A year-long agent trainee program to teach and mentor the next generation of commercial real estate agents is shaping the future at NAI Horizon. And it’s doing so largely with talent in its backyard – graduates from Arizona State University and the University of Arizona.

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“Our strategic initiative for growth includes us providing institutional-quality training for young people that others in the market aren’t currently offering,” said Executive Vice President Lane Neville, who is spearheading the training program. “The goal is to build a deal pipeline and further our young agents’ industry knowledge and brokerage know-how, so after a year of training, they are each ready to join an NAI Horizon team of experienced brokers. That is our plan for organic growth.”

NAI Horizon began its agent trainee program efforts last fall, interviewing 25 college candidates nationwide. It narrowed its selection based on academics, degrees, and one-on-one personal skills. The inaugural group of agent trainees that began program work at NAI Horizon this past June 1st include:

  • Andrew Agresta has a Bachelor of Science in marketing and international business from the Ivy College of Business at Iowa State University in Ames, Iowa; he also attended the University of Limerick in Limerick, Ireland.
  •   Brandon Hall has a Bachelor of Science in finance from Arizona State University’s W.P. Carey School of Business, with minors in sustainability and real estate.
  •   Whitney Heritage has a Bachelor of Arts degree in business from Arizona State University’s W.P. Carey School of Business, majoring in business communication and minoring in real estate.
  • Matt Westra has a Bachelor of Science in business administration from the University of Arizona’s Eller College of Management, majoring in finance.

“All the new agents in our training class have strong connections to Arizona, either through family or growing up here,” Neville said. “Getting into commercial real estate is tough, and making it in the business is even tougher. We’re extremely confident our new agents will excel.”

The agent trainees spend time each week in a classroom-like setting, including instruction, role-playing, studying, financial modeling, and taking quizzes. They also participate weekly in one-on-one mentoring and training from senior agents in the firm, including conducting “out-in-the-field work,” according to Neville. 

“We incorporate our senior brokers as mentors. The trainees shadow them to get out and apply what they are learning,” Neville explained. “This includes canvassing, soliciting, generating new leads, and working transactions. The goal is to build their pipeline and increase our trainees’ knowledge.”

How vital for NAI Horizon is its trainee program?

“This program is a key part of our overall strategic initiative for growth and is very vital to the firm,” Neville said. “Our first class of trainees are getting quality training and mentoring. Our brokers are doing a great job in helping them decide the best direction in which to go in their respective CRE brokerage careers.”

NAI Horizon will be recruiting five new individuals for the class of 2024 beginning June 1. Those interested in being considered for the next NAI training program should contact Neville at [email protected].