Nelson Taylor was called for jury duty in mid-September, and he noticed that his field — real estate — was displayed on the TV in the room into which he and his prospective jurors were herded. That TV, says Taylor, was tuned to HGTV “on full blast.”
Even for someone who works in the field of real estate market research, it was a little much, Taylor says: “‘I want chic, but I also want a farmhouse look.’ Oh my God, so annoying.”
'I pride myself on the fact that I always want to know a lot about a lot.' Nelson Taylor
That might be one of the few times Taylor hasn’t been interested in anything having to do with real estate. Justin Thibaut, his LSI Companies colleague who nominated him for 40 Under 40, referred to him as a “‘one-man wrecking ball’ when it comes to real estate research, analysis, valuation and consulting.”
The valuation and positioning studies that Taylor prepares, Thibaut writes, “have become the manual for the region’s most prominent builders and developers,” who use the information for development proposals.
The devotion to the cause or project stems, at least to a large degree, from his mentor, Southwest Florida real estate veteran Woody Hanson. Taylor, for example, says Hanson, taught him the value of being solution-focused on every task. "If it were easy, you would not be working on it," is one of Hanson's stock lines, Taylor says.
Taylor says the esoteric nature of his work — he’s done valuations for everything from major Class A office buildings to orange groves and submerged land — appeals to his insatiable thirst for knowledge. “I’m interested in a lot of things,” he says. “I watch YouTube videos at random about science and math. I pride myself on the fact that I always want to know a lot about a lot.”
Travel is another perk of the job, Taylor says. Not only does his research take him around Florida, but also across the county: He recently traveled to Seattle to perform a valuation of a corrections facility. “Once you get on the ground and actually explore an area,” he says, “you start to realize a lot more than your original impressions of it.”
Taylor’s comprehensive real estate studies draw from everything from demographic and socioeconomic data to labor market statistics and land-use restrictions. He admits that his reports can be info dumps, but he prides himself on his ability to synthesize and summarize his findings for clients.
“I think that what goes missing in many consulting assignments is the ‘therefore,’” he says. “People don’t have time to read the 200 pages you’ve typed up, so what is the conclusion? ‘What am I to do?’ I think that’s what makes me different than most — I’m able to help guide people.”
— Brian Hartz
Name: Nelson Taylor
City of residence: Fort Myers
Employer: LSI Companies Inc.
Title: Real estate market research director
Birthplace: Bowling Green, Ky.
Years in the area: 29
Marital status/children: Married, no children yet
Alma mater/degree: Florida State University, bachelor’s in real estate; University of Denver, master’s in real estate
What community group or organization are you most involved with? Edison Festival of Lights Parade
What's the weirdest job you've ever had? Dispensing tape for guitar shipment boxes
What's your top tip for being productive? In every problem there is a solution, some just take a lot longer to find than others. List out tasks for the day making sure time is dedicated to both the easy and the difficult, thereby every problem gets the attention it needs for a solution to be found.
If you could have a side hustle, what would it be? Golf swing coach
What's your favorite off-hours activity? Golfing and reading
Have you gone to the movies in 2021? If yes, what did you see? I have not.
What's the top item on your bucket list? Go on a honeymoon with my wife; COVID is still delaying us.
What's your favorite podcast? TreppWire, all things commercial real estate
Where is your happy place? Tween Waters with my wife and a drink in hand
Describe yourself in three words. Inquisitive, driven, passionate
Who is your mentor for your career and why? Woody Hanson. Not only did he bring me into the real estate world as my first boss, but he also looked after me like a father figure. His lessons were both work and life related and has been pivotal in my success.
What are the biggest lessons you have learned from your mentor? Whenever I would get frustrated trying to solve a real estate valuation or consulting problem, Woody would always remind me, “If it were easy, you would not be working on it.” This statement always inspired me to be creative in my solution-driven efforts and is a viewpoint I bring to every project I work on. The greatest lesson Woody ever taught me was to focus on delivering quality effort on every assignment. People recognize hard work, and you will be rewarded for it down the road. Equally, he emphasized being a high-quality person in life and approaching every life situation with great character, no matter how hard or difficult.