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Constructing a successful company Featured

8:00pm EDT June 27, 2006
Steven Wathen bought his first investment property in 1980 as a junior at The Ohio State University and never looked back.

He founded Equity in 1987 as an apartment management company, but quickly realized the potential he could build on with a full-service commercial real estate service. In 1989, he switched his focus to this market with a mission statement of “providing complete professional real estate, development, brokerage, construction and property management services for our clients and delivering these services with absolute integrity, quality and value.”

Although Wathen remains the company’s visionary, he says that as the company has grown, he’s had to let go of micromanaging each task. To do that, he has separated the functions of his company into operating divisions and empowered divisional leaders to run the business with bottom-line profitability goals.

He’s brought in top-notch talent to head those divisions and pays them top dollar to get and retain top talent, which he views not as bosses, but as leaders who inspire employees by doing meaningful work, setting a great example, living their values and communicating their successes.

Wathen says the Columbus-based company has grown despite passing up money in order to maintain absolute integrity. As a result of its success, Equity has opened a practice in Florida, based on three criteria:

  • The area is primed for growth in the retail and medical markets, which Equity specializes in.
  • Cities in the area form a region, allowing for greater productivity.
  • There is direct access to the cities, allowing Ohio leadership to travel to and from the area quickly.

Last year, Equity increased its staff by 39 percent, and it is on track to exceed its revenue growth target this year. Staff has also been hired in Tampa, Orlando and Fort Myers and a Tampa office will open soon.

How to reach: Equity, (614) 310-2120 or www.equity.net