Robert R. Giniecki, S.E.C., CCIM: Biography

Bob Giniecki

Bob Giniecki is a man of many interests and talents with a strong background in retail marketing. Bob was born in Schenectady, New York, which is part of the Capital Metropolitan Albany Region of New York State, and he grew up in the suburb of Niskayuna. Bob’s parents owned a country store and greenhouse business, where he worked while in secondary school. Later, his younger brother Bill took over the business. When his father once asked him what he would like to do in his future, Bob answered that he would like to run a department store. However, Bob also indicated an interest in real estate at an early age since his grandfather and father had owned and subdivided property. Bob feels that he owes his entrepreneurial interests to his parents and his grandparents who emigrated from Europe where they were considered to be of stature.

After attending a public grade school and high school at a private academy, he graduated with a New York State Regents Diploma. Since he was uncertain which career path to follow, his parents suggested attending college and majoring in business. He took their advice and registered at Albany Business College majoring in accounting and business administration where he completed four years of accounting in two years of study. Upon graduating from ABC at the age of nineteen, he found that business was to be his career path and transferred his credits to Ithaca College in Ithaca, New York, where he graduated with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Business Management. While in college, Bob served as president of not one but two fraternities. While at the Albany college, he was elected as President of the Delta Nu Omega fraternity, and at Ithaca College, he was elected as President of the Delta Sigma Pi international business fraternity for two terms. He also was elected as President of the Newman Club while at Albany and again at Ithaca College. In addition, he served as the New York State Treasurer of the Newman Club. Furthermore, while at Ithaca College, he was inducted into the Adelphi Honor Society due to his scholastic achievement. While in college and as president of a fraternity, Bob negotiated his first real estate transaction, which was the purchase of a fraternity house using a “no-money down land contract.” During the school year, he worked at a college bookstore at the entrance of the Cornell University campus in Ithaca, and in the summer, he worked for a large wholesale bakery firm in Schenectady.

After graduating from Ithaca College, Bob entered into retailing with Montgomery Ward, which had offered an 18-month management-training program. He was assigned to the Ithaca, NY, store for his first 12-month training segment. At the end of the first year, the company needed an assistant manager to fill in for a month at a store in Ohio to cover for the general manager who was to take a vacation; thus, Bob was assigned to the store as “acting assistant manager” for that time. Upon completion of that assignment, Bob was transferred to another store in Binghamton, NY, to complete the remaining six months of training as a senior trainee.

At the completion of his training program, he was transferred to Silver Springs, Maryland, a suburb of Washington, DC, where Ward was opening up the largest store of the chain. Upon arrival at the store, he was recognized by one of the project supervisors, who had initially had met Bob at the Ithaca store. The supervisor assigned him a section of the store to set up; he was given a set of blueprints and a crew of twenty. Bob realized early on that if he had the right people on his staff, he could accomplish the job faster by appointing one of the team as his assistant. Therefore, he could delegate assignments. In addition, he knew that if he had the right people doing certain tasks that were of interest to them, they would be more dedicated and work more efficiently. So, Bob arranged to trade employees with other supervisors by offering the other supervisors two of his staff for the one person he wanted in his section. Although Bob’s section was the last to be assigned for set up due his selection of staff, he was one of the first to complete the task. After the set up task was completed, he then was assigned to train the store personnel. When the store opened, he was then assigned as floor supervisor.

Ward’s New York Regional Office apparently was pleased with Bob’s performance and about a week after the Washington area store had opened, the store operating manager notified Bob that the New York office was assigning him to another store in Maryland on the Delmarva Peninsula (Chesapeake Bay area) as Acting General Manager and that his assignment would be to operate the store until it would be scheduled to close due to poor performance. Bob’s initial comment was that there must be some mistake, because he had only recently completed the training and his only management experience was the thirty days as Acting Assistant Manager in the Ohio store. He noted that since the Washington store had around eight hundred employees, there must be a mistake. Nevertheless, he was assured that they had not made a mistake in giving him this as assignment. The office told him not to be concerned, because the present general manager would spend a week with him to show him the ropes. The office requested that he was not to discuss the store closing with anyone but to operate the store in a normal fashion until a closing date was to be scheduled.

Upon Bob’s arrival at his assignment, he introduced himself to the manager; the manager called the regional office and told them Bob had arrived. The regional office told the manager that he was needed immediately at an Ohio store to which he was being transferred and that he should take the next plane out. Therefore, Bob’s “familiarization” was limited to a tour of the store, dinner that evening with the outgoing manager where he got a rundown on the employees, and a parting, “Good luck, here’s the keys to the store.” To complicate matters, the assistant manager was on a two-week vacation.

It was February, and Bob, now age twenty-four, was managing a store that was to be closed because a naval base had closed. Nevertheless, based on the unique training he had received from the general managers he has trained under, Bob reviewed the store’s merchandising plan and personnel. He immediately revised the store-merchandising plan as well as promoted three of his staff to managerial responsibilities. By April, Bob generated a store profit and in June, just four months after his arrival, he had achieved the best month ever for the store. Ward’s regional management was so amazed at the turn around that they decided not to close the store, made Bob permanent general manager, and named Bob Ward’s Manager of the Year. In September, one week prior to Bob’s twenty-fifth birthday, again he was advised that he was to be promoted to a recently opened new store in Huntsville, Alabama, as Operating Manager. This store was one of twelve of Ward’s largest stores on the entire east coast. Typically, to be assigned to this position, one would have to be with the firm for twelve to fifteen years, yet Bob achieved this assignment only after being with the firm for twenty-two months. Within the next two years, Bob was given two more promotions and was assigned to another Ohio store as general manager. In the five years Bob had been with Ward, he received eight promotions. However, Bob also had an interest in acquiring real estate, but he could not purchase the property when he found a place he wanted to buy because he was being transferred too often. Thus, he decided to resign from the company so that he could find a job that would not require relocation.

Bob was made aware of an opening at the H. S. Barney Co., one of the largest and upscale high-end department stores in the Albany, NY, area. Upon applying, the president of the firm tested Bob’s ability by asking Bob if he could redesign the layout of one of the store’s large departments following his Friday afternoon interview. To the surprise of the president, Bob had completed the task over the weekend. Thus, he was appointed as assistant to the president. He was hired that August at age twenty-seven and was given a free hand in his assignments. The store had not generated a profit for the previous ten years, but within four months, Bob generated a profit; thus, he was promoted to Vice President and then to Executive Vice President. Since he was being groomed to become the store’s CEO, the company told him to find a replacement for himself who could assume his duties. Shortly thereafter, Bob located a potential replacement per a referral from one of the store’s major suppliers. In the interview, Bob asked this young man what he wanted to be doing in the next five years; he told Bob that he wanted his job, and Bob hired him. During his stay with the firm, he continued to retain and bring in new talent, and the store prospered. The NY State Department of Commerce even asked Bob to teach merchandising to small retail firms across the state.

Shortly after becoming CEO and having done so well, Bob realized that after six years with this firm, there was no longer a challenge. Therefore, he began looking into the real estate field. Bob offered his resignation to the Board of Directors of the department store, and to his surprise, within a half hour of his resignation, the word had spread in the community. One of Bob’s major competitive department stores called and offered him a position, and a friend of his who was an owner and general manager of a real estate brokerage firm also offered Bob the opportunity to be the firm’s business manager and vice president. Needless to say, Bob, wanting a new challenge, entered the real estate brokerage field with the Blake Realty firm. Under Bob’s guidance, the firm was divided into separate divisions: commercial, residential, management, and appraisal. Furthermore, he developed a staff of fifteen commercial agents. After six years with this firm and having earned his CCIM designation, Bob realized that his growth with the firm would be limited; thus, he resigned and formed his own firm, Foresite Properties, Inc.

Within three years, Bob had expanded his firm and established a fifteen-person commercial-investment division, a residential division with five branch offices, and a property management division. However, due to the necessity to devote a major part of his time to administrative duties, Bob transferred and gave all of his residential branches to his branch managers in 1981. This allowed Bob to concentrate in commercial-investment real estate on site location for national commercial accounts and shopping center developers as well as his investment brokerage: He became licensed in real estate in NY, CT, MA, and NJ. He realized he made the right decision when shortly after divesting the residential division, he personally closed $20 million in apartment complex sales the following year. Bob had expanded his commercial activity by establishing three additional commercial branch offices across New York State and one in Boca Raton, Florida.

Upon having been introduced to the creative brokerage field, Bob decided to downsize his company so that he could concentrate on creative and specialized brokerage activity as well as structuring investment entities. Bob was awarded the designation of SEC Counselor of the Society of Exchange Counselors in 1995. In 2006, Bob closed a $160 million multifamily portfolio brokerage transaction.

Over his time in real estate, Bob has served as President of the New York State CCIM Chapter, President of the New York State Commercial Association of Realtors, and President of the Commercial-Industrial Real Estate Brokers group in the greater Albany Capital Region. In addition, Bob has been an instructor in commercial-investment real estate since 1979, both regionally and nationally. He was awarded the citation of being named “Instructor of Year” for the NY State Association of Realtors, which was the only time that distinction had been given, ” Counselor of the Year” by the Society of Exchange Counselors,” and “Realtor of the Year” by the NY State Commercial Association of Realtors. As well as serving on the board of other real estate entities, he also served on the Board of Governors for the NYS Commercial Association of Realtors for over twenty-five years.

For extracurricular activities, Bob learned to play a musical instrument and performed in concerts and for private functions. Also, Bob has enjoyed downhill skiing in New York, New England, Colorado, and Switzerland. Furthermore, he has hunted in the New York Adirondack Mountains and fished in New York as well as across the U.S. and Canadian wilderness areas. He had been a member of the Rotary Club and served as a Trustee for the Northeast Children’s Shelter, which cared for young children who were displaced from their families. In addition to brokerage, Bob had structured multifamily investment partnerships, developed a “colonial” restaurant/tavern with partners, and owned a jewelry business with partners. During his training with Montgomery Ward, his training manager stated, “Education and experience are not a substitute to the ability to learn.” Since Bob had been given many opportunities to advance professionally at a young age, he, in turn, has helped many young people in the development and advancement of their careers.

Presently, Bob is a principal of a newly formed commercial brokerage firm with three partners, one with a CCIM designation and one with a SIOR designation, known as Foresite Realty Advisors, Inc.

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