Jeff Lyon’s first experience in expanding a business was selling his own company to someone else.
The Tacoma brokerage his father had founded, Lyon Commercial, became the fourth office of commercial real estate firm Kidder Mathews in 1991, making it a significant western Washington presence. Today, with Lyon at the helm, Kidder Mathews is the largest independent commercial real estate firm on the West Coast. More than 700 real estate professionals staff 20 offices in Washington, Oregon, Nevada, California and Arizona.
“I never intended to become CEO,” Lyon insists, although he has now held the position since 2000.
His growth plan, however, was deliberate, and necessary to surviving in a competitive field. “We had a unique platform,” he recalls. “We saw what we’re doing is transportable.”
Over a quick three years, the firm expanded into Portland and San Francisco, fulfilling Lyon’s goal of becoming a West Coast company. That rise continued, even through the 2008 financial crisis, with more offices opening and a growing property management business helping assure profits.
Kidder Mathews now boasts as much as 50 million square feet under management, combining with other revenues to top $144 million in 2016. Looking ahead, Lyon continues to seek ways to stay on the leading edge in a dynamic market.
“There are tremendous pressures on us to keep up with everybody,” he notes. Yet he is confident that what has gotten Kidder Mathews this far will keep it moving. “We’re a very entrepreneurial company, where we roll up our sleeves and get the work done.”