Steve Barker: Hotels and New Options

Steve Barker is a high experienced real estate developer from Charlotte, North Carolina who has developed and redeveloped real estate projects across the United States during his productive investing career. Steve is a brilliant In this interview, talking about hotels and the changes happening right now to repurpose, remodel, redesign, and reimagine hotels for the future. His short biography is shown below the recording. [We had technical difficulties with Steve’s video during this interview.]

Stephen D. Barker was born in Kirksville, Missouri on February 17, 1948 to Dale and Lila
Barker. In the mid 1950’s, his family moved to Fenton, Michigan. His father was hired as a
master mechanic with Oldsmobile Division of General Motors. He has a brother Dan who lives
in Fenton, Michigan and a sister who lives in Severna Park, Maryland. His mother is a “Life
Master” Bridge Player and lives in Daytona Beach, Florida. His wife Kristina has a background
as a dental hygienist and has been a strong supporter of Steve throughout his career. He has two
children including his daughter Angela Aguilar who, with Steve’s Dad and Niece heads up his
Michigan offices of Catellus Group. His son Derek Barker, was an all-state football player and
wrestler in high school and has an M.B.A. from Pepperdine University and now works for TIAA
CRET in the Global Real Estate Division, in Charlotte, NC. Steve has two grandchildren,
(Alyssa (9 years old) and Sierra (6 years old).
Steve was raised in Fenton, Michigan where he grew up hunting, fishing, and trapping. He was
very active in high school sports and played football, basketball, track and baseball on highly
rated state championship teams. While in high school, he received the “Marc Peck Award”
which honored a local senior student who exemplified the best in academic and athletic
achievement. He graduated in 1966.
Following high school, Steve attended Central Michigan University and graduated in 1970 with a
Bachelor of Arts Degree in Business Administration and a Minor in Economics. Thereafter, he
went to work for the Community National Bank where he started as a teller, got promoted to
assistant manager, then branch manager, and finally moved into commercial loans where honed
his skills in mortgage lending and business finance.
After eight (8) years in banking, he obtained his real estate broker’s license and practiced real
estate brokerage and development in the Flint, Michigan area for 10 years. During that time he
became widely known for his disposition work and extensive knowledge of real estate-owned
properties for banks and financial institutions. In 1980, he obtained his CCIM Designation and
became active as President of the Grand Blanc Business Association, Grand Blanc, Michigan. In
1982, he became President of the Michigan Association of Real Estate Exchangors and received
the “Exchangor of the Year Award.” In 1983, he received the “Creative Transaction of the Year
Award” from the Michigan Association of Real Estate Exchangors. Later he moved to Charlotte,
North Carolina and founded Catellus Group, LLC a Commercial Real Estate Investment and
Management Company. He received a number of awards and honors. In 1992 he received the
“Counselor of the Year” Award from the national Society of Exchange Counselors. He also
served as President of the Society of Exchange Counselors in 1992.
Steve’s business goals and philosophy are best typified by his continuing focus and creative
instinct in solving problems in the real estate marketplace and by meeting people at their level
and helping others each day. Not only has he benefited financially from his real estate talents and
resourceful personality, but he also has shared his success with his employees who have enjoyed
long-term employment and benefited financially and in countless ways from his personal
involvement in their lives.
When asked about his strengths and weaknesses in the real estate business, he indicated his
greatest strength is in “connecting the dots in working on real estate investment and development
opportunities” and his weakness, if any, is in following up on all the “details.” “My salvation is
a great staff.”
According to Steve, his best moment in the real estate business occurred in 1992 when he gave a
very eloquent speech as President of the Society of Exchange Counselors wherein he defined the
mission statement of S.E.C. to be to promote educational preeminence, achieve marketing and
production superiority, promote membership strength, promote brotherhood, tradition and
heritage. He also acknowledged the personal contributions and inspirations of Tom Bateman,
Chuck Chatham, Bill Warr, Don Eymann, Ron Mosher, Bill and Carole Martin, Bob Zink,
Dan Murphy, Sam Brown, and Jim Farley, each which typified, in a different fashion, what the
Society of Exchange Counselors represents.
His most significant and perhaps memorable business accomplishment in the S.E.C. was with
Harry Kennerk, which involved the sale of a 9-story hotel. From that first transaction, he has
established momentum in completing a number of very large real estate transactions with
numerous S.E.C. members.
On a more personal note, Steve’s hobbies include a myriad of things such as a penchant for
motorcycles, restoration of old cars and things mechanical. He also loves architecture, collects
various art, civil war history, refurbishes old trunks and plays the guitar. Those in S.E.C. in 2001
may also recall that he wore a “Pink Bandana” while traveling across the United States to the
S.E.C. meeting in Portland, Oregon just prior to one of the nation’s greatest national tragedies on
September 11, 2001. In keeping with Steve’s desire to help his fellow man, the “Pink Bandana”
was auctioned at the Farley Fund Charity Auction in Portland, Oregon. Approximately $8,500
was raised through his trip activities.
In short, Steve’s life and real estate career, like the ride across the United States on a motorcycle,
symbolizes his creativity, high energy, talents and resourcefulness. He has achieved great
professional and personal success and rewards in dealing with all types of people with
challenging real estate problems and investment opportunities. This is the story of Steve Barker,
a consummate real estate professional with a remarkable track record.