Success in the marketplace is fueled by market intelligence. Adam Nugent is joined by Brandon Fugal, chairman of Colliers International in Utah and owner of Skinwalker Ranch. Brandon is one of the most prominent businessmen and real estate developers in the Intermountain West. Together, they talk about the incredible Utah business climate, the amazing growth all around us, and some of the strange and unexplainable phenomena that emanate from Skinwalker Rach.
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In this podcast excerpt, commercial real estate mogul shares how he got into the business as a teenager. And as the owner of the mysterious Skinwalker Ranch, he reveals his reason for acquiring the property and if there is any truth to the reports that made the property as a famous paranormal hotspot.
AN: Brandon, how’d you get into commercial real estate?
BF: I jumped into commercial real estate as a teenager. I had an aptitude for business from a very young age. At age 13, I read the acclaimed autobiography of Lee Iacocca, which really triggered my interest in business, the economy, and the world around me. By the time I was a senior in high school, I had my own subscriptions to the Wall Street Journal and Business Week, and I had a desire to work with the captains of industry and the people that I was reading about in the pages of those periodicals.
That first year in the business was difficult. It was a year of starvation because the sales cycle is so long in commercial real estate, but it also gave me an opportunity to build a proprietary database, not only tracking all of the inventory along the Wasatch Front but also the companies and who the key decision makers were with those companies and how much square footage they occupied, and really being able to forecast the future as to who the players are on the chess board that will be making moves in the future. I built that first database when I was 18 years old.
AN: Outside of real estate, there’s been a passion of yours that you’ve gotten involved in. Tell us about Skin Walker Ranch.
I had the opportunity to meet with an elusive billionaire out of Las Vegas named Robert Bigelow back in 2015, who had spent almost 20 years focused on a scientific research project regarding this very mysterious ranch near Vernal. I mean, this property is like a whole season of The X-Files packed into one 512-acre parcel.
AN: Have you encountered an alien there on the property since you acquired it?
BF: We’ve encountered some very strange things. I bought the property as a hardened skeptic. When I acquired the property, I’d never seen a UFO, a ghost, or an orb or anything of the sort, but I had an open mind. I thought in bringing together a team of scientists and experts that I would most likely debunk the property, or at least bring a natural explanation to the table for what had been reported for decades. What I ended up finding was that there is absolute truth and reality to what has been reported. And I ended up even having my own experiences.