Position: Senior vice president, leasing, First Potomac Realty Trust, a Bethesda-based real estate investment trust that acquires and operates industrial and flex properties in the Washington area.

Career highlights: Senior vice president, Trammell Crow Co.; tenant and landlord representative, Casey Oncor International; vice president, valuation, Colliers Pinkard.

Age: 41

Education: BA, business administration, Roanoke College.

Personal: Lives in Elkridge with wife, Laura, and their children Bradley, 7, and Chloe, 6.

How did you get where you are?

After college, I lived in upstate New York and worked with my mom's real estate company. I found that real estate was a profession I wanted to be in. I had always lived around the real estate world and I realized the quality of life we had as a family had improved due to my mom's success in real estate. But I wanted a larger market, so I moved to this area in 1987. While in the Baltimore-Washington area, I worked as an appraiser valuing real estate. I thought, "What better way to understand the real estate market than to value real estate?" But I soon realized that writing reports was not my desire nor my forte. I found my strengths lay more in dealing with individuals.

That's the time that I switched over to leasing. After learning the basics, I joined Trammell Crow Co. in 1998. Trammell Crow offered me a national platform with a development arm and strong investment sales team where I could broaden my real estate knowledge. After working on a sales transaction with First Potomac Realty Trust, I realized that they had a very creative team-approach to doing business. And after meeting with the management team, I realized that the team concept with this group of dynamic individuals was where I wanted to be.

My biggest break was coming here because it has enabled me to combine everything that I've learned for the last 15 years with working with a team of talented individuals in building a successful company. Given the opportunity to run the department is a huge undertaking. . . . My parents are my biggest influence. My father has been in a wheelchair with multiple sclerosis for the last 25 years. My father probably motivates me the most because of his will and determination in battling this disease every day. I have always admired my mother's business ethics in dealing with people and try to model myself after her success.

-- Judith Mbuya