Matthew J. Farrell // 39
Co-founder and CEO // Core Partners, Bingham Farms // Employees: 130 // Revenue: $22M
Michigan State University
Matthew J. Farrell was just 15 years old when his father passed away, but his dad had already taught Matthew many life lessons. Among them: If possible, avoid the auto industry. While the senior Farrell spent his entire career as an automotive supplier, he much preferred building his dream home on a lake north of Detroit.
The eventual sale of that property helped pay for his son’s tuition at Michigan Sate University. “Real estate always sat in the back of my mind as a vehicle that made sense,” Farrell says.
From there, he joined the real estate brokerage firm of Grubb and Ellis (now Newmark Grubb Knight Frank), then spent seven years as vice president at Friedman Integrated Real Estate Solutions in Farmington Hills. Still, something didn’t feel right. “I loved being in a team environment,” Farrell says. “Unfortunately, the real estate industry doesn’t lend itself to team atmospheres. I preferred a team-based environment that was client-centric, not egocentric.”
With that goal in mind, in 2006 Farrell launched CORE Partners (Consultants of Real Estate) to offer real estate advisory, consulting, and brokerage services. “We wanted to be the center of our clients’ decision-making process, helping them make prudent, smart, strategic decisions that will grow their businesses,” he says. “We added the word ‘Partners’ because we can have 20-plus associates in a room openly diagnosing and strategizing our clients’ needs.”
CORE Partners today serves as the strategic real estate arm for 50 Midwest companies. It has more than 8 million square feet of space under management, with a combined portfolio value of $1.5 billion.
In turn, Farrell is immediate past president of the Detroit chapter of The Entrepreneurs’ Organization, a peer-to-peer network. He also served as president of Michigan’s Commercial Board of Realtors, and was named Broker of the Year. “It feels great to get these awards, but it’s a reflection of our team and its performance,” he says.