Business Q & A

5 questions with Tom Johnson

Tom Johnson grew up in Floral, Kan., which he said is “a little town that Rand McNally took off the map 20 years ago.”

It’s perhaps a tad ironic for the man who has spent his career in real estate, including a long stint working with Jack DeBoer, another heading J.P. Weigand & Sons’ commercial division and, most recently, serving as president of WaterWalk, which he left in November.

1. What are you up to these days?

“Well, a little bit of everything. When I left WaterWalk, I took a couple of months and just played around a little bit. Looked at opportunities. .æ.æ. Kind of assessed what’s going on.”

2. You’ve owned Trinity Realty Advisers for years. What are you doing with it now?

“I just kind of dusted it off and started operating under Trinity . . . working on a couple of development projects, working on some brokerage deals, doing some consulting on land use.

“Over the years, I’ve picked up a few secrets of the trade that I’m working with some brokerage firms (on) now.

“This is just a very interesting time in the commercial real estate business. It represents challenges for a lot of different people.”

3. So what are these secrets?

“It’s just a matter of really evaluating what the strength and weaknesses of the company are. Where the opportunities are in the marketplace. Identifying whether or not the company has the resources to take advantage of those. . . . Creating a management strategic plan to go after those opportunities and . . . managing the plan.”

4. So, I have to ask: Is there a huge weight off your shoulders being gone from WaterWalk?

“Oh, I don’t know. . . . I never really felt like there was a weight per se. There was some frustration because certain things didn’t go the way . . . that everyone would have liked.

“It’s a little bit of a job undone, so from that standpoint, there’s a little bit of disappointment.

“But what’s the old saying? When a door closes somewhere a window opens. You just kind of move on. Life is pretty good. You really can’t complain when you’ve got a good family and you’ve got good health. You look at other people and some of the issues they have, and you feel pretty lucky.”

5. What’s the one thing no one knows about you?

“In the mid-’70s, I played in the Roque Association of America championship in Linwood Park.

“Roque is a hybrid of croquet played on a hard court with, like, a 6-inch curb around it, and you can bank your balls off the curb.

“I paid $5 for a used roque mallet . . . and promptly lost in my first match.

“Roque was a big deal back then. “Nobody else that I know of has that claim to fame. To this day I still have my $5 used roque mallet in my study.”

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