Meet a Governor
Jack Schultz is CEO of Argracel Inc., in Effington, Illinois
Q. Why does this market cycle seem longer?
A. This cycle has gone longer than nearly anyone
expected, and it’s a bit like déjà vu, the way we’ve
seemingly been in the sixth or seventh inning for
about two years. Low interest rates that are driving
capital not only into our industry, but also into our
clients’ industries, have prolonged it. Agracel’s primary
clients are manufacturers, and capital plays a larger role in this industry than it
does in office product, for example. This continuing influx of capital has given
our clients the confidence to expand, and that’s good for our business too.
Q. Why are we seeing such robust manufacturing growth in the U.S.?
A. Companies from Europe and Eastern Asia are opening manufacturing facilities
in the U.S., in addition to domestic companies expanding. Along with low interest
rates, a driving factor for relocation and expansion is low energy costs in the U.S.
compared to the rest of the world. The cost of natural gas in Europe is triple what
it is in the U.S., and quadruple in China. I recently visited a glassmaking plant
in Pennsylvania whose energy and labor costs were $10 million each. In China,
although the labor would be far less expensive, the energy cost would be $40 million
annually. It’s a smarter business decision to keep that business in the U.S.
Q. Why did you become a NAIOP Research Foundation Governor?
A. In 1995, I attended my first NAIOP conference, and shortly afterwards joined
a National Forum. That decision changed my life and my businesses. I truly
learned the development business from the members of the Forums, and over
the last two decades, that knowledge has helped me grow my business from
72,000 square feet in two buildings to 15 million square feet across 150 buildings.
Joining the Research Foundation Governors was another game changer. It’s given
me the opportunity to give back to the industry, and also to NAIOP, with all that the
association has done to nurture this neophyte and turn him into a developer.
Q. Why is the Foundation’s work important?
A. There is so much in our industry that needs to be researched and publicized,
and the work of the Foundation is unique. The Foundation’s reports, particularly
the annual study on CRE’s economic impact or the demand forecasts for
industrial and office, are advantageous for the industry, helping elevate it and
those driving it today to run better businesses.
Jack Schultz joined the Research Foundation Governors in 2011. He has
been a member of the NAIOP National Forums for private development and
entrepreneurial investment and development. He founded Agracel Inc. in 1986,
and the company has developed over 14 million square feet of industrial space
in 20 states.