Julie Johnson’s first job out of college was to conduct failure analysis for airplane turbine blades, and she couldn’t have been more bored.
She graduated from Arizona State University with a bachelor’s degree in metallurgical engineering with aspirations of conducting research for a space program. A career in healthcare real estate leasing, investment sales and site selection for medical office properties and senior living communities, didn’t even cross her mind as a career path.
Johnson launched her career in commercial real estate in 1989 following a position in advertising sales with the Phoenix Business Journal. During her years in advertising sales, Johnson began forging relationships with members of the hospital and healthcare community. She expanded her knowledge of the industry and strengthening her skills in sales, market analysis and transaction management.
Twenty-seven years in the industry and more than 100 sales transactions later, Johnson has never looked back.
“I love real estate because everyday is a new day; it is definitely not boring,” Johnson says.
When Johnson isn’t in the office or closing a $25 million deal, she can probably be found outdoors. She enjoys skiing, biking and is quite the adrenaline junkie. She used to race cars and has climbed Mount Kilimanjaro.
The most significant deal for Johnson involved working on the new build-to-suit for the VA Clinic in Gilbert. The deal involved working closely with McShane Construction Company as its representative for buying the land. It was almost two years before the deal came together.
“It was a long and very competitive process for both land sites and well as a lease package for this VA Clinic requirement,” she says.
What makes real estate such a good fit for someone whose dream job involved working out-of-this-world research?
“It merges doing all the numbers work with the marketing work; it is a great combination,” says Johnson, whose love for numbers brought her to study engineering.
However, the creative part of being a broker and trying to look at situations differently is something she says she enjoys while conducting research. Johnson believes creativity is a vital aspect of being a broker and that her unique background in advertising has set her up for success in her field.
“Working through issues to try to get something done and being creative,” she says, are key traits of a successful broker. “If you cant do it one way, what are three other ways to do it and can you get one of those three ways to work?”
Currently, about one-fourth of Johnson’s business comes from the senior housing industry. As that part of the industry grows, Johnson has been meeting with people to position herself to grow with it. In the future, she anticipates more build-to-suits for healthcare clients and providers as well as more national clients as healthcare becomes more corporate rather than private practice.