There are occasional interviews you hope never end. It’s rare, but it happens. Ryan Martin is a force, even over the phone. You can almost feel him maneuver the world around him on the other end of the line.
The senior director of real estate and facilities management at CoreLogic is a mix of the comedic best friend with all the best lines, the grizzled yet optimistically sarcastic soldier who knows when to get real, and the big-hearted next-door neighbor who is always looking out for you, even if you don’t know it.
If that seems like a lot, imagine packing it into a 30-minute conversation. That’s Ryan Martin, whose very first real assignment at Bell Helicopter in 2013 was to build an office in Abu Dhabi.
A Global Building Résumé
“I went from zero to the Middle East in about 4.8 seconds,” Martin remembers. “It taught me a few things: my passion for travel, outfitting offices and interiors, and that when your employer buys you an international business-class ticket, you never ever want to travel any other way again.”
Prior to coming to CoreLogic in 2021, Martin already lived a builder’s dream career. He built in Tokyo, Mexico City, and Fort Lauderdale. He had an opportunity that most builders don’t get their entire careers: the chance to build where the budget wasn’t the primary concern.
“I was able to build a demonstration and technology center just south of the Pentagon in Arlington, Virginia,” Martin remembers. “It was fairly lavishly funded, and our architect won two ENR [Engineer News-Record] awards and it also won an IIDA [International Interior Design Association] award. The novelty of that project makes it pretty high on my list. That’s one of those projects that you know is a once-in-a-lifetime build.”
Now at CoreLogic, Martin is still putting in miles. At the time of speaking in May 2023, he was preparing for a trip to India to oversee the new office building activities in several cities.
“I’m not sure how 105 degrees and 80 percent humidity is going to treat my slightly overweight, middle-aged frame,” Martin delivers, deadpan. “But I’ve built here twice before, and this time the size of the project demands my being there. I’m excited to see some visual progress and plan on returning in the third or fourth quarter when finishes are being installed.”
The Culture Connection
After such a long tenure at Bell, one might find it difficult to believe that Martin has been able to get to work so quickly. However, he credits the culture at CoreLogic, which appealed to him far before his job interview was completed.
“There is something special about this place,” Martin says. “The culture was understandable long before I got to the nuts and bolts of the job. That’s what’s going to keep me here for the long haul.”
Martin’s team of 17 handles around 800,000 square feet and is in the middle of working to rightsize a company that has grown exponentially through acquisitions.
In the modern work environment, less space is needed, so Martin’s team is tasked with making the correctly sized moves. It is in the progress of subleasing the third floor of its largest campus which will significantly reduce square footage. Three additional office consolidations are in flight that will, when combined with the sublease activity, represent a substantial and real reduction in both square footage and overhead.
Martin’s innovation never fails to impress his partners. “We feel privileged to work with Ryan, who brings his passion and unwavering dedication to every real estate project,” says Brian Hetherington, vice chairman at Cushman & Wakefield. “Ryan possesses an unparalleled attention to detail and commitment to his stakeholders—both end user and management/sponsor. Not to mention, he’s fun to work with! We value our continued partnership with Ryan and the broader CoreLogic team.”
The Future of Work
When talking about the future of work, there’s an important detail to understand about Martin. It’s a trait his wife makes fun of him for.
“In the morning, my wife will just laugh because she’ll look up and I’m already dressed and ready to head out at 6:30,” he says. “I want to be there. I want to be part of the action.”
But Martin is also very realistic about the current state of work. He says the five-day work week is dead for the foreseeable future unless the company has enough name recognition and salary incentives to force employees to come in office.
So, how does Martin marry these two seemingly polar-opposite viewpoints? To him, it’s a much bigger question.
“It’s not about free kombucha and having an on-site gym trainer,” he says. “There has to be a critical mass of people who want to be there. I think one thing the pandemic uncovered is the shocking number of dysfunctional teams and mediocre leaders across many companies. The reality is, if your team dynamic suffered before, why would you ever want to come back into the office?”
Martin believes that leaders need to be more self-aware of the kind of environments they’re creating for their people. No influx of bean bag chairs will cure a toxic team. For the real estate leader, that means focusing on trust and authenticity, and, as usual, Martin puts it best.
“I’m a fairy jovial, extroverted guy, and that’s not for everybody,” he says. “But as long as you are self-aware and authentic about who you are, I think that builds trust.”
Speaking of trust, Martin says his team operates with the understanding that its shared responsibility affects the entire organization. If someone in one of his 16 North America locations drops the ball, CoreLogic’s hybrid reporting structure will see the ripples all across the organization.
“Because of the team and people here, nobody wants to let anyone down,” he says. “Everybody knows that what we do reflects on everyone else on this team. I’m lucky to have such an amazing team.”