Koop To Receive the Robert S. Swain Distinguished Service Award at REFA GalaOctober 02, 2015 - By Michael Walsh
BOSTON–If you ask him to discuss the monumental shift in office environments, or how sustainability will considerably improve a company’s performance, his response runs deep, and his delivery conveys genuine passion. But when Bryan Koop first heard that he was being honored by the Real Estate Finance Association (REFA) to receive the Robert S. Swain Jr. Distinguished Service Award, his acknowledgment was considerably more abbreviated.
“Just humbled,” Koop asserts, when asked about the accolades. “I know many people who do great things in the real estate community, and give back - and I am very humbled and honored to be receiving this award.”
The Senior Vice President and Regional Manager of Boston Properties will become the 27th recipient to accept the honor on October 8th, at the Westin Copley Place, and be presented with the Boston Harbor Bowl, a signature piece requisitioned by Shreve, Crump & Low. “I saw the list, so many of the great leaders: DeSimone, Hines, Menino, Fowler … many who I have worked alongside and have great respect for. Again, I’m just very fortunate to be receiving “it”.”
As thrilled as he is to be accepting the Distinguished Service Award, Koop is equally fervent regarding the service that REFA commends him for. ”It says something of a great organization; for me to be the first recognized for efforts in sustainability, and environmental responsibilities is something I’m really proud of - and REFA should be too. As a city, on the ocean, I think we need to be stewards, take responsibility and be careful with developments.”
Koop worked his way through the real estate ranks via the state of Texas, after graduating from Texas Christian University. “I worked the Arlington, Dallas, and Houston markets, getting my start with Trammell Crow, and was blessed by working for really good people and leaders early on in my career; people who I still remember as mentors.”
Koop and his wife, Susan, (a Massachusetts native), “came back to Boston” in 1996 to work for Boston Properties, and never looked back. “Being in Boston, raising my family in Boston, we are truly fortunate to be living in an area known for real estate innovation. The first REIT was born in Boston. This is a city filled with education, technology, and is tops, in my opinion, when it comes to commercial real estate professionals.” When asked about his history with REFA, he enthusiastically connects the association to his personal opportunities and achievements. “They get the brightest and the best talent in the industry and then they combine it with education that is absolutely world-class.”
Under his current leadership, Koop is responsible for 14 million square-feet of space in the region and 250 employees; an arduous assignment, but when asked about the responsibilities, he deflects, by praising the “team.” “We have an organization that was founded on good systems, strategy and great people … I was given advice at an early age to give back whenever possible, I just hope I can be a mentor to others and teach them everything I know or learn going forward. “
Koop’s charitable contributions mirror his passion for efficient development. It’s an impressive balance that his industry peers have great respect for. “Bryan and Boston Properties are known for having a tremendous input in the city for real estate development, but equally important is his charity work - which is where I was introduced to him,” praised Marci Loeber, Managing Principal at Griffith Properties, and an active steward of philanthropy in her own right. “He just has great energy for anything he gets involved with, she adds.” Lobber has served with Koop on the Champions for Children’s Committee for several years and sees his spirit first hand. “Bryan is an amazing guy who brings a contagious enthusiasm to his work, she says.”
Perched up in the Prudential Tower, and overlooking his latest development of 888 Boylston Street, Koop sounds a lot like an expecting father; zealously awaiting the arrival of the 17-story Back Bay office tower, while representing the latest in “cutting-edge sustainability. “This building (pointing to the ascending structure) will have the most sustainable, high-performance air system, (perhaps) in the country… It will -circulate nearly 90% fresh air, and emit more natural light into those offices - more naturals than anyone has seen.” Adding to its efficiencies of the Mikyoung Kim designed building, all of the lighting will be powered by wind turbines that define the top of the tower and highlight the sustainable nature of the project.
As ardent as he is regarding green, efficient development, Koop understands that some clients are slower to adapt the latest open space and contemporary products - yet he truly believes they are on the best track for the working environment . “Not all companies are ready for the new tactics in creating better and sustainable workplaces, but I believe the customer will always respond to the best products, and we are big listeners to the workforce - we need to be.”
As for his place in the workforce, Koop says he’s never been happier in and out of the office. “I finally understand the “Why” of what I’m doing - which wasn’t always the case. When I was younger I “rented space to companies”, now I truly feel like (understanding sustainability) I impact people’s lives through real estate and the space they acquire. It’s a nice position to be in.” He continually contributes his passion and drive for success to being surrounded by supportive people. “I love what I am doing because I’m blessed with who I’ve met and what I have, and I don’t want to take it for granted .. If I’m not working hard and improving, growing - I’m probably not doing my job.”
About the Robert S. Swain Jr. Award:
The Robert S. Swain Jr. Distinguished Service Award is named in honor of the late Robert S. Swain, Jr. In his 33 year career in his profession, Mr. Swain gained the admiration and respect of his colleagues throughout the real estate finance industry. He was a valued member of the Greater Boston Real Estate Board for over 25 years and was an active member and leader of the Mortgage Finance Committee, which developed into the present Real Estate Finance Association. This award is an annual recognition of an outstanding contribution made to the real estate industry either by lifetime example or specific achievement.
The Real Estate Finance Association (REFA), a division of the Greater Boston Real Estate Board (GBREB), is a commercial real estate business association providing members with high quality networking and educational opportunities. REFA strives to maintain its reputation for excellence by promoting the exchange of information between professionals in the real estate finance community, and fostering a platform for growth and development for its Emerging Leader membership.
REFA hosts 30 events per year, including speaking programs with industry leaders, the 500 person Annual Gala and networking events. REFA is committed to giving back to the community with the Annual REFA Charitable Golf Tournament and community service activities.
Formed in 1988, REFA currently has over 650 members and 80 corporate sponsors. REFA has a strong Emerging Leader membership with 250 members Now in its 10th year.