Martens group celebrates NAI affiliation

01/10/2013 3:28 PM

01/10/2013 3:29 PM

With three Kansas teams in the top 25, Steve Martens decided to use a basketball analogy at a Thursday luncheon to explain his company’s new affiliation with NAI Global.

“We are in the right league,” he said. “We have all the pieces in place for a championship run.”

The former Grubb & Ellis/Martens Commercial Group is now NAI Martens, and NAI president Jay Olshonsky and executive vice president David Blanchard were in Wichita to herald the change.

“We are local, we are homegrown,” Olshonsky said of NAI’s affiliation with 193 companies worldwide. “We are experts in every city we’re in.”

Blanchard said Martens will still provide the same dedication it always has in the market.

“We didn’t come to … take over their organization,” he said. “But trust me, (the affiliation) brings new opportunities.”

He used a sports analogy, too.

“What we’re doing today is a game changer,” Blanchard said. “We’re here to support Wichita and make good things happen.”

He said NAI Global does $45 billion in business annually.

“NAI Martens is like frosting on my cake.”

In comments after the luncheon, Blanchard and Olshonsky both said they were impressed with Wichita in a way citizens may not be themselves.

“If you guys ever get in touch with what you’ve got here … with who they are and what they have, Katy bar the door,” Blanchard said. “Who doesn’t want to hang out with the Air Capital of the World?”

They also appreciate the city’s 6 percent unemployment rate.

“In our business, everything is job dependent,” Olshonsky said. “That was a very big, welcome surprise.”

Unlike some markets that are still struggling to recover from the recession, Blanchard said, “I really am stunned by the positive news here. … It’s really kind of fun to come into a marketplace where it feels like it’s already turned.”

Martens, CEO of NAI Martens, told a group of about 150 people at the luncheon at the Hyatt Regency Wichita that he has the right team assembled to make the most of the NAI affiliation.

“The bench is talented and deep,” he said. “We have a Hall of Fame coach.”

President Tom Johnson was inducted into the 2012 Midwest Commercial Real Estate Hall of Fame.

At least one person wondered about Martens’ place in the analogy, though, since he didn’t assign himself a position.

Joe Johnson of Schaefer Johnson Cox Frey jokingly asked fellow diners, “What’s Steve – the basketball?”

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