Senior Vice President | Industrial Brokerage
License # AB047468L - Pennsylvania
Educated as a civil engineer (read frustrated architect) I learned the hard way that, no matter how devoted, energetic and productive an employee you might be, you're expendable. So, after getting my pink slip as my thank you for spending 12 years in the engineering world, I could feel a change in the air.
The last few years of my engineering career were spent in business development and the sales side of engineering. I had gotten the sales bug. Having invested in some multi-family real estate I decided that commercial real estate would be my next challenge and a great way to harness the entrepreneurial independence of the real estate world with the excitement of unlimited income.
I knew absolutely no one in the business so it took a while to get traction and a position in the big leagues. After 6 or 7 years I figured I knew everything and everyone so I set up my own brokerage firm. What was I thinking? Flying solo required a 110% commitment in order to provide a high level of service to my clients while establishing a reputable business. But I did exactly that and I ran it for 15 years.
The timing was perfect, however, in 2005 to join NAI Pittsburgh Commercial as it was being formed. The NAI platform provided an ideal springboard for me to continue to grow my book of business minus the day to day issues of being an owner. In July of 2011 we changed platforms and became a member of Colliers International.
Being a registered professional engineer, in addition to a real estate broker, has opened many doors. I bring a different perspective to the table along with a true understanding of the principles behind building design, construction and development. I offer my clients a unique combination of knowledge, skills and experience.
Accomplishments are typically viewed as a successful closing or lease signing. But often that’s just a piece of a successful transaction. The value of my input to the client experience is the best yardstick by which I measure what I’ve accomplished.
Environmental challenges are part and parcel of the industrial brokerage world. There is nothing like wading through the intricacies of a contaminated site and being instrumental in negotiating an equitable solution. I found the ideal buyer for a contaminated 17,000 SF site who recognized its commercial value. We sorted out the environmental issues, they razed the building and constructed an environmentally friendly, compressed natural gas fueling station. I represented a seller who had no idea that his property had some serious environmental issues which is common. But in this case the proceeds constituted practically 100% of the seller’s retirement nest egg. The seller was thrilled that there was a solution which protected him and didn’t completely wipe out the equity generated by the sale of his 30,000 SF property. And I’ve been instrumental in repositioning a 30,000 SF building that was used for circuit board manufacturing, dragging some environmental challenges in to the picture, on behalf of a totally inexperienced building owner in an upscale municipality. We’ve placed four tenants; owner plans to hold for long term family partnership income.
Finding new uses for old buildings in up and coming areas has been a great source of pride. I recognized the potential in a 65,000 SF multi-story warehouse in a fringe area of the City of Pittsburgh and introduced the architect to the project. My idea of converting it to 100% offices was originally rejected in favor of residential and offices but after ultimately it was developed as one of the first buildings to be successfully re-purposed totally as industrial chic offices in this area which has become a hotbed of development. And I introduced an out of town developer to an inner-city, multi-level 165,000 SF automobile dealership, assisted in the feasibility of conversion and was instrumental in the approval process to bring about a retail/office conversion with integral parking.
As a lifelong Pittsburgher I have a keen sense of demographic shifts, the accompanying changes in property values and trends that allow me to identify opportunities. A memorable client was one whose biggest customer was the City of Pittsburgh and any relocation had to be within the City limits. In a densely populated area within the City limits I found an ideal 17,000 SF former car dealership which could only be described as a needle in a haystack. I’ve helped a robotics firm relocate to the “perfect” space within the “Robotics Row” section of Pittsburgh, which is nestled within THE most vibrant, changing section of the City. The space provided my client with the ability to expand over time given the flexibility of the building owner who I had known for a long time.
Sometimes, the client “just doesn’t get it”. So it’s been quite satisfying to re-direct or enlarge a client’s view of the marketplace and have the client tell you how happy they are with the results. I was involved in getting a bench scale provider of 8000 different chemical products to reconsider their idea of staying in the same general location and leasing existing dated space. The newly constructed 50,000 SF Class “A” warehouse facility they leased was geographically ideal and extremely cost efficient relative to the substantial increase in gross sales.
The people part of our business is just as rewarding as the financial aspects.
• 2007 Society of Industrial and Office Realtors (SIOR) Industrial Lease of the Year / Pittsburgh Chapter
• CoStar Power Broker / Industrial Leasing 2007
University of Pittsburgh
B.S., Civil Engineering, 1970 & Graduate Studies, Structural Engineering
Registered Professional Engineer Pennsylvania 1975
Licensed Real Estate Broker Pennsylvania 1988
Memberships & Involvements
University of Pittsburgh Civil Engineering Alumni Club - Charter Member & Past President
University of Pittsburgh Civil ＆ Environmental Engineering Dept. Board of Visitors - Former Member
National Association of Industrial and Office Properties (NAIOP)
It was a pleasure working with Ray. His research was comprehensive, and he willingly offered as much time as was needed to accommodate our site visits. Ray also found discrepancies in the lessor’s lease language and offered better wording to protect both the owner and our firm. We used external council to review the final lease language and I found our attorney several times used Ray’s expertise in the drafting of protective clauses. I highly recommend Ray and will certainly work with him again in the future.
Gary A. Runco P.E.
Before Ray Orowetz began his search to find our company a new facility, he took the time to understand our business which, in turn, allowed him to see that our current facility was impacting our productivity given that we’re operating out of four (4) different buildings.
Ray found a building with 25% more square footage than we had collectively. It gives us far more production capacity along with crane capacity/coverage that far exceeded what we had. His upfront analysis, understanding and overall diligence resulted in his finding a nearly perfect building, for now and into the future.
I would highly recommend Ray Orowetz and Colliers International to any growing business looking to find a new and better facility.
Bob Simpson, President
I have worked with Ray on multiple projects over a number of years. He has always been a valuable asset, willing to do whatever it takes to find the best tenant for our buildings. He is creative and innovative in his searching and investigation of possible tenants. I highly recommend Ray for any real estate project, big or small. His attention to detail was fantastic.
Elliott Sanft, Owner
If you need a commercial Real Estate Broker who has an engineering mind then Ray is the person you want. Not only does Ray have Real Estate experience he also has a lot of knowledge when it comes to structural, architectural and technical issues to help you make decisions on your property.
CEO / ABG Capital