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This summer has brought grand openings, new business announcements, exciting developments, and much more. We’ve also had the pleasure of welcoming two bright interns to the Crunkleton team: Brandon Weis and Makenlie Pitzing! Both bring unique talents to the office and are assisting our brokers and marketing team with various projects.

During their time at Crunkleton, they have been able to participate in all areas of commercial real estate and gain experience in leasing, brokerage, development, property management, and marketing. They’ve done an excellent job of representing the company and the next generation of commercial real estate professionals.

We recently sat down with Brandon and Makenlie to hear more about their internship experiences and career goals.

Brandon Weis – Broker Intern

Tell us a little about yourself.

I am going into my junior year at Auburn University, majoring in business management with a minor in family business and entrepreneurship. I chose this field of study because, for as long as I can remember, I’ve had a knack for entrepreneurship and deeply admired people who were in business for themselves.

I started my first business when I was 12. It was a small lawn care company that serviced several yards within my own neighborhood. By 16, I had started my own web design business, and the summer after my freshman year of college I started BW Surface Cleaning, a pressure washing company. It was the first business in which I assembled a team of independent contractors to help me complete jobs.

What about commercial real estate interests you?

Commercial real estate interests me because of its entrepreneurial richness. It is challenging, often stretching your abilities creatively and as an entrepreneur as well.

I also enjoy the personal aspect of it, forming and fostering relationships and working collaboratively to put together deals that positively impact the community.

What projects have you worked on during your internship?

There were many occasions when I was able to shadow the brokers and see how each handled their designated business specialties. For instance, Eric specializes in office brokerage while Zac and Anusha focus on retail. Each of those deals is very different and requires a nuanced perspective.

I’ve learned a lot about the leasing process and what goes into creating a mutually beneficial deal. My days also consisted of various research projects, and I even helped create a few marketing materials.

What did you enjoy working on the most?

Investment and development both interested me before I began my internship, so seeing those aspects of the industry first-hand was exciting. It was also motivating to watch a broker work on a deal and maneuver the process. So much goes into creating a successful deal—it’s a lot of work. But it’s work I enjoyed learning about.

All of the experience I’ve been able to gain has convinced me that I do want to be involved in commercial real estate in some capacity within my own career.

What’s been your greatest takeaway?

Like I said, I’ve always had an inkling that I wanted to go into commercial real estate. Now that I’ve had this experience, I not only know it’s an industry I want to be a part of, but I also know how to tactically go about doing it.

What qualities do you believe are important for a commercial real estate professional?

Number one is having well-developed interpersonal skills. Other important qualities are the ability to think outside the box and having a strong work ethic. You can’t be afraid of hard work.

Finally, I think it’s important for a CRE professional to have tenacity. Every day is different, so facing new challenges head-on with determination is key.

What are the next steps for you in your career?

Finishing my degree is first on my list. After that, I plan to get into investment and commercial brokerage. There are a lot of possibilities out there and I’m excited for them.

What do you like to do outside of the office?

Fitness is another interest of mine. I love working out, spending time with friends, and playing cards. Those take up much of my time. I’m also on the Auburn University Club Hockey Team.

Makenlie Pitzing – Marketing Intern

Tell us a little about yourself.

My college career began at The University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa where I was majoring in interior design. I was also a Crimsonette in the Million Dollar Band for two years.

At the end of my sophomore year, I decided to switch my major to broadcasting with a minor in communications. It wasn’t long before I transferred to The University of Alabama in Birmingham (UAB) for a job opportunity and to be closer to home. I finished my degree there and soon held an internship at Channel 13 in Birmingham.

I considered going ahead and getting my real estate license when I graduated but decided to get more experience in the industry first. That’s when I heard about the marketing internship at Crunkleton. I thought it would be a great opportunity to gain real-world experience, meet new people, and become more familiar with the Huntsville area/market.

What about commercial real estate interests you?

I like the development part best and seeing how properties can transform. Marketing commercial developments is a cool experience because you help create a voice and image for the property.

Learning about retail leasing has also been fun. It’s amazing how much goes into creating a successful retail center.

What projects have you enjoyed working on at Crunkleton?

Being able to work within commercial real estate and marketing at the same time is perfect for me. I’m able to gain insight into the real estate world, all while working in an area that is closer to my degree.

Seeing developments come alive and watching properties transform has been exciting. I’ve also enjoyed learning more about leasing for retail concepts and creating synergistic properties.

In addition to that, I’ve been working with several design programs within the Adobe Creative Suite that have been excellent experience. Working in the marketing department means I’ve been able to enjoy a special focus on graphic design, writing, branding, and messaging. I believe those are areas that translate into any type of business.

What’s been your greatest takeaway so far?

Learning about commercial real estate, in general, has been extremely beneficial. It has allowed me to explore my interest in the area and see where I fit within the industry.

I’ve gained many skills in graphic design by making various marketing materials for properties like flyers, maps, and more. Photography has also been a part of the internship.

I hope to spend more time shadowing the brokers and learning more about their side of the business soon. I’ll also be contributing to the Crunkleton blog, which is exciting.

What are the next steps for your career?

I’m just starting out, so I’m trying to gain as much experience as possible to determine where my focus should be. I’ve discovered my love for the creative side of marketing. I’d like a position where I can combine all my passions for real estate, communication, and creativity. I look forward to my job search beginning once my internship is complete.

What do you do outside of the office for fun?

I’m one of those people who likes to stay busy, so I’m still working part-time while completing my Crunkleton internship. I’m currently managing some computer programs for a preschool in Birmingham to enhance online learning.

Exercise is another love of mine; I like to be active. Other than that, I enjoy painting, spending time outdoors kayaking or hiking, and visiting farmers markets when they are up-and-running.

What do you think are important qualities for a marketing professional?

Being able to work with a variety of people and personalities is very important. You need to communicate well and determine people’s needs. Marketing is an evolving field. New methods and technologies are added all the time and it’s important to stay invested in the trade.

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