Granite Properties has developed or bought more than 24 million square feet of real estate valued at about $3.6 billion. But one of President and CEO Michael Dardick’s proudest achievements is being named by Fortune magazine as a “Great Place to Work” for four consecutive years. (The company ranked No. 3 on the magazine’s 2015 list.)

As opposed to being in the real estate business, Dardick likes to say his company is in the people business—people who just happen to do real estate. It’s a philosophy he learned from his father, a World War II veteran who started at the bottom of a manufacturing company and worked his way up to becoming owner.

“He’d walk the shop floor and was best buds with all those guys,” Dardick says. “He taught us that the janitor is just as important as the CEO.”

To Dardick, seeing someone on his team achieve something they weren’t sure they could do is just as rewarding as closing a big deal. He makes sure everyone has an opportunity to contribute—both within the company and outside of it. Every employee gets 40 paid hours each year to volunteer at the nonprofit of their choice.

Dardick stays in touch with his 165-person team through one-on-one breakfasts and lunches and by taking groups bowling or sailing.

The people-centric strategy is working. Granite had a banner year in 2015, developing Granite Park V, The Boardwalk at Granite Park, breaking ground on Granite Place at Southlake Town Square, winning a big 330,000-square-foot lease from Fannie Mae, and redeveloping West End Marketplace into a co-working project called Factory Six03.

“Companies can do three things—and two of them suck,” Dardick says. “They can grow, stay the same, or shrink. Nobody wants to shrink, and staying the same gets boring. The reality is, you can’t keep great people without giving them the opportunity to grow.”


Vickie Bunch. As head of real estate and facilities management for Ericsson, Bunch provides oversight and leadership in the management of 4.5 million square feet of space that houses more than 20,000 employees in 27 countries. She runs the workplace services practice, which is recognized as “best in class” in the corporate real estate market.

John Goff, chairman and CEO of Crescent Real Estate and managing principal of Goff Capital Partners. Known for his intuitive investment strategies, Goff last year oversaw the ongoing development of McKinney & Olive and the launch of a $30 million renovation of The Crescent in Uptown—as well as the acquisition of four properties in the West End, which are being repositioned to target the creative class.

Bob Morris of Corgan. Bob joined Corgan as one of the firm’s first employees back in 1978. Today, he’s the president and CEO. Since its founding, Corgan has completed more than 130 projects in downtown Dallas alone. Its 2015 clients included CityLine, Toyota North America, and Kubota Tractor Corp.