Harry Kennerk, S.E.C.


An S.E.C. Biography

Harry Kennerk was born in Fort Wayne, Indiana, where he grew up. He attended Ballermine College in Louisville, Kentucky, majoring in history and philosophy.

Harry was born into an Irish-Catholic family, and was the second of eight children. His mother was always a fun-loving person her whole life and related well to young people. His father was an attorney in Fort Wayne. Although his parents were not specifically involved in real estate, Harry gives his father credit for developing his long-term interest in the field. He tells the story of when, as a young boy, he asked his father to explain a second mortgage to him. After several failed attempts, his father stopped short and said, “Just don’t get involved in one and leave it at that.” Harry has always considered that good advice.

Harry and his wife, Linda, have been married for 38 years and have six children. They have been residents of Indianapolis for a long time and recently found themselves at the empty-nest stage of their lives, but they’re adjusting well. Two of their sons work in the business with Harry and he gives them considerable praise for their contributions to the continued success of the business. As with all of their family, their children and grandchildren’s accomplishments are an obvious source of pride for Harry and Linda.

Upon graduation from college Harry accepted a position in sales for the Xerox Corporation. His motivation, at the time, was to acquire some corporate training and he found the four-year work experience to be a good fit and quite rewarding. As his goal was to eventually find his way into real estate investment, he moved into a position with an appraisers group after leaving Xerox. He worked for three years on syndicating and appraising neighborhood strip centers. After this, Harry joined a commercial builder until the onset of 18% interest rates forced a steady decline of commercial building.

Two years later, Harry formed his own company, the H.H. Kennerk Company. His newly formed real estate investment company brokered apartment complexes and eventually progressed into property management, supervising over four thousand rental units and two million square feet of retail space. Harry sold the company after ten years and formed Sycamore Capital Group, LLC, which he owns and manages to date.

Sycamore Capital Group is a full-service real estate investment company specializing in investment counseling, redevelopment and 1031 exchanges. It consists of three brokers and three staff/development personnel. The business has accomplished 100 million dollars in sales within the past year, which includes a 95-acre shopping center development project. The company gets involved in joint ventures with companies that excel in this field, but does not participate in management.

Golf and fishing are his most favored ways to spend free time, but Harry’s most important hobby is his family. He and Linda own a 20-acre farm that once was home to all kinds of 4-H animal projects. He now enjoys spending time “working” the land, but admits that anymore, that pastime generally amounts to keeping it mowed.

Harry is professionally affiliated with the Builders Association of Greater Indianapolis and the Indiana Commercial Board of Realtors and serves as Past President of the Indianapolis Real Estate Exchange.

Harry’s involvement in the Society of Exchange Counselors has been a continuously rewarding experience. His contributions to the Society have included long-term membership, serving as President of the organization, and an ongoing participation as a member of the Society’s Board of Governors. When asked to comment on his best moment in Real Estate, he replied, “I’m still looking forward to it;” but added that being recognized twice by the Society as “Exchangor of the Year” was one of his proudest achievements. He says, “The worst experience in Real Estate doesn’t exist. Everything is a learning experience.”

The business goal for Harry is simple. To build and preserve a real estate investment company that maintains ongoing value for generations to come. His continuing personal goal is to lead a reasonable lifestyle and raise a successful family. His approach to attaining both goals is one of advancing his business services and family life through a “for-the-good-of-all” philosophy.

The day he realized the difference between being religious and making a life-long commitment to Christ marks the most significant day in Harry’s life. He says that from that day forward his business and personal life slowly took on new meaning. Any sense of “lack” in his life up to that point was eliminated, creating a sense of unlimited possibilities and successes.

In Harry’s opinion, the key to being successful in the real estate industry is cooperation. He has come to understand the quote that in business relationships, “Cooperation creates maximum value through maximum competition.” He says that in real estate, pocket listings don’t work. He believes that if one can leverage business capabilities and possibilities with others in the same business, the result is the creation of a “Virtual Company” that has the ability to create long-term achievements. To that end, the Society of Exchange Counselors has played an integral part in his business approach.

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