The Heat Seeker

“I grew up at this firm, so I admit that I bleed JLL blood,” said Mr. Siegel, who joined in 1987 after a college friend convinced him to join the Chicago-based firm when it opened an office in New York City a year earlier. “In the last 10 years, we’ve really done a great job at building our national and global capabilities.”

Mr. Siegel’s first deal at LaSalle Partners was for the law firm Kronish Lieb, which inked a deal for space at the Grace Building in 1987, after a five-year relationship with LaSalle, and shortly after the stock market crash rippled its way across the real estate market.

“At that time I was probably in and out of every major Class A office building in midtown as a result of that-and most of the ones downtown as well-looking for them for the right spot,” he said, noting that the firm still occupies the Grace Building.

Since then, Mr. Seigel has tallied an estimated 400 real estate deals totaling approximately 10 million square feet, he said.

But when asked the secret of his lasting success, Mr. Siegel nods back to one of his first jobs, as a teenage waiter at the Boiberik Hotel in the Catskills. As a result of the summer job, he was able to pay his way through college at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, where he earned an economics degree. Besides the cash he earned, however, Mr. Siegel, who grew up in Wantagh, Long Island, and who now lives in Westport, Conn., learned several lessons that have stuck with him since.

“It was a great way for a kid who was 18 to really make some serious money toward college for a summer,” he said. “But, more importantly, I learned three business lessons that I still use today: One is customer service; the second is that nothing replaces hard work; and the third is, if you wouldn’t serve it to your mother, don’t serve it to your customer.”

jsederstrom@observer.com

The Heat Seeker