Today we speak to Managing Director, Development at Irongate, Will Bennett.
I have always wanted to be an entrepreneur, starting in elementary school where I converted a backyard chicken coop into an egg business, filling my pockets with proceeds as I worked the morning car pool line. After college, I choose a job in investment banking with a firm that specialized in selling privately owned business. That job enabled me to work closely with entrepreneurs and to learn from their varied experience. After four years, I decided that, while investment banking had given me a solid financial foundation, I did not know how to run an organization beyond my small charity, SOMB (“shirt off my back”), which required little people-management. Wanting to learn from the best, I listed the most successful entrepreneurs I had access to in Los Angeles and pitched my capabilities to each. Marc Nathanson, who founded, grew, and sold Falcon Cable to Paul Allen, was impressed with my drive and spirit, and I joined him at his firm. I loved working for Marc who remains one of my most important mentors.
Marc encouraged me to go to business school. At business school, I took Arthur Segel’s Real Property class and it all came together. I would never have considered a career in real estate had it not been for Arthur. He taught me that Real Estate, particularly development, is incredibly creative, entrepreneurial, and requires strong interpersonal skills. I was hooked, and I continue to lean on Arthur for advice and guidance. He changed my life.
After graduation, I went to work for the most entrepreneurial and successful development firm in the world, the Related Companies. I felt very lucky to be a part of the development team at Related. Led by Stephen Ross, Jeff Blau, and Bruce Beal, my colleagues were brilliant, passionate, and some of the hardest working people I have ever met.
Through a mutual friend, I was introduced to Jason Grosfeld and jumped at the opportunity to join him at his company, Irongate. Jason has massive vision and ambition. I am constantly challenged and inspired; I have never found work to be more rewarding. We are currently developing Costa Palmas, a 1,000-acre residential project with multiple hotels on the East Cape of Cabo anchored by a Four Seasons. Separately, we are also under construction on the second tower of our Ritz-Carlton Residences in Waikiki – the first tower opened last summer. We have another project in Aspen, Colorado. I learn every day from Jason and I wake up excited to execute on these projects.
Jeans: Acne Studios Ace Ups – classic fit and just enough give that you are never uncomfortable – I will even wear these on a red eye flight.
Shirts: James Perse Brushed Cotton Crew Neck –Not sure if it’s the cut or the fabric from Japan, but he really has figured out the perfect t-shirt.
Pants: I really only wear Jeans (see above) or am in a suit (see below).
Suits: Max Farca at Sartoria Ambrosiana in NYC – he has amazing fabrics. Super impressed by his attention to detail and his ability to create the perfect fit.
Shoes: Belgian Shoes. I am all about comfort and these have always felt like slippers.
Accessories: Patek 5711 – huge Gerald Genta fan and this was the watch I always wanted. I just love the blue dial.
I also wear a St Christopher that my mother gave my father when I was born. We were not a very religious family – but my mother loved the Catholic saints. St. Christopher is the patron saint of travelers, fitting since I am always on the road. I miss my parents every day.
Outerwear: Loro Piana – Anything from the Three Layer Line. Waterproof, wind resistant, and light weight. Truly the perfect unlined outerwear – always a classic cut and style.
Favorite cologne: Falling Trees by Regime des Fleurs. Fresh and masculine.
Favorite app: Off The Menu – my friend’s app that tells you about secret / off the menu items at restaurants all over the world.
Next style/gear purchase: Amazon Echo – the Alec Baldwin commercial sold me.
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