John Crossman

By on Sep 9, 2013 in People

John Crossman has taken a career in commercial real estate to exceptionally contributive heights. Not content to focus solely on the success of the company he helms, the 42-year-old Floridian takes the time to speak to college students, volunteer and fundraise for non-profit aCrossman, John - Crossman & Co - 9.09 - Lownd social justice causes, and all the while maintaining a focus on faith and family.

In one of the online videos in which he is featured, Crossman explains his philosophy:

“Some people have a perspective that if you’re a leader, you’re a king. You put a crown on, and people serve you. I remind myself that in my leadership, I’m a servant. Staying focused on serving my clients and serving my employees, serving the industry and serving Florida State, that’s my lot in life.”

It sounds like a full plate, but Crossman has an impressive legacy to maintain. His father, the late Rev. Kenneth C. Crossman, was a Civil Rights leader influenced by Martin Luther King Jr. Growing up in a home where education and service were strong values was a major influence on Crossman, who has brought those principled practices into his real estate business.

“There are lots of reasons to do it, but I feel morally obligated. If we weren’t helping out in the area of education within our industry, we’d really be doing something wrong,” he said in a recent interview.

Yardi client Crossman & Company, co-owned by John and Scott Crossman, is a major retail leasing, management, development, and marketing firm in the Southeast, with over 20 million square feet of inventory in Florida, Georgia, Alabama, South Carolina, North Carolina and Tennessee.

Since leaving Trammell Crow in 2006 to partner with Scott, Crossman has focused much energy on educating the real estate leaders, both of the present and the future. He’s been a longtime member of ICSC, serving in numerous leadership roles. And he delivers up to 10 lectures to college students each year, in Florida and around the country. Additionally, Crossman & Company’s website has a special section just for university students who are seeking industry insight.

“We want to become known nationally as the best company that’s a resource for college students, or anyone in the U.S. looking to getting into real estate,” John Crossman said. As a result of lecture videos posted on YouTube, he’s been contacted by students from around the U.S. and universities as far afield as China with requests for advice and speaking invites.

His passion for education is motivated in part by his own positive experiences at Florida State University, where he determined real estate would be his career path and also captained the track team. He’s the youngest member to be inducted into the Florida State University College of Business Hall of Fame, an honor bestowed this year. In addition to lecturing, he puts his money where his mouth is, endowing two scholarships named for his father at FSU and Bethune-Cookman University.

Drawing heavily from pop culture, especially his favorite sitcom, The Office, Crossman’s lectures to students are engaging and exceptionally real world. One of the most popular focuses on five ways to stay hired and five ways to get fired. It’s peppered with real world anecdotes about people and circumstances he countered in the world of commercial real estate, and it hooks students from the beginning. You can view video of Crossman speaking to students here:

Hiring young talent is also a priority at Crossman & Company, where numerous students have started as interns and gone on to build successful careers. After each of his lectures, Crossman encourages the students to connect with him on social media. He’s fully engaged with Facebook, YouTube and LinkedIn, and encourages other commercial firms not to shy away from the brave new world of online media.

I recently spoke with Crossman about his focus on education and many other topics in a recent interview on behalf of Commercial Property Executive. Read the full interview here.