Rose Law Group Reporter
In this week’s continuing Q&A series we spoke with Sunbelt Holdings President and CEO, John Graham, via email.
You are ubiquitous. Like everywhere all the time. We have never seen someone in any field of business who is involved in so many different projects, community service things, etc. So, first question… does John Graham ever get tired? Do you ever get tired of talking to people? Like do you ever hole up in a man cave or something and just shut down for a bit? If you don’t get tired do you drink a lot of coffee?
I try my best not to get tired! I start EVERY morning with a Grande Pike with room for cream from Starbucks. On the especially long days, I stop by again for another cup at lunchtime. It’s not unusual for me to take a quick siesta on the couch when I come home from work!
You are involved in the community—how did that start? Like were your parents really involved or what motivated you?
Graduating from a Brophy which is a Jesuit High School, I learned from a young age to live out the motto of being a “Man for Others.” I quickly became involved in the community upon my return to Phoenix after college and have gotten more involved since. Some of the organizations that are most important to me are Brophy College Preparatory (where I was taught to help others and where both my sons attended), Banner Health and Arizona State University. I am most passionate about education and health care and making sure that both are accessible and excellent!
How did you get your start in real estate?
My dad worked for Coldwell Banker from 1958-1976, so I grew up in and around the business. I always liked and admired the people he worked with. I worked for Coldwell Banker in the summers in college when I was home from Stanford, and I was eventually hired by them as a full-time Property Manager. I then went on to work at Koll Company, where I worked with Sandy Johnson. Sunbelt was formed in 1982. I have worked with Sandy Johnson for 38 years and Heidi Kimball and Tor Andenaes for 36 years.
What propelled Sunbelt from a good developer to really a household name? Was there one moment in time you can pinpoint that really set you off?
First off, I am flattered that you call us a household name. I think that our continuous performance and our strong values and ethics have always been what has helped us flourish.
You’ve done dozens or maybe even hundreds of projects around Arizona. What is the one you are most proud of—like the one you want to take your kids and say, “daddy did this”? and why?
Out of the dozens of projects I have done, my baby is Marina Heights because I think it propelled us into uncharted waters as a company. It truly was a lifetime opportunity. In all reality, I love all of our projects and treat them equally. It is my motto that, “we don’t do projects, we create communities,” and we do this by putting our best heart and soul into every project no matter how big or small.