- January 25, 2013
… Ray Sandelli had just been named to the National Association of Industrial and Office Parks’ Tampa Bay chapter’s “Hall of Fame” for 2018.
The induction was in recognition of years of work at commercial real estate brokerage CBRE Inc. as the firm’s managing director in Tampa and market leader for all of Florida.
To celebrate the event, a few CBRE colleagues and alum got together and bought an ad in NAIOP’s event brochure, calling themselves the “Ray Sandelli Fan Club.”
That was February. Shortly thereafter, Sandelli decided to downshift his workload at CRE Consultants — the Fort Myers’ commercial real estate brokerage where he has been managing partner since 2012 — to just four days a week.
The move was a nod to the 70th anniversary of his birth, and a way to spend more quality time with his family, with whom he’s close.
That plan was smoothly moving along until a few weeks ago, when Gov. Ron DeSantis’ office called. The governor wanted to know if the former U.S. Navy Blue Angel pilot would be interested in filling a seat on the Lee County Commission left empty by the death of Larry Kiker, 67, from cancer in April.
After long talks with his family and company and the decision to cut short an annual family vacation in Ocean City, N.J., Sandelli gave the thumbs up to the idea. He was sworn in earlier this month to serve a term through November 2020.
“It was quite a surprise. I didn’t know the governor, and it wasn’t something I pursued,” says Sandelli, who turned 71 earlier this month. “But I think anyone would be flattered by it.
“I guess there’s just something in my DNA that makes me feel better to have a purpose to every day,” Sandelli says.
And how does his firm feel?
“We are honored and thrilled,” says CRE Consultants’ Founding Partner Randy Mercer. “I can assure everyone that he is a very special gentleman who is thoughtful, respectful of all and very measured in his actions.”