Alumnus Gary Weiss shares his experiences at SDSU and offers career advice for current students.
Gary Weiss, ’79, is a principal in the commercial real estate brokerage firm of LA Realty Partners and he has leased over $6.6 million square feet of office space throughout the region.
Weiss’ clients include top law firms and he recently helped place the talent agency CAA, in its new office complex in Century City at 200 Avenue of the Stars.
Tell us the highlights of your professional career. What are your proudest achievements?
Representing our client CAA in the acquisition of their complex was one of the most important real estate transactions in West Los Angeles and one of the most ambitious in town. It started in 2000 in finding the space, involved demolition of the existing construction, building of 200,000 square feet of gorgeous, glass enclosed space, and the clients moved in in 2006. I love what I do because I work with so many great clients and you never know what the next day will bring.
What's your favorite college memory?
I began college at the University of Wisconsin and played baseball there, but after two years, I couldn’t take the weather any more. I transferred to SDSU without knowing anyone but, I moved to apartments on 55th Street and met dozens of people that I’m still friendly with. I didn’t make the baseball team, but that turned out fine because I still hung out with the guys on the team, including Buddy Black (manager of the San Diego Padres), who’s been a friend since college. I enjoyed the laid back environment at SDSU.
Who was your favorite teacher and/or what was your favorite class?
I loved the business program and everything about being at San Diego State.
If you were to give current SDSU students some advice, what would you say?
Find an interest, i.e. a major that you like and enjoy and pursue that. Don’t pay so much attention to the economics of the major and how much money you’ll make, but where you will get the most joy and happiness. For me it was business. My father was a business man and my uncle owned a company. I always wanted to do that. But know that interests change, so allow yourself the option to change your mind. Follow that passion and don’t be afraid to change your mind.
What are you currently reading? What's your favorite book?
I recently read No Easy Day, about getting Osama Bin Laden and also Raising Cain, which is about the emotional struggles of boys and how they are brought up in our society.
What is your passion?
My family — their health and well-being. After them, it would be sports, food and wine, and travel. I’ve played very sport and today I love all sports. The Padres are my team because Buddy Black is their manager, but I’ve followed every team they’ve managed. I also follow Nebraska because that’s where my wife is from and the Lakers.
What is your motto?
I’ve kept a quote by Winston Churchill by my desk for the last thirty years. He said that” nothing in the world can take the place of persistence… persistence and determination alone are omnipotent. The slogan ‘Press On’ has solved and always will solve the problems of the human race.” I love it because it suggests that being smart is not the most important thing, it’s continuing to work at something and getting it done.
If you won the lottery, what would you do with the winnings?
I would give a lot to charity. I would probably start a foundation. We are philanthropic now. We support the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation of LA and human rights organizations by giving time and money.
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