Unexpected developments are part of the business world, and Joey Martinez has never been one to back down from a challenge. In fact, he thrives on them and sees them as a chance to prove what he’s made of.
“I welcome any opportunity to do that,” shares Martinez, head of global real estate and security operations for Tanium, which specializes in endpoint management and security for enterprises and government organizations. “I’ve had the luxury over the past decade of my career to get opportunities to solve challenges and perform, show skills, be successful, and reap the benefits of that success. A lot of times, the reward is being offered more challenges, more opportunities to show your skill set. And I welcome that.”
The foundation for Martinez’s career was formed in Kansas City, Missouri, where he grew up in a family of builders, electricians, and construction workers. Always talented in math, his creative side was encouraged by his mother.
“She always wanted me to balance my sports and my academics with the creative side,” he recalls. “Growing up, I always had to take summer school, whether I liked it or not, whether I had perfect grades or not. If I had perfect grades, I had to fill my summer school schedule with art classes and creative writing classes—anything from ceramics and painting to watercolors and pencils. My mom emphasized that, and I enjoyed it.”
Martinez brought his mix of math savvy and creative talents to Kansas State University and worked some internships before landing a job at DreamWorks Animation in California. “DreamWorks Animation gave me the opportunity to expand my skill set beyond construction and expand more into workplace and facility operations; it came through the channel of capital project management,” he explains.
Following the sale of DreamWorks Animation to NBCUniversal, he was assigned to support the former CEO of DreamWorks Animation, Jeffrey Katzenberg, through the construction of Katzenberg’s next endeavor: WndrCo’s new headquarters. At that same time, Martinez balanced work as a project manager for NBCUniversal with performing construction management services through his own small consulting company.
Martinez’s current position came after hearing about an opportunity with a unicorn IT endpoint management and security company through his network. He recognized a familiar face in Fazal Merchant, the former DreamWorks CFO who took on that role at Tanium.
“They needed somebody to take on management and strategy of their real estate portfolio during a period of rapid scaling,” Martinez says. “At that point, I think they were around 600 employees and growing at 30 to 40 percent a year. I decided to take that opportunity, move up to the Bay Area, and really try to design that plan for the future. It was a lot of happenstances that led me to Tanium—a lot of good connections through my network that I was able to make and success that I had, to get that opportunity.”
Today, Martinez’s responsibilities include heading Tanium’s real estate strategy, physical security, workplace operations, and procurement. One challenge that has kept him and his team busy is the relocation of the company’s headquarters office from Emeryville, California, to Kirkland, Washington, which is on the east side of Lake Washington just outside of Seattle. The company’s initial entry into the market, the new 7,000-square-foot headquarters, which was designed and built with JPC Architects and Avara Construction, is expected to be open by mid-April 2021.
“We did a lot of evaluations—we were already doing those pre-COVID, but especially once COVID hit, it really encouraged our leadership to relocate our headquarters,” Martinez notes, adding that they engaged him to lead the real estate research efforts on where the new space would be, how quickly the relocation could take place, and how to effectively facilitate the transition. All of that had to be accomplished during the pandemic, which obviously complicated matters.
“I was tapped to lead our task force, a cross-functional team tasked with figuring out how to handle [COVID-19 challenges], given the security and real estate responsibilities I have, and it required really getting creative with solutions,” Martinez says. “That was a big challenge, but an even bigger challenge was the end result, and the result of it is that we have made a few key decisions on how to operate our business moving forward.”
Those decisions include moving forward with a “remote-first culture.” But even with more and more employees doing their jobs from home, Martinez sees a robust future for the commercial real estate market, though it is different from the traditional model.
“There’s going to be a lot of different needs for employees and for businesses for a physical office space,” he predicts. “I can’t say I think giant campuses with thousands and thousands of square feet are going to be the answer, but I don’t think people in my business are going away. I think we’re going to see a lot of disbursement and a lot of different reasons for using an office.”
Yet another challenge Martinez and his team face is doing this work on a global scale, and he says the key to success there is simply to have the conversations with leadership that ensure everyone understands cultural nuances and what messages and goals are being communicated.
“That’s the biggest piece that’s missed, taking the time to have those in-depth conversations with your regional leaders. You can’t just paint every global office space the same; you can’t assume everything is the same when you’re dealing with a global environment,” he adds.
Another essential element to global success is the ability for all parties to work together and find common ground. “We have so many cultures and so many languages, various jurisdictional rules and various stages of coronavirus and vaccines, privacy and compliance issues—[those] sorts of things to deal with,” Martinez says. “For a guy who gets encouraged and a guy who gets excited about challenges, it’s something I’m ready for. And I’m interested in finding those perfect solutions.”