Restless adventurer now gets his kicks in real estate

CBRE Senior VP David Eagle discusses his wild life and times in 2008 profile.

CBRE Senior VP David Eagle discusses his wild life and times in 2008 profile.

Here is an example of a professionally written and photographed corporate profile, written in 2008 by Tom O’Connell for the 4/18/08 issue of NM Business Weekly, that makes for interesting reading on any corporate website or blog. Ask today about an Executive Ink Corporate Profile.

David Eagle says he derives as much excitement from Albuquerque commercial real estate as he did from trading ebony in the jungles of Southeast Asia.

You can’t sail your boat on yesterday’s wind. You’re only as good as what you’re doing on the next deal.

“I think what I’m doing right now is pretty exciting, trying to create a dominant multi-family brokerage operation,” he says.

The senior vice president of CB Richard Ellis New Mexico heads up the firm’s Multi-Housing Group, which has been responsible for $550 million in sales in the past two years. With all that mad investment money flying about, perhaps the excitement of hanging around in far-flung jungles in his younger days pales in comparison.

“His diverse background gives him a wide-angle view of deals,” says CBRE Managing Director Jim Chynoweth.

“David is probably one of the most knowledgeable and experienced multi-housing brokers in Albuquerque, possibly on a national level,” says Becky Monette, who works with him in the CBRE Multi-Housing Group. “I’ve seen people lined up to speak to him at national conferences. It never fails to amaze me.”

Eagle grew up in Hawaii, moving to the mainland at age 8. He went to the University of Oregon on a track scholarship at age 17, then at 18 switched to Boise Junior College (now Boise State), where he played football. At 19, he did a six-month stint in the U.S. Marine Corps. Later, while playing football at the University of Hawaii, he worked as a staff photographer at the Aloha Daily News. Before finishing his undergraduate studies, Eagle drifted away from school and went to work in San Francisco and Portland, Ore.

At 23 he pursued some business interests in the Philippines, where his father had grown up in the 1920s.

Six months and several ventures later, Eagle took it on the lam to the Malaysian portion of the island nation of Borneo, where he made a living in the state of Sarawak as an ebony trader for two years.

“Whenever I saw something fascinating, I’d basically do it,” he says. “Sometimes I’d go someplace not knowing exactly what would come up, but something always did.”

Eagle hired local Dayaks, also called Ibans, to find and harvest ebony, a hard, dense black wood found in the heart of ebony trees.

He says he got along fine with the Dayaks, even though their hobbies had traditionally included head hunting. Some homes had baskets of human heads on display, although Eagle felt assured that that particular tradition was long abandoned.

“I had no problems with them and admired their knowledge of the jungle and their good nature,” he says.

Eagle worked alongside the Dayaks — he remembers driving a load of ebony down a steep jungle road in a truck without brakes — ate with them and drank with them. (He partook in the Dayaks’ local alcoholic refreshment, a rice wine called “tuak.” Each longhouse made its own version, and the drink ranged, he says, from “insipid” to something “you could run your Indy car on.”)

A business connection lured him to Lebanon, and he became a goods trader in Beirut for a year, around age 25.

“In terms of pure excitement, if you defined excitement as fun with an overtone of danger, it was probably living in Beirut,” says Eagle.

Though he’s been in some exotic and potentially dangerous regions, he says he never looked at his environs as particularly bizarre.

“Growing up reading National Geographic led to my feeling very comfortable wandering around in odd places,” he says.

After his year in Beirut, Eagle returned to the University of Hawaii and finished his degree. He then earned a graduate degree in international management. He returned to globetrotting after being hired by the First National Bank of Chicago, which sent him to Tokyo, Singapore and Indonesia.

When he landed in Jakarta, his only instructions from the bank were “to get something going.” Eagle made friends with the governor of the Central Bank, and was able to set up meetings between the governor and the chairman and future chairman of First Chicago.

He got his start in real estate some 30 years ago as a senior officer in a real estate and finance company in Hawaii that was later acquired by General Electric Capital. He first touched the New Mexico market in 1993, and moved to Albuquerque permanently in 2004.

“Albuquerque has long been on the cusp of very significant growth and advancement,” he says. “Thanks to Albuquerque Economic Development and the Economic Forum and other organizations, its advancement is coming to fruition. It keeps its local ambience as it grows. Albuquerque real estate has a really solid foundation. It’s going to do really well for a long time.”

Eagle is single and works with his son, Billy Eagle, at CB Richard Ellis. His daughter works as an accountant for Tyra Banks’ TV shows in New York City.

He deeply misses the Philippines and the many other exotic places he’s lived, although much of that part of the world is in turmoil.

“It’s unfortunate,” says Eagle. “There are still a lot of good people there who want to live the same kind of lives we live. We forget that the ones who make the headlines for blowing themselves up are not in the majority.”

He ends the interview with his favorite saying.

“You can’t sail your boat on yesterday’s wind. You’re only as good as what you’re doing on the next deal.”