Bruce Surry stumbled into lower Manhattan much the way he got into brokerage in the first place: by seizing on opportunities as they arose.
It was the mid-1970s and Mr. Surry was a sales executive at Xerox. He was successful at the firm and had risen enough in the company ranks to become manager of one of its main Manhattan branches offices, at 60 Broad Street. Yet there was something repetitive about the corporate life. For years he’d been feeling it and he was more ready for a career change than perhaps even he knew.
An avid poker player, Mr. Surry said he met the legendary brokerage executive Edward S. Gordon, who ran the eponymous brokerage company often referred to simply as ESG, at a late-night card game. They immediately clicked, and Mr. Gordon got to thinking that Mr. Surry could be a valuable member of his burgeoning business.
For one, Mr. Surry knew a host of corporate clients from his time at Xerox, the kind of clientele Mr. Gordon was already trying to cater to by taking a more sophisticated and analytical approach with his brokerage services company—a focus that would eventually make him a pioneer in the business.