Rob Martensen didn’t intend to become a real estate agent. In fact, he received a psychology degree from Arizona State University. However, “If you can understand why people think the way they do, you can do anything with that,” he says.  

Initially, Martensen thought he would obtain his real estate license because he and his father planned to buy, fix and resell houses. When his dad changed his mind, he began selling homes to his recently-graduated friends, but soon gravitated toward industrial real estate. 

“My dad was in the rigging supply business and my uncle owned a furniture company,” he says. “I grew up around manufacturing facilities and warehouses, so I was more comfortable in that field than an office building.”  

His decision to enter commercial real estate for industrial brokerage paid off too.  

Last year, he celebrated his 20th anniversary at Colliers International Greater Phoenix where he is now the executive vice president of the industrial properties division.  

Martensen also prides himself on being one of less than 50 Metro Phoenix members of the prestigious Society of Industrial and Office Realtors (SIOR), which represents a well-respected and exclusive group of successful industrial and office real estate specialists with 3,200 members worldwide. 

Last November, Martensen was selected to be president of the SIOR Arizona Chapter after serving on the organization’s board for the last eight years.  

He says, “To lead and promote the organization is a real achievement for me.” 

The main goals for his two-year tenure focus on exposure and promotion to help people truly understand what SIOR is.  

“If someone wants to know about industrial and office real estate, they should consult an SIOR broker,” Martensen says. “If they want to know who the strongest, most ethical brokers are, they should use one with the SIOR designation.” 

Martensen is also passionate about getting more young people interested in real estate.  

Last year as vice president of the Arizona Chapter, Martensen helped launch a new partnership with Junior Achievement (JA) of Arizona that established the first-ever commercial real estate shop at JA’s popular JA BizTown facility in Tempe. 

Launched in 2001, JA BizTown gives students the opportunity to take business fundamentals that they receive during a school classroom curriculum and apply them to a student-sized town in a real-world mini economy for a day. 

In addition to locally expanding efforts with institutions like Junior Achievement, Martensen says, the Arizona Chapter will be more actively participating in the national chapter’s 

Candidate Program endeavors to attract more young achievers into the designation.  

His advice to those just starting out in real estate is to be patient, save money, work with a big firm under a mentor, and be prepared to take your lumps. 

“The first five years are rough,” Martensen cautioned, “but if you survive that, it can be a great career.” 

If you can stick with it and ride out the hard time, Martensen says, “Ultimately, it pays off.”