Name: Bret Morriss
Title: Managing Director
Office: San Diego
Hometown: Centreville, VA
College: B.S. Business – Virginia Tech / M.B.A – UCLA Anderson
Most recently at: Goldman Sachs – Real Estate Investment Banking – Financing
What most excites you about living/working again in California?
Living and working in America’s Finest City is like no other place. The people and culture are unique and provide an outstanding opportunity to build real lasting relationships. The weather and scenery aren’t terrible either!
Describe your family, and why are they so important to you?
Our growing family includes my wife Alexis and daughters Harper (3) and Sutton (1). They are my motivation for success. They are also my motivation for working with an entrepreneurial firm like Stream that understands the importance of balance.
Name a favorite story/memory as a Marine One pilot
HMX-1 was a great experience. One funny story involved our flight of 5 helicopters flying President Obama and staff to West Point for a commencement speech. For anyone who follows military academy history, you know that there is a long standing USNA vs. USMA prank war. On this day about half of the pilots in our flight were Naval Academy grads and they are always looking for an opportunity to embarrass their West Point counterparts. While everyone was at the stadium for the speech, one West Point cadet was left to guard the superintendent’s house, facing the lawn where our helicopters were parked. That cadet was easily distracted by our personal tour of the birds while we covertly swapped the signs on the front porch that normally say “Go Army, Beat Navy” to….you guessed it, “Go Navy, Beat Army”. This was a high profile win for Navy!
What is your greatest accomplishment to date?
Professionally, my last deployment in Afghanistan was an amazing opportunity to harness years of training and leadership to execute at a high level for 7 months supporting our troops in combat operations. The ability to lead air operations for missions involving thousands of Marines and support personnel and dozens of aircraft on missions to eradicate terrorist cells was a true culmination of years of experience that few Marines and aviators ever have the opportunity to execute.
What first intrigued you about the CRE industry?
I started really appreciating CRE while at my first job out of college at Freddie Mac in McLean, VA. I was able to see that real estate is one of, if not the largest influencer of personal and commercial economics. I have always been intrigued with real estate economics and how influential a developer can be to revitalizing neighborhoods and cities having micro and macro impacts. Personally I have always connected well with the culture of CRE professionals. The brotherhood and competition is close in comparison to an offensive minded military aviation ready room.
What was it that initially drew you to Stream?
I initially met with Mike McVean in NY both to try to drum up some lending business for GS and because Jay Coleman had described him as such a charismatic guy to know. Well, Mike planted a seed that evening that hit all of my personal triggers. The offer was entrepreneurial, provided equity opportunities and a chance to once again lead a team. Getting back to San Diego was the icing on the cake and there was no way I could turn down the offer. The fact that every person I spoke with, both internal to Stream and external, echoed what Mike was saying gave me the confidence that Stream was the right direction for us.
What job from your past gives you the biggest leg up when it comes to opening an office?
While I have a lot to learn about running a real estate services business, the leadership, communications, decentralized decision making, endurance, tenacity, adaptability and flexibility that I have been working to perfect over my 18 years in the Marine Corps will surely be an asset to success in San Diego. At the end of the day CRE is a people business, if you treat employees, clients and counterparties with respect and work hard for them, they will ensure success.
How do you define leadership?
I will start with the ultimate goal of leadership: Mission Accomplishment. This may seem short sighted but at the end of the day, everything you do must point to accomplishing the mission. There is no one description of a great leader, however, there are a few principles that most great leaders follow. They include knowing yourself and constantly seeking self improvement, being technically proficient, professionally developing subordinates, making sound and timely decisions, knowing your people and looking out for their welfare, empower but supervise and lastly always set the example.
What do you enjoy doing away from work?
I enjoy anything on the water or in the air. Beach time with the family, surfing, boating, spear fishing and flying helicopters and airplanes are some of my favorites.
What are favorite places to visit in San Diego?
Torrey Pines State Park and Golf Course, La Jolla, Cardiff State Beach, Pacific Beach, Little Italy, Balboa Park.
Favorite sports teams?
Growing up outside of D.C. I was brought up a Redskins, Capitals and Nationals fan which I still try to follow but while in San Diego I love to cheer for the home team which is now just the Padres.
What are your plans to grow in San Diego?
We think a great first hire woud be a mid-level talent within Stream. The ideal candidate would be entreprenurial minded, have a fair amount of transactional experience and be willing to hit the ground running looking to win and execute business in a new city.