Meet a Governor

Jack Schultz

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.