the phone and by building relationships. I also like to help others, which is a big part of my job and the reason for my “Friends & Family Plan.”

CIP: Do you recall your most memorable experience thus far in your career?

Cutro: I have had many memorable experiences but the one that I treasure the most was with CenterPoint Properties. When I was at Colliers, I used to do a lot of work for CenterPoint Properties. Former CEO Mike Mullen was very appreciative of my efforts and invited me and my family to CenterPoint’s skybox for a Cubs Game. It so happened to be my middle son Brian’s birthday and Mike let Brian order any and everything off the dessert cart, even joining the family in singing “Happy Birthday.”

CIP: JLL has been making a good amount of headlines this year. What are some of the firm’s most recent successes?

Cutro: As a company, JLL has successfully negotiated a 900,000-square-foot extension for M. Block in Tinley Park and assisted Whirlpool on a 750,000 square-foot new lease in Joliet. We were also given a 47 million square-foot multi-state industrial property management assignment from IDI Gazeley. In our PDS (project management) group, we were retained by Mercedes as construction manager on its 80,000 square-foot building expansion in Carol Stream. Our Supply Chain Management group, which works closely with the Council of Supply Chain Management Professionals, recently participated in an event they held in San Diego, CA.

CIP: Now on a more personal note, what can we find you doing when you’re not at work?

Cutro: I am very family-oriented.  I coached my boys’ (Matthew, Brian and Stephen) baseball teams, am active in Boy Scouts and I love camping. I also have gotten back into reading. Right now I am working on all of the classic books like George Orwell’s 1984 and Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mocking Bird.

CIP: What would you say is your greatest personal accomplishment?

Cutro: I would say (and my wife Kathy would agree) that our greatest accomplishment is our boys. Instilling our values in our boys and watching them grow up to be thoughtful and courteous men. Witnessing their accomplishments to-date makes me a very proud parent.

CIP: What’s on your bucket list?

Cutro: I would like to skydive.

CIP: Finally, what’s one surprising thing about yourself that not many people would have guessed?

Cutro: I like to sing. If a song I like comes on the radio I will always sing along.