Ari Azarbarzin Named to Baltimore Business Journal's 40 Under 40 Class of 2019

Ari Azarbarzin

Age: 29

Title: Director of investment sales, Greysteel

Education: Bachelor's degree, University of Maryland

Describe a work of art that has been meaningful to you: My favorite movie is Oliver Stone’s "Wall Street," starring Michael Douglass and a young Charlie Sheen. The film has several critical themes, but especially consequential is the way Bud Fox’s (Charlie Sheen) actions have an impact on his personal relationships and the way financial gain can sometimes make a person lose sight of the importance of character and integrity.

Ari Azarbarzin came to Greysteel three years ago to re-establish the real estate company's multifamily group in Baltimore.

He was a transplant to Charm City from New York — and had only two years of professional experience under his belt. Working solo in a small office, he was able to put down roots both in the office and in his personal life. And it often was not easy.

"I dealt with the challenge by trusting that if I followed best practices and simply outworked the competition, sooner or later success would follow," he says today. "There were absolutely moments where I doubted myself, but those moments were fleeting as I did my best to stay focused on the end goals."

Today Greysteel has several clients and has closed on some of the area's largest deals in Midtown, Fells Point and the suburbs. A recent expansion into parts of Virginia was a sign of growth and more could be coming as Greysteel eyes more investment sales territory in the mid-Atlantic.

"There is much mountain left to climb," he said.

Azarbarzin said he was told some good advice early on that "commercial real estate was a marathon, not a sprint."

"And that the early years are always challenging," he said. "Our industry is more analogous to professional baseball with the early phases of a broker’s career comparable to the grueling minor league system. Establishing a strong work ethic will take you a long way."

What are some of the best lessons you have learned?

Two principles stand out to me: The first is as a service professional and adviser, you can only control what you can control. When you are handling a transaction, there are many variables involved, mainly other people and outside circumstances. If you start focusing on matters outside of your control, you can enter a state of mental paralysis that prevents you from clearly advising your clients and analyzing data/situations effectively. The second is the principle, “the client always comes first.”

Do you have any routines or daily practices to keep yourself focused and on-track?

I tend to keep a fairly stringent schedule. I will exercise every morning and then arrive at the office at 7:45 a.m., leaving no earlier than 7 p.m. I never leave the office without planning the following day’s objectives. Finally, I will always begin and end the day by consuming 15 to 20 minutes of financial and geopolitical news in my favorite news sources, in addition to the BBJ, the Wall Street Journal, Financial Times and Mortgage News Daily.

How do you relax and recharge outside of work?

I enjoy spending time with family and friends. In addition to reading (mostly non-fiction and a strong preference for biographies), I have become very interested in art, especially from the Persian Empire and European Renaissance Periods. On the weekends, I am in “do not disturb" mode when the Chelsea Football Club or Baltimore Ravens are playing.

How important is it to mentor younger workers?

Mentoring is critical. Building a sustainable healthy business and meeting the full needs of our clients is virtually impossible without a team of capable colleagues. I consistently carve out daily and weekly office hours that enable me to answer any questions these junior professionals pose. Ultimately the objective is to groom them into peers as our practice continues to expand.

Are you involved in any organizations outside of your job?

I am a member of the Leadership Advisory Committee at Cristo Rey Jesuit High School, as well as a scholarship benefactor.

— Melody Simmons

Baltimore Business Journal

2019 Baltimore Business Journal 40 Under 40 Article