Kristi Svec Simmons, a principal at AQUILA, is a proven leader not only within the company, but also across both the commercial real estate industry and the Austin community. She is part of AQUILA’s tenant representation team and has vast experience working with a broad range of clients, including local firms, national brands and large government and institutional entities. Kristi is an expert in both office leasing transactions and building acquisitions and dispositions.
A natural leader, Kristi is the past-president of the SIOR Austin chapter, a board member for Susan G. Komen, and a member of the Junior League of Austin, as well as numerous other industry and philanthropic organizations. She’s been named an Austin Business Journal Heavy Hitter and a CoStar Power Broker multiple times, as well as an ABJ’s Profiles in Power finalist.
A healthy work-life balance is of top priority to Kristi. She loves spending her weekends and evenings with her husband Cole and two children, Taylor and Beckham. As a family, they enjoy either traveling or just around town at the kid’s school events, games, practices, and scout meetings.
Get to know Kristi a little better in this month’s spotlight Q&A.
Let’s Start With the Basics:
Q: Where did you grow up?
A: La Grange, Texas
Q: Where did you go to college?
A: The University of Texas
Q: What is your favorite part about working for AQUILA?
A: The La Croix selection. Just kidding. For me, it’s the flexibility and the amount of knowledge that our whole company has. We think outside the box and we have a lot of brains to pick from.
Q: What would you say is your key differentiator? Why would I want to work with you?
A: I am super organized, I don’t drop the ball and I’m very good at keeping to timelines. I don’t like to be told no if there’s isn’t a good reason why our client doesn’t deserve certain terms.
Q: How do you add value for your clients?
A: I like to know what their goals are going into a project and my value is trying to exceed those goals whether it’s more options, less rent, more flexibility, etc. Anything to where the client can finish the project and go, “Wow, that was a great transaction.” That’s my goal.
Now For a Little Fun:
Q: What is something on your bucket list?
A: I would love to have a place in Colorado. We go there every summer and I just love it. There’s something about it that’s unlike anything else. We love Vail but it’s expensive – that’s why it’s on my bucket list!!
Q: What’s your go-to karaoke song?
A: If I could sing (and I have tried), it would 100% be The Greatest Love of All by Whitney Houston. And on a really good night, it would be Work by Britney Spears (the clean version of course). I also used to love singing Party in the USA by Miley Cyrus.
Q: If you won $50 million in the lottery, what would you do with it?
A: I would finish up the transactions I was working on (would never leave a client unhappy!) and then take a long break with just my husband and kids. From there, I have a list of organizations I would love donate to, set aside money for college for my kids/nieces, make several very smart investments, actually take the time to fund the startup I have had in my head for a year and then buy that bucket list place in Colorado. I’m conservative so some of the money may end up under my mattress. Ha!
Q: If you could live anywhere in the world and money didn’t matter, where would you live?
A: Kauai, Hawaii. Visiting Hawaii was definitely a bucket list item which I achieved this year and it made me realize why the people there are so happy.
Q: What’s something most people may not know about you?
A: I love to eat. I love food almost as much as I love my kids!
But on a serious note, they may not know that I am an 11-year breast cancer survivor. When I was originally diagnosed, I didn’t want anybody to know at work and I didn’t want anybody to feel sorry for me, so I wore a wig for a long time. A lot of people didn’t even know that I had cancer. What was really important to me going through it was that none of my clients knew what was going on because I didn’t want them to not think I could do a good job for them. Back then it felt like it was kind of the end of the world. Looking back now, I think it was probably one of the best things that happened to me; I not only learned so much about myself, but how to look at life, work, family – all that is so important to me.
Q: What is your favorite restaurant in Austin?
A: Bartlett’s; that’s where Cole and I used to go before we were married and I just love it. I also love Blue Dahlia Bistro and Fricano’s. In my opinion, Fricano’s has the best sandwich in Austin – the Turkey Reuben is so good. Now I’m craving it!
Q: What’s your favorite show to binge watch?
- Beach or mountain? Beach
- Maudie’s or Matt’s El Rancho? Matt’s because of their Mexican martini.
- Flip flops or heels? Totally heels
- Would you walk, run or bike the Hike and Bike Trail? Run
- Grilled or fried? Fried everything
- Call or text? Text if it’s my mother-in-law. Call everyone else.
- South Congress or Domain? South Congress
- Mopac or 35? Neither
- Queso or Guacamole? Queso if I’m in a mood to be bad. Guacamole if I want to be healthy.
- Thin Mints or Caramel deLites? Everything
- Early bird or night owl? Night owl
- Torchy’s or Tacodeli? Definitely Tacodeli
- Dogs or cats? Neither – my son’s allergic to dogs and I’m allergic to cats.
- P.Terry’s or Whataburger? P.Terry’s
- Passenger or driver? Driver
- ACL or SXSW? I don’t like crowds but I do like ACL.
- Willie Nelson or Bob Schneider? Willie Nelson
- 6th Street or Rainey? Now that I have kids, probably West 6th.
- Franklin Barbecue or Lambert’s? Franklin’s without the wait.
For more on Kristi, check out her bio page on our website. Don’t forget to check back each month to see who we feature next!