NAIOP members illustrate how their personal lives, interests, hobbies, and passions impact their career paths and influence their day-to-day business acumen and relationships. 

Posted March 2024

CJ Manning: Diving Deep, Soaring High 

Born and raised in Colorado, I tend to be unlike the typical Coloradan who might spend their free time on the slopes or golf courses, my heart found a different calling beneath the waves.

In 2018, I obtained my open water diving certification in Zanzibar, Tanzania while there on business. Since then, I've been on a mission to explore the ocean depths, venturing on open water dives across the globe—from the vibrant reefs of Mexico, Puerto Rico, and the Dominican Republic to the mesmerizing underwater landscapes of Thailand. Scuba diving has become more than just a hobby for me; it's a thrilling and transformative adventure that I believe complements my professional endeavors. In addition to my scuba diving adventures, I'm also a student pilot currently working towards my private pilot's license, further expanding my horizons beyond the terrestrial and aquatic realms. The juxtaposition of scuba diving in the ocean and navigating the skies in a Cessna 172 has granted me a unique and multifaceted perspective. The calm, weightless environment below the surface contrasts starkly with the vast expanses and altitudes experienced in the cockpit.


Whether I'm exploring the mysteries of underwater ecosystems or navigating the skies in pursuit of my private pilot's license, these experiences contribute to a well-rounded perspective that enhances my approach to work as a commercial real estate professional. I look forward to continuing this incredible journey and sharing stories of both the bustling real estate market, the friendly skies, and the serene depths of the ocean with my fellow industry enthusiasts. 

Submitted by CJ Manning, Vice President-Development, Prime West | NAIOP Colorado Board of Directors & 2024 DEI Chair

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Posted December 2023

Dan Metzger: Be Kind, Rewind, and Reset

When I was a kid, my parents tried to get me to play a musical instrument.  I refused because I associated it with being idle, and I just wanted to be outside running around.  Midlife crises can take on many different forms though, and mine came in the form of learning to play guitar.  

In 2016 I was catching up with Edward Barsocchi, my friend and former colleague from Lowe Enterprises.  Edward had played guitar in a band for many years and in passing he mentioned he was teaching a friend to play guitar.  For a reason I couldn’t really explain, I spontaneously asked “well, why don’t you teach me to play?”  So, every Wednesday night for the next year, that’s what he did.  (Thank you again Edward.) 

Dan Metzger performs with Be Kind RewindFast forward seven years and I play guitar and sing vocals in a cover band called Be Kind Rewind .  Playing music in a band has given me the opportunity to go all-in on something completely new in my 40s that I never would have dreamed of doing earlier in life.  I like to think it keeps me young too…though during the occasional 2:00am Denny’s run after a late show I question whether it’s having the opposite effect.  

Making music with other people is an incredible experience, and I love that we as a band continue to push each other to get better.  Our rehearsals are the one time during my week where I can get completely lost in what I am doing and not be distracted by anything else.  But, I don’t have any delusions that this will remain anything but a hobby for me.  Though our gigs have gotten much better over the years (the photo attached is from our recent July 4th headlining of the City of Westminster’s fireworks show), I am so glad my main source of income is real estate!  But, playing music has also enhanced some life skills that I can use in the business world too, such as getting up in front of large groups of people. 

One last thing: I need to mention that I couldn’t have taken up this hobby without the incredible support and understanding of my loving wife who gets the absolute pleasure of hearing me rehearse the same songs over and over and over again…

Submitted by Dan Metzger, Chief Operating Officer, Brinkman Real Estate | NAIOP Colorado 2024 President

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Posted December 2023

Justin Pless: Angling for Patience and Persistence

I grew up in Minnesota – The Land of 10,000 Lakes.  As a kid, I spent most of my free time fishing on those lakes with my father or grandfather.  We fished from a boat in the summer or through holes in the ice in the winter.  It was then, and still is, my favorite outdoor activity.  Fishing is tradition in most Minnesota families that goes back many generations, and it’s a tradition I’m glad I’ve continued with my own children (age 10, 7 and 5).  

Despite being a nearly 20-year resident of Colorado, after school lets out at the end of May each year, I relocate my family to our lake house near Alexandria, Minnesota where we spend the majority of the summer.  This has allowed me to teach all of my kids to fish and to spend time with them out on the water almost every day during the summer.  My oldest son is the most avid fisherman of the group.  It’s wonderful to see him get the same enjoyment from fishing that I do and to see him learn many of the same lessons about patience, consistency, persistence, and problem solving that I learned as kid.  

Justin Pless and Son Fishing Justin's Wife and Daughter Fishing


Many of the skills I learned fishing as a kid have been essential to building a successful CRE focused law practice as an adult.  Persistence and consistency, in particular, are necessary to form and maintain long-term relationships with clients and colleagues.  Patience is important in growing any business but has proven to be especially vital in training and mentoring our younger associate attorneys.  I’m grateful that fishing allowed me to start developing these skills and qualities as a child, and I’m thankful that my own children will be able to do the same.

Submitted by Justin Pless, Founder & Attorney, Pless Law Firm

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Submitted May 2023, Published August 2023

Doris Rigoni: Beyond Pedals and Paychecks

I wish I could say I was a good enough cyclist to be a pro racer, even hang with the retired champions cranking up Flagstaff in Boulder or, at least, to have more podiums under my belt. But alas, I am a mere mortal that just loves to ride bikes.

I was asked to write about my biking passion and how it ties into my professional life for this month’s NAIOP member highlight. So, giving this my best shot…

First and foremost, I ride bikes because the act of riding connects you to yourself and the space between your ears. It is mobile mediation and mental toughness at the same time. All cyclists have rides that truly stand out and push you to, or past, your limit. You will not know what that limit is until you hit it or break it. There are no shortcuts, and you must do the work to get to the destination, but the irony is the “destination” is really about the journey. There is always a “there” there, but cycling, to me, is about the journey. This includes amazing views of nature, hidden gems along the way, deep laughs, some (ok, many) tough uphill grinds, and, sometimes, most of the time, amazing camaraderie.

To clarify when I say cycling, I mean all types, mountain, road, gravel, and fat. The bikes do not discriminate, nor do I. These two wheeled contraptions build character, an ultimate trust in wheel mates/team members, self – sufficiency, ability to work in a group, competitiveness, respect for yourself and others and grit. Personally, I think all those words could be used to describe commercial real estate professionals. If one does not have some semblance of these traits, they may want to re-evaluate career choices.

The other tie into the professional world, is we are all working on deals. Loan closings, underwriting, equity raises, development projects, entitlements, you name it. There is always “something;” there is always a destination; however, the experience, the relationships and the joy comes in the journey with you and your chosen teammates. I will end with one of my favorite quotes, “Choose your destination and find a way to get there” (no clue who to give credit to on that one!). Let’s ride! 

Submitted by Doris Rigoni, Managing Director | Market President, Kirkpatrick Bank

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 Submitted May 2023, Published August 2023

Ian Nichols meets SoulCycle, and the rest is history

Everyone has an addiction, am I right?  Something they cannot live without.  For some it’s sweets, others it’s binging Netflix, and for some it is a buffalo chicken sandwich with French fries from the Kentucky Inn (guilty).  For me, I can’t live without SoulCycle.

In 2019, while in San Francisco for the Dead & Company New Year’s shows (yes, I’m a Dead Head) my wife managed to drag me to a SoulCycle class.  She’d been attending classes in Denver since the local studio opened.  If you don’t know what SoulCycle is, it is kind of like a spin class meets jazzercise so in what must have been a weak moment, I agreed to go with her.  Before attending SoulCycle, I was active, specifically road biking and the occasional run however, I hadn’t found “the thing” that worked for both my schedule and fitness needs. Back in the studio in San Francisco, I walked in and it was dark with only 4 grapefruit candles (??!) lit at the front of the class.  The instructor said something about the choreography being optional – all I could think was what - now we are dancing on bikes!?  I knew my wife could hear my eyes roll, but she knew what she was doing and she was right. IT WAS AMAZING!  I signed up for all the morning classes for the remainder of our trip and even went after the New Years show (not my finest showing).


Fast forward to today, SoulCycle is my “happy place”.  It’s where I get to focus just on me, my physical and mental health, and the only place where I don’t have to worry about anything outside the studio.  SoulCycle also got me working out more.  Like a lot more.  I join classes at least 4 mornings a week and have branched out and incorporated in a few classes at Pearl Street Fitness (also, thanks to the intro from my beautiful wife).  Yes, it’s an expensive habit but it’s an investment in ME and one that makes me feel great!

Coincidence - it’s not just the work out.  Little known fact - SoulCycle is the preferred workout destination for the biggest names in Denver Commercial Real Estate.  Not to be a name dropper but I regularly run into Matt Joblon from BMC, Jay Lambiotte from East West, and Mindy Humphrey from Land Title.  Serendipitously, I created a long-lasting friendship with Paula Chavarria from McWhinney who participated in the NAIOP Mentor Program. She is also my SoulCycle bestie.  I met her during the Mentor Program, and we realized we’d probably done 50 SoulCycle classes together.  SoulCycle is LIFE (and much more than that).  If you ever want to try it out, reach out and your first class is on me (technically, your first class is on them – but feel free to mention me). 

Submitted by Ian Nichols – CFO of Flywheel Capital, NAIOP Colorado Past President, SoulCycle Aficionado, and Dead Head

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 Published March 23, 2023

Brandon Kramer: How Lessons Learned From Parenthood Improved Leadership Skills

I have had the honor of being a parent for most of my career in CRE. As my kids have grown, I have found that using a lot of the skills learned in parenting can be applied directly to how I mentor and run my team at Marcus & Millichap. Currently, the Kramer Group consists of five associates that I am actively mentoring and helping grow. The skill levels range from brand new to 5+ years of experience, but the basic lessons I apply to all of them remain constant. There are probably hundreds of micro skills one could write a book on, but I am going to focus on four, Patience, Compassion, Fairness and Discipline. Arguably the most challenging skill any parent needs to learn is patience. This was, and probably still is, one of the most challenging skills to learn and apply to running a team. It takes a lot of time to train and deploy a new associate in the CRE world, and many of the skills that you have honed over the years are not readily obvious to someone just starting out. I find that answering the same questions over and over shouldn’t be met with frustration and annoyance, but with understanding and coaching. Just like a toddler, someone brand new in the business doesn’t know what they don’t know. Having patience in walking them through how to talk to clients and how to approach a deal may be second nature to someone with experience, but just like learning to walk as a baby, it’s going to take some time and some help to get to the point you are running on your own. Approaching the team, and clients, by putting yourself in their shoes by having compassion for their unique position is something I have always tried to do. Losing a deal or having a deal fall out of contract after months of work may not be the end of the world for someone with experience, but to a new associate or a private client with one asset, it may be pretty depressing. Understanding why a person may be coming from their point of view is important and like raising a child, putting yourself in their shoes and trying to see why they feel that way, you are better able to help them learn or grow from a situation. The CRE world, and brokerage specifically, is a type A personality set of people dealing with millions of dollars and any given time. It is inevitable that some disputes will arise when arguing over commissions and clients. As with when my kids are fighting over a toy, I try and approach every deal from a standpoint of what is fair. I always tell my guys that our mindset should never be on how much we make on a deal, but whether a deal gets done and the client is happy. Relationships in this business are far more important than how much money you can make. If you are fair in your dealings, relationships and reputation will be elevated, which will ultimately result in more business! Finally, the obvious one, discipline. There are two types, the reactive and the proactive. I am focused on the proactive. Instilling a disciplined approach to your business will create a much more efficient way to run a team and conduct business. I stress many forms of discipline, from an organized inbox and file system, to a structured day that fits your business the best. Parenting has taught me a lot of good ways to approach business, and as like raising a child, watching my team grow and become better at the business, is the best way to gauge success.

Submitted by Brandon Kramer, First Vice President at Marcus & Millichap

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Mindy Humphrey Connects on the Course

One of my favorite outcomes from the COVID “lockdown” was finding the more creative ways to connect with clients and/or peers in our industry.   Walking 9 holes of golf, learning how to play pickleball, hitting the tennis courts with a ball machine for drills (and of course a bottle of Rose’ for after) are a few examples of meaningful time with the people who you want to build those “true relationships” with.   Putting yourself out there, trying something new and surrounding yourself with great people while doing so is a win win for everyone. And your career will thank you too.

Do not be afraid …. Just Do It. 

Submitted by Mindy HumphreyLand Title Guarantee Company




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Published November 17, 2022

Brian Dietz Shares In the Groove

For those that know me, they know I’m completely obsessed with the band Phish. It’s an obsession that started when I was 16 and continues to this day. The way my friends and I like to see Phish requires a lot of effort, because we like to be as close to the stage as possible. That means hours of sitting around… sitting on line to get into the concert venue, sitting on the floor for a couple of hours waiting for the show to start, and, of course, sitting down to catch our breath during the 30-45 minute break the band takes between sets. So what does one do with all that time? We make friends with all the new acquaintances around us. It’s important to become friendly with those around you so when you bump into people during the dance party a Phish show can be, everyone is copesetic and there are no issues. 

By now you must be asking yourself “what does this have to do with Commercial Real Estate?” I realized early on in my career that I was very proficient at networking. I’ve never been afraid to walk into a room filled with people I don’t know and strike up conversations. I learned this skill and confidence from going to concerts, specifically Phish shows. My friends will oftentimes remark that, by the end of a show, I’ve collected all the phone numbers of all the people surrounding us. I’ve always felt the trick is to ask people lots of questions. Most people love to talk about themselves. If you give them the opportunity, they will tell you all about their lives and aspirations. As Dale Carnegie points out in “How to Win Friends and Influence People”, make sure you care about the answers to your questions. In other words, don’t be disingenuous, and share in the groove.

Submitted by Brian Dietz, NAIOP Board Member and Vice President, Evergreen Development

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James Mansfield aka Manny Furtado Play by Play

“You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.”- Wayne Gretzky 

I remember the day clearly, twelve years ago in the World Arena waiting for my son’s hockey game to begin…

”My announcer didn’t show up.”  Visibly, the cameraman was frustrated. “Do you want to call the game?” 

“What do I do?” My response was honest.

‘’Stand in the corner and talk.” I recall his forced smile—whether one of relief that he’d cornered a quick replacement or anticipating impending disaster. “Here’s a wireless mic.” 

Since that day, I have called over 1,000 hockey games, from U12 youth, sled, junior, all-star, state high school championships, USA Hockey National Championships, D1 college, to the most moving, Dawg Nation Hockey Foundation’s charity Survivor Game. In the early days, I broadcasted from the ice level end-glass, setting up a conference call inviting parents and grandparents to listen in.  

Some players I called are now familiar NHL names—Troy Terry of the Ducks, Jaccob Slavin of the Hurricanes, Cole Caufield of the Canadiens, and my favorite, the Av’s Nathan MacKinnon, then a 15-year-old phenom. Very few players make it to the NHL—the odds are high and the percentages that make it are low. 

Reflecting on Gretzy’s famous quote, I’m glad I took the mic.  I have always enjoyed public speaking, whether showing real estate, presenting at award ceremonies, leading industry panels, or acting as the MC for the Denver Pickle.  Who would have known that my natural banter would transfer to the ice?  Although I study and work hard at my “side hustle”, always seeking improvement, I realize my cadence existed all along.  Taking the mic allowed me to develop a talent and tap into a new passion.  

What continues to fuel the passion? It’s the parents watching from another state, brothers and sisters tuning in from the dorm, grandparents unable to travel, the girlfriend/boyfriend listening, or a sibling serving overseas.  They all have a common bond–cheering for their favorite player and team from afar.  For me, being the familiar voice, the connection and the one who has the honor to witness and call their kid’s game-winning goal or diving glove save…knowing they are cheering…that’s cool.

Take the shot.  Manny Furtado PxP

Click to See Manny in Action!

Submitted by James M. Mansfield, NAIOP Past President and Principal Managing Director at Pinnacle Real Estate Advisors

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Shane Mahoney Just Keeps Running

Just keep running.

I ran short distance sprints and pole vaulted in high school along with the occasional burst of speed when being chased, but never considered myself a runner.  In 2005 I signed up for a 2 mile race because my brother in law suggested it.  8 months later, I finished my first marathon.  In 2020, I started running 6 miles almost daily with a neighbor because it was something to do.  In June of 2022, after 10.5 hours of effort, I completed a 50k race in Golden Gate Canyon State Park because my neighbor suggested I try it.

I never would have thought I could run that far or would want to run that far.  Putting one foot in front of the other and just continuing to move I was able to do something I hadn’t before.  Finishing things like these has taught me that I can accomplish great things – but not all at once – it takes lots of small steps.  Understanding this helps me tremendously in all aspects of my personal and professional life.

Submitted by Shane M. Mahoney, NAIOP Board Member and SVP Relationship Manager, Community Banks of Colorado

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Developing Leaders Entrepreneur Panel and SoulCycle Event 

Published September 28, 2022

On September 14th, the Developing Leaders Committee and Forum Investment Group hosted a panel discussion focused on teamwork, leadership, entrepreneurship, and corporate growth with esteemed panelists, Darren Fisk, Matt Joblon, and Jay Lambiotte. Following this animated, inspiring, and relatable panel discussion the 40+ attendees migrated to Soul Cycle Denver for a team building cycle class. 

The intention of focusing on team building and getting out of your comfort zone was well received as each NAIOP Member attendee not only tried something new for the first time but did so with a room full of accomplished professionals whom they would normally only socialize with in a formal professional setting. This cycling event following the panel discussion brought the discussion full circle as it was confirmed that at the end of the day, what makes the CRE Industry so special to be a part of is the teamwork, comradery, and creation of community. Every professional in the CRE industry has the dream of creating great places and bringing people together which requires teamwork across all leading firms. 

An aspect of this event that was not within the program but naturally came into discussion was the topic of mental health and how it affects decision-making. In the state of Colorado, we pride ourselves on healthy living whether that be from access to the outdoors, physical fitness, or mental health awareness.  The positive feedback from this event shows that not only does physical fitness serve as a team building mechanism but the open discussions of mental health from our industry leaders serves as an inspirational tool for listeners wishing to follow an equally as successful path.  

The NAIOP Developing Leaders Committee hopes to build upon this event and make physical and mental health a lasting discussion topic for the Mentor/Mentee calendar.

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