Service With a Smile

When you walk into Lee & Associates, you’re automatically greeted by Wendy Mulqueen’s warm smile and welcoming face. In fact, the best word to describe her would be amiable. She embraces each guest and staff member of Lee & Associates in a friendly and pleasant manner and it’s this demeanor that makes everyone feel at home.

Wendy was born in Oxfordshire, England where she spent her childhood surrounded by the country’s vast rolling green spaces and historic sites. Her high school career was active and filled with various sports and activities. When Wendy entered high school, she became engaged in the school’s debate team, drama club, and field hockey team. After graduating from Bicester Comprehensive School, it was time for the next adventure in Wendy’s life. Upon graduation, she attended Banbury Polytechnic College in Oxfordshire, England.

Soon after graduating from Banbury Polytechnic College, she started a job with the United Kingdom’s Ministry of Defence in Oxfordshire, England.  She worked for the Ministry of Defence for several years and during that time, she met her husband, Danny. Danny is originally from Virginia and was stationed in the United Kingdom with the United States Air Force. Once he finished his four year term with the Air Force, Danny moved back home to Virginia, only to return a year later to Oxfordshire, with his parents, to marry Wendy. Wendy and Danny then moved to Boone, NC to start their life together.

In Boone, Wendy started a new job at Batchelor Chiropractic Clinic. She directly assisted Dr. Batchelor and educated his patients on chiropractic manipulation and therapy. Wendy trained in all areas of the clinic and even earned her certificate as an X-Ray Technicians’ Assistant. She learned valuable skills that would follow her to her next career. After about four years in Boone, Wendy and her Danny decided it was time for a change. So, they packed their bags and headed for the sunny beaches of Charleston, SC.

Charleston brought them everything they were looking for: beaches, history, and warm weather. Wendy soon began working at The Barkley Company where she worked as Miles Barkley’s Personal Assistant, a Commercial Real Estate Broker Assistant, and a Residential Broker Assistant. Wendy had a wide range of responsibilities. However, her previous experience prepared her well for these roles. After six years, Miles moved his career to Lee & Associates and he asked Wendy to go with him.

At Lee & Associates, Wendy began a new position as Broker Services Coordinator and shortly thereafter, transitioned to the role of Front Office Coordinator. In her current role, she assists brokers and property managers, maintains a 1st class office space, serves as the first point of contact for visitors and clients, and manages mail correspondence and the telephones.

Wendy and Danny have two children, Daniel and Sebastian. Daniel is currently living between Greenville, SC and Dalton GA and has been given the opportunity to work for Shaw Industries in a co-op position. Wendy is a strong advocate for her son Sebastian, who has special needs. Sebastian attends an adult day care facility on Rivers Avenue, which he calls his “college”, just like his older brother. Her family is a huge sense of pride for Wendy. When she talks about them, she beams with pride.

When Wendy is not working, she enjoys riding horses, painting, and reading. She has enjoyed volunteering her time to Carolina Children’s Charity, an organization committed to meeting the needs of children with special needs. Wendy also enjoys time spent with her family. Her family, who still live in England, try to visit Charleston as often as they can. Every once in while, Wendy and her family also attempt a trip across the pond. Although she is a long way from home, Wendy has found a home in Charleston and Lee & Associates.

Brotherly Love

All in the Family

Wade has just about seen and experienced it all in the world of Commercial Real Estate, but as Wade has learned from previous leaders, “there is no limit to what a person can achieve, as long as they don’t mind who gets the credit.” Wade spent most of his career in Atlanta, GA…25 years in fact, where he and his wife, Melissa, raised three children. Wade credits his wife with his unimaginable personal and career success. As the saying goes, “the apple does not fall far from the tree”, holds a lot of truth in the case of Wade’s career story. As a third-generation real estate professional, it seems that even from a very young age he was destined for success in this ever-evolving industry.

Being exposed to the real estate industry early on in his childhood by his father and grandfather clearly had a special influence and life impact. Wade’s father lead construction and development operations for the Eastman Kodak Company in Kingsport, TN, and ultimately oversaw the growth and development of their large manufacturing plant in Columbia, SC. Little did Wade know, that this initial exposure to the industry by his role model and father, would help pave his way to a career in Commercial Real Estate. Due to his father’s work, Wade’s family ended up moving to Columbia, SC to be closer to the Eastman Kodak facilities, just as he was in the middle of his first-grade year of school.

Wade went on to graduate from High School and chose to attend Clemson University. Attending college with his sisters they certainly made cheering on the Clemson Tigers part of their family tradition; one which they continue still today! At Clemson, Wade became active in Greek Life, Student Government, Intramural Sports and was even able to manage being a musician with a campus ministry, on top of his demanding Mechanical Engineering studies. It was also during his time at Clemson that he met his wife, Melissa. They met on a Student Government retreat after they both had been elected to the Student Senate. Flash forward to present day, Wade’s family is the definition of a complete Clemson family; all three children graduated as Tigers plus two daughters-in-law. Wade is also very fortunate that upon his children’s graduation, everyone decided to stay in South Carolina. Now a fourth generation of Allens are part of the South Carolina real estate industry. His oldest son is a real estate attorney in Charleston and his youngest son is a commercial real estate broker in Greenville.

Flash back to Wade’s time at Clemson – during his studies at Clemson, he also took part in several summer work internships; one which was serendipitously at the Eastman Kodak Company. There, he learned some practical hands-on skills within the electrical contracting trade. During that summer, Wade’s eyes were opened to a different career path than he had originally envisioned. His summer construction experiences encouraged him to pursue and use his Mechanical Engineering degree to be more client-facing and more personally involved in projects with clients “out in the field” and ultimately not be tied to a “behind the desk design job”.

Shortly after college, Wade and Melissa followed their hearts, got married and moved to Dallas, TX to start new careers. Wade accepted a Sales Engineer position with a manufacturer and installer of building automation and control devices for HVAC mechanical systems. He was designing and selling building control systems, as well as selling maintenance contracts for complex mechanical systems. He loved the exposure to people and began cultivating numerous relationships with all types of real estate users and occupiers, including office, industrial and institutional. This experience helped him learn a great deal about buildings from a construction, engineering and facility-operations perspective. Wade went on to grow and manage the Southeast operations of a large company, which was ultimately acquired and is now known as Siemens Building Technologies. One of his clients was The Coca-Cola Company in Atlanta, GA. Because of his past experiences, technical expertise and vast knowledge of different asset types, Coca-Cola hired Wade to oversee their global real estate portfolio and lead the development, construction and operation of their facilities world-wide. This experience gave Wade firsthand exposure to the corporate occupier side of real estate. He spent 10 years overseeing corporate real estate portfolios for numerous Fortune 500 companies, including SunTrust Bank (now known as Truist).

As a known leader in the corporate real estate arena, Wade’s skills and connections were highly sought by Trammell Crow Company which was soon after acquired by CBRE. Jumping back to the service provider side of commercial real estate, Wade was hired to oversee the brokerage team supporting Bank of America’s real estate portfolio. After five years of tremendous success in that role, CBRE asked him to lead their client relationship management for JPMorgan Chase Bank (JPMC). In the Alliance Director role, Wade oversaw brokerage transactions and project management services for JPMC, including the program management for a large national retail branch expansion. After his lengthy time supporting financial services clients, Wade was ready to try something different. He transitioned into the Industrial & Logistics portfolio sector as Global Alliance Director where he oversaw CBRE’s global real estate services for Iron Mountain, a large information management company with more than 85M square feet of real estate in over 40 countries. Wade’s responsibility included the oversight of transactions, lease administration, project management and facility management of Iron Mountain’s international portfolio.

It was during this time of Wade’s career successes that he and Melissa moved back closer to home and settled in Atlanta, where they raised three children. After 25 years in Atlanta, the state of South Carolina was calling them back and they made a permanent move to Charleston, SC in 2013. Their move allowed the empty-nesters to be closer to their growing family, which now includes their three children and spouses, four grandchildren and another grandchild arriving soon! With a good-hearted son-in-law as the only exception, they are one big orange Clemson Tiger cheering family!

 

His latest real estate adventure brought him to a new role as President at Lee & Associates. After years of commuting to remote cities for work, as well as significant international travel, Wade saw himself working somewhere that was close to his home and family. While he has no intention of slowing down, Lee & Associates is the perfect fit for him. As President, Wade has the ability to use his many years of experience and industry knowledge to further grow and build the company. While already a full-service real estate firm, Wade sees the potential to grow service lines, the customer base and expand into new adjacent markets. One of his passions is people and he was drawn to the Lee & Associates value of “people first”. He enjoys building effective teams and mentoring the next generation of leaders in the real estate industry, an opportunity his new role will allow. He is often reminded of some career advice his mother often shared. She always encouraged him and his sisters to “lift as you climb”. She recognized that success was not an individual thing, and that those who would most enjoy their careers would bring others along with them. Wade now encourages his mentees that the further up the success ladder they go, be sure to take others along with you. As previously noted, he also knows that crediting others is an important leadership quality. True to his advice, he has spent his entire career lifting others up while finding his own success.

When Wade isn’t spending time in the office or with family, he is committed to community involvement. Being involved within the community is very important to Wade and he often encourages his colleagues to “use your ‘for pay’ skills outside your ‘for pay’ job”. For more than 20 years, Wade has volunteered with Camp Twin Lakes, a camp for children with life challenging medical conditions and special needs. He has been a board member since 1997 and is now a Life Board Member. As Site and Facilities Chairman, he oversaw the development of two separate full-service camp sites. Giving back to his alma mater is also important and he has served on many boards at Clemson University including the Board of Visitors, Will-to-Lead Capital Campaign Committee as the Student Affairs Chair, Parents Development Board, including the National Board Chair leadership role. Additionally, he enjoys using his musical talents. As a band member of his church’s worship team, he leads worship several Sundays each month. Whether singing contemporary Christian genre or more traditional hymns, his voice transcends all generations and he lifts spirits within one of Charleston’s largest congregations.

We are very lucky to have Wade and are excited for all that he is bringing to our organization.

Carolina Girl, Best in the World

Cameron spent her childhood summers rotating between swim team, her church youth group, and friend’s houses. A self-proclaimed “council dork,” she constantly took advantage of any opportunity to lead, organize events, or fundraise for an important cause. As an adolescent, she jumped at the chance to plan events or give back to the community. She found great happiness in working with people and being service-oriented – which still reigns true today! In high school, Cameron spent all four years on the Student Council including her term as Student Body President. Cameron spent her summers on mission trips to places such as Jamaica and Mexico. Her passion for people trickled into her college career too!

Although Cameron wanted to go out of state for college initially, she found it important to be close to family. As she was all set to attend Clemson, she toured the University of South Carolina, and something clicked. While the diversity of the campus and the student body was appealing, she will tell you what really made her chose Carolina is that the cafeteria served “half-sweet, half-unsweet” tea… sold.

After seeing the bulletin board on the hall of the Carolina admissions building, Cameron realized she would be presented with so many opportunities as a college student, and she could be anything she wanted to be. She strived to be hard-working and always busy. She decided to study Journalism and Mass Communication with a focus in Public Relations. In between her classes she worked as a runner at a local law firm.

Cameron immersed herself in all that Carolina would offer her. She became an integral part of Freshman Council (student government), Young Life, Alpha Delta Pi sorority, and various clubs. While Cameron continued to develop her academic and professional life at Carolina, she also created lifelong relationships. Cameron met her soon-to-be husband in a women’s studies class. Cameron had a “class crush” on Jacob, and the rest was history. During Cameron’s senior year, Jacob proposed, and they were married the December after graduation.

As Cameron and Jacob began their life together, the pair moved back to Jacob’s home town in Huntersville, NC. This was their first stop on their “Tour de Carolinas”. After settling in, Cameron started her first job as a Coursepack Sales Associate for a local publishing company and College Bookstore, where she would work with professors to create a custom textbook for their class. This included copyright clearance, design, print, and delivery of the end product for $0.55 cents commission per book.

In 2011, Cameron and her husband took their next leap to Raleigh, NC. Cameron worked for the Durham Performing Arts Center (DPAC) where she specialized in public relations and email marketing to gain exposure in the community. Although she loved her role with DPAC, she had an itch to work in the non-profit world and accepted a new role at the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation where she served as a Special Events Specialist. She loved this role as it gave her the opportunity to work with a group of great women to run all Eastern Carolina walks, galas, and events for the organization.

Next stop on the tour was Winston Salem, NC! Jacob went back to business school at Wake Forest University and Cameron worked for an advertising agency as an Account Executive, where she managed inbound marketing and web design for an array of clients. She wore many hats during her stint in Winston Salem and gathered several helpful professional tools along the way.

Upon his graduation, Jacob was placed in the Wells Fargo Leadership Program which carried the couple to Columbia then, last but not least, Charleston! Upon moving to Charleston, Cameron continued to work for her previous employer in Columbia but soon found that she wanted to take advantage of everything Charleston had to offer. While in Myrtle Beach on a work trip, Cameron noticed that her childhood friend, Lindsey Halter (Hi Lindsey!) was promoted at work and her previous role as Marketing Broker Assistant (now Broker Services Coordinator) at Lee & Associates was available! Cameron decided this was the perfect opportunity for her to apply her skills in Charleston and get her feet wet in the commercial real estate industry. Cameron joined the Lee family in June of 2015.

As a Marketing Broker Assistant, Cameron had the opportunity to work closely with Lee Principals and other agents which allowed her to observe different working styles and pick up on skills to build her own positive rapport. After two and a half years, Cameron transitioned to become a full-time agent initially focusing on industrial and flex listings. She now specializes in office and works alongside Reid Davis and Pete Harper on their team, the Charleston Office Advisors.

For the first time in a long time, Cameron felt like she found a job that would present itself as a long term career. She has seen herself grow and her role as an agent has become a lifestyle. Her independence has allowed her to succeed and feel at home here at Lee.

When she’s not closing deals, managing multimillion-dollar listings, or marketing Charleston’s most exclusive new properties, Cameron enjoys spending time with her family and her Labrador, Huck. Cameron’s a glorified foodie, taking advantage of Charleston’s bustling culinary scene. She loves going to the beach and taking advantage of Charleston’s year-round sunshine. She finds any opportunity to network and build relationships in the community. Cameron is a proud aunt to five nieces and nephews – who she’s obsessed with! Her oldest nephew, Parker, was diagnosed with brain cancer when he was six years old. Pounding for Parker was formed to raise money towards pediatric brain cancer research. As a board member of Pounding for Parker, Cameron helps organize the annual golf tournament and gala for a cause very near and dear to her heart. Parker is now ten years old and his tumor is stable!

Cameron finds that her passion for people and relationships and “do-good” attitude have enabled her success as an office agent. Her traits lend themselves to be great connection pieces and after dabbling in such a variety of responsibilities, she can relate to others easily. Of course, her awesome sense of humor helps too!

Celebrating 20 years of CONNECTING PEOPLE WITH PROPERTIES

Lee & Associates Charleston first opened its doors in 1999 with a purpose to serve the commercial real estate needs of the greater Charleston community with passion and excellence. Our firm exists to combine the right person with the right property and we do this by adhering to our trademark tagline, “People First, Properties Second.”  What does that mean? It means that our team puts the interests of our clients and customers ahead of our own. This also applies to the vendors who serve us in carrying out our mission as well as our internal employees – we put people first.

While our identity has remained unchanged, our journey did not begin as Lee & Associates. In April of 1999, Bob Nuttall and Milton Thomas joined forces, leaving their prospective firms behind to establish Anchor Commercial, a local, boutique-style, commercial real estate firm. The pair identified the need in the Charleston market for a more specialized firm to serve clients. With no time to spare, Anchor Commercial was fully operational within weeks of its conception.

Because the firm was unique to the market, Bob and Milton sought to develop an original brand that characterized the services they planned to offer. The Anchor Commercial logo was designed to provide significance and a personalized identity. They intentionally interwove the firm name with the anchor to establish strong brand awareness and name recognition both in the Charleston market and throughout the industry. In a time when electronic advertising was at its primitive stage, print advertising was the industry norm. Yellow pages, mail ads and post cards were Anchor Commercial’s strategy for marketing both their newly formed team and their listings.

Anchor Commercial continued to brand itself and establish a presence in the market by leveraging their industry connections to close deals and build success. The Anchor Commercial team grew at a rapid pace and together offered decades of combined experience in the Charleston real estate market. Their expertise specialized in office, retail, and industrial markets as well as property management. Anchor Commercial identified itself as a “brokerage, development, and property management firm with a commitment to customer service.” The team strived to get to know each client’s business and specific needs and to “meet those needs with discipline, integrity, and a genuine commitment to success.” Naturally, “People First, Properties Second” was coined.

In 2005, Anchor Commercial joined CORFAC International, a network of independently owned commercial real estate firms. CORFAC offered national resources and a collaborative environment, sharing the values that Anchor Commercial was built upon. After 13 years of successful business, the firm then chose to take on a new identity and joined the Lee & Associates platform in 2012. Lee & Associates is the largest firm of its kind in North America, with a reach that extends across the United States, Canada, and Europe. However, Lee & Associates Charleston continues to be locally owned and operated with a native identity and entrepreneurial spirit.

In the past seven years, the Lee & Associates Charleston office has grown from 15 to 45 individuals, growth that is synonymous with that of Charleston. What began as five agents and one support person in 1999, has expanded into a dynamic team of designated experts in office, retail, industrial, land and investment real estate. The firm also offers a full-service Property Management division that currently manages over 70 properties totaling over 3.5 million square feet. The division is the only Commercial Accredited Management Organization headquartered in Charleston, SC and is one of the largest third-party managers in the area.

The firm has enjoyed repeated success over the years. Most recently in 2018, Managing Principals Bob Nuttall, SIOR, CPM, and Reid Davis, CCIM, SIOR, represented the buyer in the sale of the Aviation Business Park in North Charleston for $69 million. The transaction marks one of the largest office transactions in the State of South Carolina in recent years, and the largest office transaction in Charleston’s history.

Anchor Commercial | CORFAC International, now Lee & Associates Charleston, has certainly experienced change and continuous improvement, but one notion has remained constant, “People First, Properties Second.” Throughout our journey, our company has developed a reputation for loyalty, integrity, honesty, and an unwavering commitment to service. Our team looks forward to serving you.

Keep Calm & Hire Hailey

Hailey was born in South Africa to her mother, a native of South Africa, and her English father. She and her family later made a move to Zimbabwe to join her grandfather and his farming business. She fondly remembers growing up surrounded by family and having all her cousins nearby, all whom are now scattered all around the world. Throughout her childhood, her parents would frequently visit the United States. They found and fell in love with the small rural town of Franklin, North Carolina, where they ultimately purchased land, built a home and relocated to when Hailey was in her early teens.

Hailey graduated from high school in Franklin, during which she ran track and broke regional records at swimming. After high school she attended one year of community college. During that time her mom worked for a local residential real estate firm owned by her now in-laws, together they set her up on a blind date with her now husband, Cory. Although they hit it off, Hailey moved to Wilmington to be closer to her brother, Marc, and finish college at The University of North Carolina at Wilmington. Cory soon followed! Hailey graduated with her bachelor’s degree in Business Administration with a focus in Human Resource Management.

After graduation, Cory and Hailey moved to Myrtle Beach where she worked as the Manager of Membership Services for the Myrtle Beach Area Hospitality Association. Shortly after the move, Cory proposed! After five years of dating, the two got married in 2012 in beautiful Clayton, Georgia (the midpoint for his family in Atlanta and her family in Franklin).

In 2013, Cory got a job transfer as an Account Representative with Hagemeyer which brought the couple to Charleston. A board member and hospitality connection Hailey made in Myrtle Beach recommended she apply for a Public Relations and Marketing position at Maverick Southern Kitchens, a family of restaurants in Charleston. Not too long after she accepted the job, the company began outsourcing their Marketing and Hailey was searching for her next professional move.

Hailey met commercial real estate Broker, Jon Chalfie, through the Mount Pleasant Business Association. He suggested she apply for the Marketing/Broker Assistant position at his company, Lee & Associates Charleston. In 2014, Hailey was offered the job and happily accepted. Her first introduction to the staff was at The Windjammer during Lee’s annual summer party. What an exciting way to start a new job!

Shortly after starting at Lee, she got her brokerage license with the long-term goal of becoming a commercial real estate agent. After one year in the position of Marketing/Broker Assistant, she also took on the responsibilities of Office Manager and quickly became a valuable member of the Lee & Associates Charleston team.

In April 2017, Hailey and Cory brought their daughter, Stella, into the world. A year later, nearly four years after her first day, Hailey decided to take the next step in her career. She decided to enter the Associate role with our firm where she could use her extensive behind-the-scenes knowledge to better serve clients.

After several years of working as his assistant, it was a natural transition for Hailey to begin working with Jon on office assignments. After a few months of establishing their specific roles and responsibilities, the two have become an unstoppable pair. He focuses on the big picture, primarily handling business development and she delivers a huge advantage with her back of house experience, exhibiting keen attention to detail, organization and communication skills. Lee clients basically get two agents for the price of one when they choose the real estate duo. Her immediate goal is to build her clientele as she continues growing within the brokerage role. She views her current career choice as the best decision she has ever made, both personally and professionally.

In her spare time, Hailey enjoys a good game of tennis and working on her golf stroke. She loves spending time with Cory, her parents (who moved to Charleston last year), and chasing after her little one, Stella. The three enjoy their time outdoors and frequently visit Charleston parks and beaches on the weekends. Hailey’s loyalty and determination make her an asset to Lee & Associates Charleston’s growing team of agents and we consider ourselves lucky to have her on our side!

Charleston Man, Industrial Specialist

Thomas Buist is a man who knows Charleston, South Carolina. He grew up in the city and left during high school to attend an all-boys boarding school, Episcopal High School, in Alexandria, Virginia, which was, as he says, like “stepping on the gas pedal” for him. Now he had friends from all over the country, and this gave him the opportunity to expand his horizons and travel during school breaks, whether to visit a friend’s mountain or beach house, or go as a group to someone’s hometown. This fueled his love for meeting new people, networking, and having new experiences, all of which would continue throughout his life.

Thomas ended up at the University of South Carolina for college with a little help from his friends, too. He was in the process of applying to other places, but others kept talking with him about the great business school the university offered (plus, it was in his home state!) and the chance to stay close to so many great people he had met was something he couldn’t pass up. Thomas studied business with an emphasis in real estate, and graduated in four years. During his time there, he met Jeanne MacNaughton, who was from Columbia, South Carolina. He knew from the moment he saw her she would be the love of his life, and the two were married after graduation and moved to Charleston.

Back in Charleston, Thomas began his career. On the weekends, he stayed with Jeanne’s family in Columbia while working on becoming a licensed appraiser at the advice of Frank Brumley, a long-time fixture in the Charleston real estate and development world and a close family friend. During the weekdays, Thomas took a job with William M. Bird Paint Company as a salesman. He didn’t have to worry about getting his real estate license during this time, due to having an emphasis in real estate in school and taking the broker exam quickly right after graduating.

After getting his appraisal license, Thomas went to work for Atlantic International in North Charleston as a licensed real estate appraiser and broker, the first big change in his career as he began getting more heavily involved in the commercial real estate world.  Atlantic, which would later become Coldwell Banker, seemed so far away from what Thomas knew and loved in downtown Charleston. After several years with the company, and many months networking with other real estate professionals, Thomas left and joined Chris Fraser and Miles Barkley’s group, the Barkley Fraser Company, also due to another long-time relationship his own family had with Chris and the Barkleys. At the Barkley Fraser Company, Thomas focused solely on brokerage, performing well and eventually being named partner during his 15 years there. After the company was sold, Thomas briefly spent time at NAI, before making a decision to join Lee & Associates Charleston, which Thomas felt not only had a great group of owners and brokers but had the national backing that is important, especially in industrial brokerage (which he specializes in among other brokerage).

Thomas had always liked the industrial market the most, and his knowledge about everything from Charleston’s geography to the changing product supply chains and the growth of Charleston ports was continuing to expand, along with the opportunities in the market in his hometown. A goal of his is, and has been for many years, to help industrial brokers, clients, and distributors set up on the East Coast. He worked closely with Ross Perot, Jr., a national developer, and his team, Hillwood. Together they studied the way industrial trade was changing—instead of the use of a ‘land bridge’ from the West Coast to the East Coast delivering goods from China and other Asian markets, freight was going to begin utilizing the Panama Canal more and therefore docking in major ports along the East Coast, such as Charleston. Perot was a little ahead of his time in terms of developing and selling this idea, along with what is now the Charleston Trade Center, but as an expert in the market Thomas is now seeing this concept (which he spent four years working on) come to fruition and is happy to have that experience now.

Another important part of Thomas’ success as an industrial broker has been becoming an SIOR in 2008, which gave him access to a global network that allows him to work with people not just on the West Coast of the U.S. but even from major global economic countries such as China. He has seen the Charleston market grow and change incredibly—after all, he has been in the city his entire life. In addition to helping companies, landlords, and developers grow, Thomas has been a hunting, fishing, and camping enthusiast his entire life. Outdoor sports have been a source of not just good times, but networking opportunities, from hunting on over 30 different camps and plantations to spending over 16 years in the Governor’s Cup Marlin Tournament, creating bonds while aboard a fishing boat with groups of people who were well-connected in the Charleston community.

Thomas and his wife Jeanne also raised two children—Ann and Lois—and have lived in Mount Pleasant for over 20 years, and his parents and three sisters still live in the Lowcountry as well. He is happy to have served on the Trident Technical Foundation board, helping raise money to establish companies in Charleston such as Boeing, which have changed the local economy dramatically. He also loves cooking and is a lifelong lover of surf fishing out on the barrier islands, one of his favorite pastimes. For Thomas, real estate is his passion because the inventory is all over the place, not hidden away in some warehouse. He always has and always will love getting out and about, meeting people and visiting new sites, and real estate gives him the opportunity to continue growing his network in and outside of Charleston. You won’t find Thomas sitting at his desk all day, but more likely out shaking hands and creating new deals.

The Other Side of Lee

There is a lot to Lee & Associates Charleston that helps keep the company going—our hardworking, organized Broker Services Coordinators, our creative Marketing team, our hardworking Brokerage team, and the incredibly patient Property Management team. Supporting everyone is Lizzie Cook, Operations Manager and unofficial backbone of Lee Charleston. Lizzie had an unexpected journey to real estate—but her multi-faceted background and level head makes her perfect for the role.

Lizzie was born in Greenville, South Carolina, and grew up in the small town of Fountain Inn with her two older sisters and three stepsisters. She rode horses competitively until softball, and eventually cheerleading in high school, became more of a priority. As a teenager, she was already excelling in various areas of her life—she made varsity cheer her freshman year and served on the student council throughout all four years of high school, culminating in her election of student body president her senior year. Lizzie met other South Carolina natives—like Cameron Yost—who, surprisingly, would end up popping up later in her career at Lee—at this time.

After high school, Lizzie studied Visual Communications at the University of South Carolina, which is a degree offered through the school of journalism that focuses on visual mediums and how to use them effectively in industries such as advertising, PR, media, and more. She continued her streak of participating and leading her peers by working for The Daily Gamecock, first as a page designer and later on as the Design Director for the university’s publication. This spurred an interest in working in publishing, but she quickly realized after graduating a semester early that the newspaper industry maybe wasn’t as thriving as she wanted for a career. She knew one thing: it was time for a new beginning somewhere and that place was Charleston.

Shortly after her move to Charleston, Lizzie’s brother-in-law introduced her to his friend, Will, who happened to have an open room in his house available for rent, conveniently located near Lizzie’s restaurant job at the time. This job was soon to change, however. Will, now her roommate, told her about Anchor Commercial, his brother-in-law, Milton Thomas’, company. They were looking for a Marketing/Broker Assistant. This person would serve as Milton’s right hand, so he could continue making deals as the company’s portfolio grew. Lizzie didn’t know much about the real estate industry, but easy-going and flexible with change, she accepted the position.

At this time, Anchor Commercial was small. Lizzie remembers about eight agents, two property managers, one property management assistant, one bookkeeper, and one operations manager. She spent two years learning the ins and outs of the industry, until she did a complete 180 in her career—and life!—and moved to Dallas, Texas, for a Pharmaceutical Sales job.

This job took Lizzie from her role in Charleston working with a tight-knit team to a very large corporate firm and a new position covering an expansive territory. She was travelling Monday through Thursday, and although she made great friends in Texas, she was hardly around to get to know her new city and began to realize she needed to live closer to her family. She optimistically moved back to Charleston with no job, but a room at a friend’s place and a future full of opportunity.

Lizzie put more of her organizational and level-headedness to test at her next role as a Client Services Representative for Hamby Catering & Events, a staple in the Charleston events scene for decades and a high-pressure role that had her coordinating with brides, clients, planners, and more on a daily basis. While she was working at Hamby, Bob, Milton, and Reid learned that Lizzie moved back to Charleston. They took her to lunch and asked her to come back to what was now Lee & Associates Charleston, previously Anchor Commercial. The company was very rapidly growing, and they needed someone to facilitate this growth, manage daily business activity, and handle HR tasks. Most importantly, they wanted Lizzie in this role.

Soon after she joined the team, Lizzie facilitated the move from the old Daniel Island office to the current office, downtown on Morrison Drive. This was a key role for Lizzie to play, as she could ensure everything ran smoothly while the brokers could continue to focus on their agent work. While Lizzie’s job has evolved over the last five years, this very much remains at the core of her role: she works hard running Lee Charleston so that the brokers, coordinators, and marketing team can stay on task and focused on their roles in the business. She is very much involved in all Human Relations duties as the company’s growth sets new expectations, and touches on everything from budgets to software to commission management to venture capital. Since the arrival of Dave Howard as President, Lizzie has spent a great deal of time with him, improving Lee Charleston’s organizational effectiveness and making alterations to the operations with an outside, fresh perspective.

Another major event occurred quickly after Lizzie moved back to Charleston from Dallas, outside of her career. One night at Home Team Barbeque after a kickball game with friends, she was introduced to Bryson Cook, and two days later was hanging out with him on his boat. They became engaged in 2014, and married in 2015. She also returned to school in 2014 to get her master’s degree in business, and spent her nights after work attending classes at The Citadel with other like-minded professionals until her graduation two and a half years later.

Lizzie and Bryson live in West Ashley (where Lizzie says the best part of their home is spending evenings looking out at the marsh from the porch). The couple (as well as the entire Lee Charleston office) welcomed baby Emma in October 2018. When Lizzie gets away from her job, she likes to spend time outdoors and traveling to visit family. She is also a member of the Junior League of Charleston, where she is on the Cobblestones Magazine Committee and feels inspired by the volunteerism and culture of women supporting other women there. Her father’s history as a businessman and acting CFO of his company in Greenville is a point of guidance for her when she feels overwhelmed, and her mother’s drive—she went back to school just a few years ago to become a doctor of nursing practice—is a great source of motivation. The last little factor that gets Lizzie through her toughest days? The great community she has at Awaken Church, and her favorite Bible verse, which she likes to sum up like this: “work as though you are working for the Lord and not for men.”

Hard Work and Good Values

There’s a good chance, unless you’re from the neighboring town of Silver, like Ryan Welch’s wife, Amanda, that you’ve never heard of Turbeville, South Carolina. Ryan was born and raised in this small town, where there was (and still is) one stoplight, one post office, one grocery store, and (as he likes to joke) 12 cops ready to pull you over if you aren’t abiding by the 35 mile-per-hour speed limit across town. Today, it is the last dry town in the state of South Carolina. Despite its quirks, Ryan is thankful for his upbringing in Turbeville—his experiences there instilled the hard work and respect he has for others today.

Growing up on a farm with his parents and older brother, starting at age 12 Ryan was expected to work during the summers and on weekends. At that age, waking up at the crack of dawn to cut wheat and perform other tasks was a big pain for him, but now Ryan looks back with gratitude. It helped reinforce what his parents were always telling him—while they weren’t strict, moral values such as respecting others, working hard, and taking care of others were always emphasized. Working in the fields at a young age helped Ryan understand these things better. Besides, it wasn’t all bad. Ryan has always loved being outdoors—from playing sports (he played football, baseball, basketball, and ran track) to fishing and hunting (he says there is nowhere in the world he is happier than when he is out calling ducks), he has always found an excuse to get outside. Baseball, in fact, became a very big force in Ryan’s life. Playing at Carolina Academy in high school, his team was runner-up for state champions his junior year and his senior year they won state and he was named the SCISA 2A Statewide Baseball Player of the Year. He continued to play ball in college for a year, until he was injured. However, the biggest influence baseball had in his life was not on the field, but actually off, in the dugout.

At the age of 11, Ryan and friends were waiting in the dugout, watching the older boys practice and waiting for their own practice to start. To pass the time, they took turns jumping up to hang onto the rafters, moving further back each round to see how far they could reach. The first couple of jumps went fine, but another time around Ryan didn’t manage to grip the rafter correctly and his whole body fell, first hitting the steel bench and then crashing onto the concrete floor. He was revived in the ambulance on the way to the hospital, where he received care from a man named Dr. Nasso. Ryan spent three days in ICU, and the clot that had developed in his brain, miraculously, dissolved. His story would be featured in an ad for Carolinas Hospital System for years to come. This would change Ryan’s life—from then on, he wanted to be a neurosurgeon, so he could do for others what Nasso had done for him.

After getting injured playing baseball in college, Ryan changed his trajectory to focus more on studies and transferred to the University of South Carolina to study biology, but he would have another change of direction that following summer. He was taking classes (“I always have to stay busy, or I get into trouble!”) and living with a roommate who brought him to the NAI Avant office to interview to be a runner for the summer—an activity to take up time when he wasn’t in class. Ryan got the job almost immediately. Being a runner allowed Ryan to meet Paul Hartley, who took him under his wing. By the end of the summer, Ryan had applied to business school and was enrolled to double major in both business and biology, while still working for NAI throughout his college career. He moved into Property Management with the company immediately after graduating, and signed a contract saying he would stay with NAI for a year (if the year didn’t work out, Ryan would return to neurosurgery and follow that path back to medical school). After this time passed, he not only found himself the Regional Director of Property Management at NAI, but he had made the move to Charleston, SC, while working on transitioning to brokerage.

It was in Charleston and working in brokerage where Ryan met Thomas Buist. Both were approached by Reid Davis, who within a month had moved them to what then was Anchor Commercial, and now is Lee & Associates Charleston. Ryan learned quickly in his brokerage career that he liked industrial commercial real estate, not just because there was always something new but because he felt good about working on projects that were creating jobs for others, helping people and the economy. Since joining Reid and the rest of the Lee Charleston team, Ryan says his work has been fun, but nonstop. He credits Reid, Milton Thomas, and Bob Nuttall, along with his serious drive and work ethic, with the success he’s had in his career and considers the people he works with as family. He knows, because of his childhood, how to respect every member of the team, as they are all spokes that make up the wheel. In 2018, Ryan not only earned his SIOR designation, but was named Principal and had a daughter, Anna Briggs Welch.

In addition to working hard, Ryan is a member of the Coastal Conservation Association and a guide at the South Carolina Waterfowl Association. He and Amanda were married in 2016 (although they have known each other for most of their lives, having even dated in middle school!). The family’s two Boykin Spaniels are always making Anna laugh or out in the field with Ryan, hunting, fishing, and helping him retrieve ducks. He sticks to the golden rule: treat others the way you want to be treated, and when he needs inspiration he thinks of his favorite Ralph Waldo Emerson quote: “Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail”.

Do What You Love

Cori Nuttall is a Charleston native and Carolina girl through and through. Born and raised in the city, she is the oldest of three girls and studied marketing and sales at Clemson University before moving back to begin her career—although it really had begun before college ended if you consider her involvement in extracurriculars, internships, and classwork. Right off the bat, Cori found her passion when she spearheaded a sales team for the Tiger Paw Classic, where she secured sponsorships, managed the project pipeline, and even coordinated event components that led to her group’s success.  Despite loving this, she spent her first year back in Charleston working for a public relations agency, specifically with hospitality clients, although she knew in her heart this wasn’t exactly the right path for her. That just so happened to be when things fell into place.

Cori comes from a family that has a strong history in real estate, especially in the Lowcountry market. Her grandfather worked in real estate, and her father, Bob Nuttall, founded the Charleston branch of Lee & Associates with Milton Thomas in 1999. Inspired by this and loving sales, she obtained her real estate license after her PR job, and at the same time a new president arrived at Lee, and with it a new opportunity: to join Dave Howard’s “commercial real estate boot camp”, as she likes to call it. She gave Dave a call, and told him who she was, what she wanted to do, and about her fierce determination. She became the very first member of the Lee & Associates Charleston office to be given this role.

The program had Cori working in different roles on a day-to-day basis, all of which has prepared her to take the commercial real estate world by storm. From market research for major projects such as our Industrial Crane Tracker to events, networking, and showings, to working one-on-one with agents around the office who are invested in her success, she found herself busy but excited to feel so motivated about an industry.

Something of most importance to Cori about her work right now are the relationships she is building with so many people in the Charleston community. By being a tourist in her own town, her eyes have opened up to areas and people she had never gotten to know growing up. Tenant representation work has been especially important to her—by working so closely with these people, she gets to form a bond with them that in turn makes her work harder, and their passion for their businesses rub off on her, too. This insight also allows Cori to see how the market in the city grows, and how change actually takes place.

Although she works hard as the youngest female associate in the office, there are many other things Cori is passionate about and cares for. She has long been involved in the musical theatre scene and was president of her school’s all-female acapella group, Take Note. The group was a big part of her life, and one of her favorite artists to cover has always been Carrie Underwood (Carrie actually retweeted Take Note’s video for a competition, where they did a mash-up of her top hits!). She continues singing for her church choir on the weekend, and finds the experience of standing up in front of people has helped her presence in front of clients and at showings greatly. Cori also spends time visiting friends in Greenville and Charlotte, and most of her weekends in the fall she heads back to Clemson to cheer on the Tigers at football games. She also attends all Citadel home football games and works for an alumni group called the Stray Dog Society, where they host big tailgates and collaborate on major events such as harbor cruises and homecoming parties (this is when that experience selling sponsorships comes back into play). On top of all of this, Cori is a member of CREW, the Charleston Young Professionals Network, and recently graduated from the Leadership Discovery Program with the South Carolina Chamber of Commerce.

More than anything, Cori tries to abide by what Dave frequently says: Failure is not an option. She strongly believes that if you do what you love, financial and career success will follow, and looks forward to continuing working in commercial real estate and forging bonds with the community here in Charleston and beyond.

On Your Team

The first thing Jon Chalfie will tell you about himself is that he is a big sports fan. The oldest of three boys, he was born and raised in Cincinnati, Ohio, where he was a Bengals fan and grew up cheering for the Reds at baseball games each summer. His love of sports drew him to the University of Wisconsin for college, where the Big 10 atmosphere was exciting, and a new state offered him a chance to get away. Jon continued to travel farther from his home state, ending up in San Francisco after he graduated college. It was in California where Jon’s love for live music evolved, particularly the jam music scene and the Grateful Dead. He spent the next several years traveling to concerts and festivals, which gave him the opportunity not to just see his favorite music played live (he estimates he’s seen the Dead play over 70 times!) but to see other cities and national parks across the U.S.

After San Francisco, Jon made the move all the way from the West Coast to the East Coast, stopping in Delaware. There, he started a family and began his career in Property Management. On the side, Jon was still making sure to do things he loved and continued working as a beer vendor at baseball games as he had done in the past (his claim to fame might be his ability to pour three beers into three different cups at one time!). It was a good way to have some fun and balance out the work he was doing at his main, full-time job in Property Management. While he had always known he had wanted to go into real estate, Jon was not sure if his current role was the right option for him and knew for a fact that when he would move into sales, residential real estate was not the direction that inspired him. After seven years in Delaware, things took a turn when Jon and his family relocated to Charleston and he was able to start his commercial real estate career.

At first, Jon wasn’t sure how much he would like it since Charleston isn’t a “big league” sports town. However, the nightlife, festivals (such as Charleston Wine + Food, and Spoleto), and many outdoor activities he could participate in were enough to fill that void. The city also gave him the chance to finally alter the direction of his career. Jon dove in and was able to start meeting with different brokers and firms about his next move. He met with several who were well-known in the Charleston area—including Bob Nuttall from Lee & Associates—until he settled on The Barkley Fraser Company.  It was here where Jon made the decision to specialize in Office Commercial Real Estate. When initially making this choice, he was leaning toward retail, however realized that by specializing in office he could work with many local clients who were professional, like-minded and kept him on his toes.

After twelve years with the same firm, Jon sought a change of pace and renewed energy and reconnected with Bob. He saw Lee & Associates as not only a platform to succeed, but a place where his work could continue to be recognized in the Charleston community.

In addition to loving the collaborative environment and energy he has in his work life, Jon enjoys a number of hobbies in the Charleston area. He considers himself a big advocate for public transportation and urban living, and supports movements in the city for expansion of the Bus Rapid Transit system (plans are in place to have buses run from downtown Charleston all the way up to Summerville), and the Lowline, which will be a walking path down the spine of the peninsula where railways used to run.  He also became a Paul Harris fellow with the Daniel Island Rotary Club and spent two years as President of the Mount Pleasant Chamber of Commerce.

Jon has several ways he stays connected to sports, too. He coached his daughter’s elementary and middle school basketball teams and cheered his son through travel soccer programs and on to two soccer state championships at Wando High School.  His son is now a sophomore at the University of Georgia—which has given him a real fighting interest in the SEC—and his daughter is a sophomore on the Wando High School volleyball team.  Jon had the good fortune of returning to Europe with his family this past summer and can’t wait to plan where he will travel to next (Greece and Asia are at the top of his list!).

Whether it is chatting about the World Cup or planning your next move in real estate, Jon is always open to sitting down with a beer and seeing where the next adventure might lead. Despite growing up thinking he would always return to Cincinnati someday, Jon has made a permanent home here in Charleston and looks forward to the years to come in the Lowcountry and with Lee and Associates, working as a team with some of the best in the business.