We spoke with Quinn about his passion for real estate and how to get the most through ULI
“A jack of all trades,” is how Quinn Green described his consultative role at CENTURY 21 Connect Realty. Working on both the commercial and residential side of the business as a generalist – with investors, small businesses, nonprofits, and for tenants and landlords, as well as homebuyers and sellers – Quinn said he is fluid and goes where the business takes him. This is how he started working most recently with Quest Communities on the Westside. An existing relationship brought him on as an advisor, and, acting as a sort of quarterback, he has since worked to bring in the right people to the table to help get the project done. Quinn always seems to have a lot going on at once, which may have helped lead to his progressive career in real estate.
As a toddler, Quinn’s mom likes to tell the story about how hard it was to keep his attention. She would take him on long walks and whenever they passed a construction site, that would be the one thing that could hold his attention. “I could spend hours watching the earth movers,” he said. Thus began his interest – or obsession, he says – with the real estate industry.
Quinn – or Q, as most people know him – accepted a co-op position during his last semester at Georgia State University with HJ Russell and gained his first exposure to the industry by working on a Low-Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC) and Senior housing development. From there, he earned a scholarship from the Russell construction company to get his real estate license.
Although he is grateful for the exposure and opportunities from working a semester for HJ Russell, Quinn says getting a footing in commercial real estate is still a tremendous challenge for people of color. “Support in CRE is extremely limited,” he says. “And that is where the greatest opportunity exists.”
His biggest challenge led to what he says is his biggest success – serving as the local planning co-director for Project REAP, the Real Estate Associate Program which works to advance diversity, equity, and inclusion in the commercial real estate industry. After going through the program, he helped lead it in the Atlanta market for more than 5 years and continues to advise locally with the organization today. This involvement with REAP is how Quinn was introduced to ULI.
ULI Atlanta has a longstanding partnership with Project REAP where REAP participants receive a complimentary one-year membership to ULI. For the last several years, ULI globally has partnered on a ULI/REAP Academy – which is meant to bridge the gap between diverse professionals and the world of commercial real estate. (To further cement the collaboration Project REAP announced earlier this year that Manikka Bowman, a former ULI staff member is now leading the initiative nationally.)
As many ULI members know, once you dip your toe into volunteering with ULI, it’s hard to stop. Quinn graduated from the Center for Leadership in 2016 and began volunteering with the CFL interview and candidate selection process. He then started helping with the Awards for Excellence dinner, garnering sponsorships, but he continued helping with the CFL program because of his experience with REAP. He wanted to make sure the women and people of color going through the program, “knew more than I did,” about how to get the most out of ULI and the experience. He is now on ULI Atlanta’s Advisory Board and through his involvement with the DEI Committee led the inaugural Etkin Scholars program earlier this year. ULI Atlanta was one of five district councils selected to pilot the Etkin program which was designed to introduce college and university students with a real estate interest to the resources available through ULI membership while integrating those students into the ULI path of learning.
“Exposure is everything,” Quinn says. He was able to help expose students from Morehouse, Kennesaw State University, Emory, Georgia Tech, and Georgia State University to development, responsible land use, and placemaking. “Everyone says they are striving to provide a diverse professional working environment, but then ask, ‘but where is the diverse talent?’ – Exposure and access are the missing pieces of the puzzle. How can these students be it, when they can’t see it?” Quinn has just agreed to head up the Etkin Scholars program again later this year.
When he’s not guiding the next generation of diverse students and working professionals to the CRE industry and wearing multiple hats deal-making at his day job, his two daughters consume most of his personal time. He also says you can find him jogging on occasion on the Westside trail of the BeltLine.
Quinn has had exposure to the industry through the support of Atlanta greats – like HJ Russell and Egbert Perry, who helped facilitate the return of REAP to the Atlanta market. Servant leadership like theirs is something he wants people to know him for as well – being an advocate for women and people of color in the CRE industry. Mostly, Quinn says he’s still working on completing his “dash” – as in the dash in-between the years he started and will finish on his tombstone. “I’m still working on what I want to be when I grow up,” he said.
And he’s not done yet!