Getting personal with … Cushman & Wakefield’s Brian Ungles

Skiing has just become a favorite pastime of the Ungles family.

Skiing has just become a favorite pastime of the Ungles family.

by Dan Rafter

Brian Ungles is the managing principal at the St. Louis office of Cushman & Wakefield. He’s built a successful career in the commercial real estate business by doing what most CRE pros do: He works hard, puts in long hours and studies his market.

But what does Ungles do when he’s not at work? That’s what the Personal Page focuses on. So, in Ungle’s own words, here’s how this broker likes to spend those precious hours when he’s not in the office. 

Family first: First and foremost for me is spending time with my family, my wife, Becky, and our three kids. Our kids are 12, 10 and 6, daughter, son, son. The majority of my nights and weekends are spent helping to support their activities. That might mean taxiing them to their events or watching their activities. I also coach my son’s 10-year-old competitive baseball team in the spring. We’ll be starting baseball practice in December to get ready for the season. So spending time with my family is first and foremost. My wife and I spend a lot of time taking care of their sporting and academic needs.

The sporting life: I also like to play golf. That’s probably a common answer, I’m guessing. I also like to go skiing every year. Outdoor activities are a preference for our entire family. This year our family went skiing at Vail. I’ve been skiing every year since I graduated from college. I’ve gone everywhere, Keystone, Vail, Breckenridge, Steamboat, Winter Park. I go once a year, and wish I could go more often. I took the kids with me this year for the first time. As we were leaving to go back home, they said, “We’re doing this every year, right?” So they loved it. I think I set a bit of a precedent. I think I’m not committed to taking the kids skiing every year.

A St. Louis fan: I am from a small Missouri town in the northwest part of the state. My wife is from Chicago. St. Louis, then, is the perfect size for us. It’s big enough for everything that we want to do, but it’s not as big as Chicago. We are big Cardinals fans. We probably bring each of our kids three, four times a year to the ballpark. Our kids love the zoo here. They love swimming. St. Louis is perfect for our family. It is like living in a big small town. Everybody seems to know everybody else here. That is pretty amazing. I’ve made a lot of connections here. We’ve enjoyed the people we’ve met. I can’t ever imagine leaving St. Louis.

The work/life juggling act: It is definitely an art, not a science, to balance work and family life. I’ve been with this firm for 17 years now. The years come and go for me. What I finally realized several years ago is that it is a long journey. When you have the opportunity to take the time to spend with your family, you better take it. Whether it’s taking the kids to their practices or playing golf on your own, when you do have the time, you have to take advantage of it. There are so many days when you don’t have the time. The boss here is big on work/life balance. They don’t want us working 80 hours a week. It took me a long time to realize how important it is to take advantage of the opportunities to do things outside of work. I still give plenty of hours to my career and my company. But my kids are growing up so fast. It seems like they were just born. You have to enjoy those years, as challenging as they might be. The next think you know, they’re in college and you only see them on the holidays. You don’t want to wish this time by and let life pass by too quickly.

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