AIRECO Real Estate Corp.
Bob Desmond knows his way around the Hauppauge Industrial Park, and for the HIA’s Corporate Secretary that’s a real asset. As a partner in AIRECO Real Estate, he keeps up to date on most of the office and industrial spaces on Long Island and has seen a lot of changes taking place. Bob grew up in Queens and studied marketing at Pace University in Manhattan before moving to Fort Salonga. Being able to work close to home is important to Bob, now that his son, who is 8 and daughter, 10, are becoming more involved in extra-curricular activities. “This is a very important time in their lives, when they’re growing up,” he noted. “Fortunately mine is the type of business that lets me spend time with them. I’m not required to do a lot of outside traveling.” Working in real estate gives him some flexibility in his schedule. “I’m able to plan my days so that I can participate in some school events or other things that come up,” he noted. His wife, Damiana, interrupted her own career as an officer at Citicorp incharge of risk management working with merchants to stop credit card fraud, to raise their family. Bob credits Damiana with keeping everything in order at home. He also noted that his job enables him to get home at a reasonable hour, most of the time, to enjoy some of his favorite recreational activities. Just as his kids do, Bob plays basketball several times a week and enjoys golf and working out at the Hauppauge Sports Club, in the industrial park. “I love sports,” he said. “If I’m not watching it , I’m playing it.” AIRECO, formerly known to many business people on Long Island as All Industrial Real Estate, has witnessed many changes in its commercial industrial make-up over the past 15 years. While the company had been leasing or selling industrial properties when it was first formed, Bob said that the increase in office and other commercial space meant that the company also had to evolve. Rather than project a limited focus, they recently chose to use the acronym formed by the first letters of their “former” name to identify the company. Bob wasn’t always involved in real estate. In fact, after he finished school he continued with the trucking company that he was working for during college. “I set myself a goal,” he said. “If I wasn’t where I wanted to be in the company by the time I was 30, I would leave.” He kept that promise to himself by setting out on his own. He joined forces with a partner who had a failing trucking firm and successfully turned the business around. Eventually though, he tired of the routine, and of the 16 hour days and saw an opportunity in real estate sales. Where will real estate head in the future? “We’re running out of land, especially west of Hauppauge,” he said. While there is still some opportunity to build new construction farther east, he sees more and more companies raising the roof, expanding or retrofitting existing buildings to get the most out of their investments. Not only is Bob an officer for the Hauppauge Industrial Association, but he is on the board of the Commercial Industrial Brokers Society (CIBS) of LI, a trade organization which advocates for professional standards and improving communication within the industry while fostering the economic development of LI. He’s also on the advisory board for the Long Island Development Corporation. Since 1989, Bob has been a member of the Fort Salonga Civic Association. “I joined as soon as we moved here,” he said. Using his expertise in real estate, he keeps the community aware of zoning and traffic issues that can impact their quality of life. A longtime member, Bob helped organized their fall fair for many years. But every spring he works on his favorite project – a spectacular Easter Egg Hunt at Callahan’s Beach for more than 150 neighborhood kids. “I fill 1200 to 1500 plastic eggs with candy or tickets for a prize,” he said. There’s also a jelly bean contest and of course there’s a visit from Mr. Bunny. “I started when my own kids were little,” he explained adding that he keeps doing it, “because of the joy I see on the kids faces every year.” “What I get out of the HIA is the opportunity to meet a lot of people and get my name out there,” he said. “It’s hard to measure how much business you get from that but it’s important to have people know who you are. Besides, I’ve made a lot of friends here.” Being on the board, Bob says he has seen the HIA evolve over the years. “It’s very responsive to members,” he said. “If someone suggests a new committee or the need for a seminar on a topic, the HIA is willing to try it out. Every type of company can benefit from some program, committee or opportunity that the HIA offers. Once you’ve been a member, you see all the things the HIA has accomplished.”