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Daniel Wilkinson: Thriving in commercial real estate for more than five decades

March 10, 2012  |  Dan Rafter  |   

Dan Wilkinson

Daniel Wilkinson
Chairman — Memphis Region
Colliers International

If it’s happened in the field of commercial real estate, Daniel Wilkinson has almost certainly experienced it. That’s because Wilkinson, the current chairman for the Memphis region of Colliers International, has worked in the real estate business since 1960.

He’s seen boom markets and bust ones, too. He’s seen markets that make commercial real estate pros quake and those that give them the mistaken idea that commercial real estate isn’t that challenging of a way to make money.

And through it all, Wilkinson has succeeded. The numbers tell the tale: During his 50-year career, Wilkinson has sold about $1 billion worth of property while serving some of the most respected national clients in the country. His specialty? Industrial. Beginning in 1998, Wilkinson focused on this market. It’s been good to him. To date, he’s completed about $700 million worth of industrial transactions.

One of Wilkinson’s earlier projects, in fact, made a dramatic impact on the face of Memphis. Wilkinson from 1962 through 1965 helped complete the land assemblage of Airport Industrial Park, a Memphis development that ended up including 1,200 acres and about 15 million square feet of improvements.

It’s no surprise, then, that Wilkinson has reached the heights at his employer. Wilkinson joined the firm of Wilkinson & Snowden, Inc. in 1960. That firm today operates as Colliers International. Once under the Colliers banner, Wilkinson’s real estate career continued to thrive. He became a partner and vice president at Colliers in 1968.

And from 1994 to 2004, Wilkinson served as president of Colliers. Since 2004, he’s been the company’s chairman of the board.

While Wilkinson’s real estate career is a fascinating one, he’s never been shy about developing interests outside the profession. For instance, he’s a professional musician, a self-taught banjor player, having played in the United States, Europe, Alaska and Hawaii. And when we say “professional musician,” we mean it. Wilkinson has toured with country artist Billy Dean. And during a tour of Ireland, Wilkinson and Dean served as the opening act for music star Kenny Rogers.

Wilkinson has also served his country, earning the rank of captain in the Army and Army Reserves in the early 1960s. He’s been honored, too, by his profession, earning the 2011 Tom Richardson Award from Colliers International. This award is the most prestigious that Colliers can give to an individual inside the company. And in 2008, the Mississippi House and Senate both recognized Wilkinson with a special resolution for his contributions to industrial development in northern Mississippi

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