Tag Archives: 40 Under 40

Christina Johnson, Private Label International. Photo by Shavon Rose, AZ Big Media

Generation Next 2015: Christina Johnson, Private Label Intl.

Being one of the founders of a top interior design firm in the Valley hasn’t phased 32-year interior designer Christina Johnson.

“It’s not a lot of ‘I’; it’s a lot of ‘we,’” Johnson says of the award-winning team that makes up the San Francisco- and Phoenix-based interior design firm Private Label International. The firm focuses on hospitality and real estate design, however there is a key aspect that sets it apart from the rest, says Johnson.

“Most of our competitors are traditional interior design firms. Whereas we get involved a lot with the brand development and our scope is a little different. We do a lot of exterior work…and consulting when it comes to landscape and branding and logos and marketing and PR, so we end up looking at kind of the full spectrum of the project,” Johnson says.

Johnson’s core role leans toward research, visioning and positioning of the business, creative direction and  anything that has to do with graphics and drawing.

“We work a lot like a creative studio,” Johnson says.

Private Label International may still be a relatively young firm at eight years old, but you wouldn’t be able to tell from looking at its award-winning and buzz-worthy projects, locally and out-of-state. To list a few: Calhoun Beach Club in Minneapolis, Minn., Preserve at Marin in San Francisco; The Herb Box in Scottsdale; and the seven stunning and vibrantly painted Cabana properties, developed by Deco Communities.

With six apartment properties located throughout the Valley and one property in Vegas, the project is a personal favorite of Johnson, and not just because two of them won awards.

“Locally, we did all of the Cabana properties, which have also been recognized here in the Valley as the Top 10 apartment complexes to work in. They’ve also started a trend, locally, of bringing in more exterior colors,” Johnson said.

Regardless of the project, Johnson is not only focused on what is going to appeal to the client, but also what the design symbolizes.

“When we work on a project, obviously we want it to look good and we want it to have a specific look, a specific style but the story is what’s important to us. What we’re giving back to the community is important to us,” Johnson says.
With an expansive portfolio and years of experience, Johnson has learned the one thing  that is the most important when it comes to interior design.
“It’s about the demographic that were targeting. So, while I have a personal style that rarely transcends into my interior design work because the way we approach it is we first research the demographic. What market are we trying to target, and what are their likes and dislikes? Is it traditional? Is it modern? What’s going to appeal to them?” Johnson says.

Chris Brozina, WEB

Generation Next: Chris Brozina, Mark-Taylor

When Chris Brozina, vice president of Mark-Taylor, worked as a broker at CBRE, his team transacted more than $1.59B of multifamily transactions in seven states. In 2011, he made the decision to move into development with Mark-Taylor. He reveals to AZRE his steps to climbing the ladder of success, while sustaining his humility and connecting with his employees on a personal level.

Have you always been interested in real estate or did you start on a different career path?
As a young person coming into the industry in 2007, right into the teeth of the Great Recession, I was a young kid who didn’t have any money and didn’t have a whole lot to lose. The timing probably allowed the opportunity to accelerate through the ranks a little faster than what otherwise would have been the case.

Where did your real estate career start?
I started as a researcher and runner in the brokerage industry. In other words, a grunt. I did a lot of research, familiarizing myself with the lingo of the industry, and made cold calls like crazy. I absolutely started in the most un-glamorous role you can start in. I’d never know at the time just how valuable that time was.

What the biggest risk you have taken in your career?
I switched careers from being a broker at a very well-respected large company to the development world and Mark-Taylor. At the time, it was a major risk personally, because I was leaving something that I was starting to see a lot of success doing and a place I was really happy, with very respected brokerage partners. I thought I was going to be a broker for the rest of my life and I treated it that way. As is usually the case, the opportunity at Mark-Taylor hit me at a time when I certainly wasn’t expecting it. It was the brokers I worked with that gave me the perspective to understand what this opportunity meant. In retrospect, there is zero question that this has been the right move for me and something I see doing for the rest of my life.

What qualities do you think successful business leaders and mentors should have?
You become a leader only because people choose to follow you. At the end of the day, you can have any title you want behind your name but if people don’t choose to follow you you’re not leading anybody. That is the way I approach everything.

What advice would you give to a college graduate wanting to work in the real estate industry?
The advice I would have above all else to new college graduates: salary should be the furthest thing from your mind and your entire focus should be on finding a company where they are willing to teach you. You’re going to meet a lot of people in this industry that are constantly sniffing around looking to move companies. I would think that attitude is a pretty big turn-off to executives. Whatever you decide to do, whether you see it as a long-term career or a short-term job, act like you’re going to do it for the rest of your life. That passion and preparation is going to be palpable and is going to bring opportunities your way that you would never find if you were out there trying to seek opportunities on your own.

Chris Camacho Original

GPEC executive wins national ‘40 Under 40’ award

GPEC Executive Vice President Chris Camacho, 32, has been recognized as a rising star among the nation’s top economic development professionals. Development Counsellors International (DCI), a New York-based firm that specializes in economic development marketing, named Camacho to its distinguished “40 Under 40″ panel, the first-ever awards program recognizing young talent in the economic development profession. A five-member selection committee chose the winners from a pool of more than 150 candidates based on their exceptional contributions to the economic development industry.

“Chris Camacho has an extremely bright future and I couldn’t be more proud of his success,” GPEC President and CEO Barry Broome said. “GPEC is a hard-charging organization with some of the most talented young professionals I’ve ever seen. Chris is testament to that talent, as is Rodrick Miller – a former GPEC staffer who is now president and CEO of the New Orleans Business Alliance and was also recognized as part of this prestigious group.”

Camacho oversees GPEC’s business development efforts, with particular expertise in renewable energy, emerging technology, tax policy and international economic development.He manages the domestic and international strategies in attracting new industry to the market. In addition, he has directly assisted more than 100 companies in their expansions or relocations to Greater Phoenix.

DCI’s “40 Under 40″ award was designed to discover the economic development profession’s rising stars.

“The people chosen by the selection committee represent a bright future for the economic development world,” said Andy Levine, president of DCI. “They are a new breed of results-driven, place makers.  We’re very pleased to see Chris Camacho among the winners.”

DCI officially announced the winners last weekend at an awards reception during the International Economic Development Council Leadership Summit in Orlando, and will feature an in-depth profile of each on its website during 2013.

For more information on DCI&rsquo ;s “40 Under 40″ winners, visit www.aboutdci.com/40under40.