December 01, 2022

Michael Gossie

Leaders to watch in 2023: Don MacWilliam, Colliers

As 2023 quickly approaches, Az Business magazine sat down with some of Arizona’s most innovative and forward-thinking business leaders to discuss industry trends and potential new business development executives should be paying attention to in 2023. Today, we meet Don MacWilliam, executive vice president at Colliers.


READ ALSO: Here’s what experts predict for Arizona economy in 2023


Don MacWilliam

Executive vice president

Colliers

MacWilliam has been a commercial real estate professional since 1986, specializing in industrial real estate sales and leasing in the Southwest Valley distribution market throughout his career.

ENTRY INTO INDUSTRY: “After college, I was in the financial industry for three years and my brother and I had always wanted to be partners. And when he graduated from college, he said, ‘Don, we’re getting into real estate.’ And I said, ‘I’m good with Merrill Lynch. Everything’s fine. I’m good.’ And this is at a time, in 1987, when we’re just entering into the RTC crisis. And he said, ‘It’s time. This is what we’re going to get into.’ So I went and listened, and we got hired by a local developer whose dad bought all the land around the airport back in the late 1960s. We learned the business from the finance side, from the banking side, from the construction side and from the brokerage side. So it was a real good indoctrination of getting into the marketplace, not only at the wrong time, but building a book of business at a time where that’s going to be your foundation going forward.”

BEST PART OF INDUSTRY: “A lot of guys talk about being a deal junkie. My brother and I have been fortunate enough to be in the West Valley, where it just exploded when the freeway was finished in 1992. Since then, we’ve seen the 101, the 202, and the 303 come out and all the industrial has followed that. So when you start getting into your career and early on you’re just figuring out how to feed your family, it takes you to a whole different level when you’re able to start working on larger deals and you’ve been here so long that a lot of people rely on your information and your skill set.”

FOUNDATION FOR SUCCESS: “I love the competition. I was an athlete at Arizona State University (ASU), and my brother tried to play tennis at ASU because we are both very competitive. Being in the real estate industry gave us another avenue where we could compete, we could utilize our work ethic, we could put our skill sets to work in another arena. We could actually put the competitive desires and fires within us and turn it into a way to make money.”