Duke Realty CEO Jim Connor Talks Tier 1 Market Strategy, Company Culture at REITworld 2018

At REITworld 2018, Duke Realty Chairman and CEO Jim Connor sat down with Sarah Borchersen-Keto of Nareit to talk about Duke Realty’s industrial real estate strategy, its new corporate headquarters, and the success of the company’s associate-led health and wellness programs.

Asked about Duke Realty’s Southern California strategy, Connor took the opportunity to lay out the company’s current strategy across most of its top-tier markets.

“On multiple fronts, you’ll see us doing speculative development both on greenfield sites and infill redevelopment, as well as build-to-suit development,” Connor said. “We think it gives us an opportunity in these strong markets to grow at an even greater pace, so that’s what we’ll continue to focus on.”

Also in the works for 2019: Duke Realty’s new corporate headquarters in Indianapolis.

“The new space is much more open, much more collaborative. It’s a LEED-certified building, which is a continuation of our effort to do sustainable development around the country. And on top of that, it’s in a new location that really promotes the live/work/play environment, which is what our associates want,” Connor said. “We’re looking forward to moving about a year from now.”

Associate work-life balance is a key component of Duke Realty’s culture, earning the company regular “best place to work” and “healthiest employer” recognitions. Connor touted the wellness program, which rewards associates for healthy living. “We are willing to invest money in the health and well-being of our associates,” Connor said, adding that Duke Realty associates who live healthier lifestyles can earn additional vacation and personal days, as well as cash or gift card rewards. Duke Realty funds wellness fairs at all of our different offices and pays for associate flu shots.

“We’ve seen a tremendous return on that investment in lower insurance costs for our associates across the country,” Connor said. “We think it’s a very healthy equation, but in today’s world, it’s very different to see companies willing to spend money on health and wellness up front.”

You can view the full video interview here.