6/27/2012 Eagle Village Welcomes Virgil Nelson, our Newest Leasing Team Member

‘Power broker’ has mastered art of the deal
April 7, 2012 12:10 am
BY BILL FREEHLING
Three Diet Coke cans on display in Virgil Nelson’s Fredericksburg office speak to the
success of a 27-year career in local commercial real estate.
Three years ago, Nelson’s firm, Cushman & Wakefield | Thalhimer, created an award
called “Most Prolific Dealmaker.” It goes to the agent who completes the most
commercial real estate deals in a single year for Thalhimer, which has 10 offices in
Virginia, North Carolina and South Carolina and about 130 agents.
Nelson won the inaugural award in 2009. Thalhimer created a trophy of sorts with a
glass-enclosed Diet Coke, a beverage Nelson loves. Nelson received the same award
in 2010 and 2011. He says he does about 80 deals a year, including leases and sales,
about double the number by the next-highest Thalhimer agent.
CoStar Group has also recognized Nelson as a “power broker” in the Washington
market the past three years. He routinely wins free trips as part of Thalhimer
competitions for most new listings. He typically juggles about 100 active listings.
So how does he do it?
Nelson has a few thoughts: good assistants over the years, a willingness to handle all
aspects of commercial real estate, doing right by customers and getting referrals as a
result, and ubiquitous signs dotting the Fredericksburg-area landscape to market both
himself and the properties he represents.
His colleagues elaborate on what makes Nelson tick.
Nelson has a unique ability to manage his time wisely, said fellow Thalhimer senior
vice president Neil Sullivan, with whom Nelson has worked for 20 years.
“Virgil always has many, many balls in the air,” Sullivan wrote in an email. “The
thing that sets Virgil apart from others is his ability to recognize where best to spend
his time, every minute of every day.
“Of all the balls in the air, he can put a laser beam on those deals closest to the finish
line and stick with them until they are completed. It is a real gift to identify the correct
deals to focus on. A lot of folks in our business work very hard and very long hours.
Virgil works smart and is as efficient as anyone I have ever worked with.”
Nelson also has an encyclopedic knowledge of the local commercial real estate ‘Power broker’ has mastered art of the deal market, said Jamie Scully, who recently became managing broker of Thalhimer’s
Fredericksburg office. He knows the history of nearly every building in the market,
and off the top of his head can recite comps and statistics for the market both current
and past.
“He certainly has a Ph.D.-level degree in Fredericksburg’s CRE industry,” Scully wrote in an email.
Virgil Nelson has won Thalhimer’s Most Prolific Dealmaker award three years running.   He does about 80 deals a year, about double the next-highest total.
That knowledge has been built up over 27 years. Nelson, who grew up in Carroll County in the mountains of Southwest
Virginia, took a job as an assistant manager of a Kentucky Fried Chicken restaurant in Charlottesville after graduating
from Virginia Tech with an accounting degree in 1982. He then became manager of a KFC restaurant in Lynchburg and
later one off Garrisonville Road in North Stafford that has since been demolished for an Interstate 95 ramp.
While at KFC, Nelson started taking real estate classes because he was in the market for a house and wanted to learn
about the process. After getting his license in early 1985, he decided to take a job in the commercial division of a firm
called Mount Vernon Realty rather than moving to North Carolina to manage a KFC in Charlotte. The hours were
shorter, the pay was better and the job seemed more professional.
His first assignment was managing the Westwood Office Park, Westwood Village and Salem Professional Center
complexes along State Route 3 in Fredericksburg and Spotsylvania County. Nelson joined Weichert Realtors after that
firm purchased Mount Vernon Realty about 1992. Not long after that, he partnered with Neil Sullivan’s Sullivan
Properties, which merged with Thalhimer in 2008.
While Sullivan is making plans to retire later this year, the 52-year-old Nelson is showing no signs of slowing down.
He enjoys working with businesses and helping them grow.
“I love getting up and going to work every day,” Nelson said.
The Stafford County resident has two sons in college (one at Radford, one at Germanna) who have expressed interest in
someday working alongside him and a daughter who is a sophomore at Stafford High School. He’s seeing signs that the
local economy is improving after a rough several years that involved working twice as hard for half the money.
Though Nelson is clearly passionate about his work, he does have other interests, namely traveling and rooting for his
beloved Hokies at every home football game in Blacksburg.
As for the Diet Coke, he’s trying to cut back on drinking so much. But it seems a good bet that more glass-enclosed
cans will be heading his way.
Bill Freehling: 540/374-5405
Email: bfreehling@freelancestar.com
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