For John “JD” Dwyer, the best parts of his job as Vice President of Asset Management for KDC are the human connection and the continual opportunity to expand his knowledge.
In his role at KDC, JD strives to understand what people really want and then deliver it. He attributes his success to his thirst for knowledge, his listening skills and his ability to get along with almost everyone, a trait he learned growing up the youngest of seven children. His father was a Chicago-based Real Estate manager for Southland Corp. (which owned and franchised 7-Elevens) so JD learned about the Commercial Real Estate industry organically from a young age. In fact, he had every intention of going in that direction himself, pursuing carpentry and construction after high school, only to be thwarted by a recession.
Over the past three decades, JD has managed more than 12 million square feet of office, industrial, and retail assets. His path to a career in commercial real estate is somewhat unique—in fact, we could even call it a “catwalk” since just after college, JD spent several years traveling the world as a fashion model.
“Modeling was great, and I wouldn’t trade those experiences for anything, but I knew it wasn’t my life’s work, and I was ready to be back in Chicago with my family” he recalls. That’s why, when JD had the opportunity to shift to commercial real estate, he grabbed it—joining Dallas-based Vantage Companies to manage the firm’s portfolio in and around Chicago. Prior to moving to Dallas in 1998, JD also managed assets for RREEF, Grubb & Ellis, and The Shidler Group.
JD joined KDC in 2003, and currently oversees KDC’s property and asset management for the firm’s master-planned developments including CentrePort Business Park and CityLine, as well as the Harbert Industrial portfolio and the Intellicenter office portfolio that KDC had developed. On a daily basis, he works hand-in-hand with tenants, service providers, subcontractors, architects, and engineers, coordinating the needs and talents of all parties for the success of the project. He also manages the CityLine Property Owners Association and holds the Institute of Real Estate Management’s (IREM) Certified Property Manager (CPM) designation.
I love the excitement of starting a new project because there’s always something new to learn, and someone new to meet.
“When I first joined KDC to manage CentrePort and expressed interest in different aspects of the business, I received a lot of encouragement to pursue whatever I felt passionate about,” JD recalls. “KDC really allows you to spread your wings.”
As an example, JD recently dipped his toe into data analytics so KDC can assess its various properties and make better—and faster—decisions. He’s also focused on how KDC can enhance their existing and upcoming projects from a sustainability perspective by integrating cutting edge concepts related to overall livability and wellness in order to create better buildings for its clients, particularly from an energy perspective.
JD obtained an Associate’s degree in construction technology from Southern Illinois University in Carbondale, Ill., before launching his modeling career. Once he returned to Chicago, he earned a Bachelor’s degree in liberal arts from DePaul University.
JD and his wife, a former flight attendant, are recent empty nesters. Although their family is extended coast to coast, their love of travel means they enjoy lots of family time through the year.
Beyond travel, JD is passionate about fitness. He’s a lifelong swimmer, and in 2014, he got involved in CrossFit, which he loves. And though JD’s career led him beyond carpentry, he’s still interested in woodworking. He and his sons recently built a workshop where he can tap into his creative side with projects like creating bowls and cutting boards out of salvaged local trees.