Empowered by Opportunity, Thriving on Passion

Our Building Engineering & Technology Service (BETS) Leader, John, shares how his passion for learning and problem-solving led to a career of exciting resolutions and professional growth.

March 21, 2023 3 Minute Read

John McDonagh
John began his career in 1984 as an Apprentice at the age of 21. “My first 10 to 15 years at the company were incredible,” says John. “I learned so much at the facility I was in, and there wasn’t much of anything we didn’t do. We saw it all.” In this role, John was afforded opportunities to work with almost every building system in the industry at the time. “It was a great initial training opportunity that helped set me up for my future,” says John. “I left this role as an Assistant Chief Engineer and continued to progress up the ranks in many different buildings and facilities.”

As John advanced in his career, he was able to use what he learned and continue honing his skills. “I believe that my passion for engineering and the opportunities afforded me early on is a direct reflection of my success today,” says John. “My mentors and the experiences they shared set me on a strong path of professional development. The skills I learned are valuable today as I continue building CBRE’s BETS platform.”

Currently, John oversees an engineering team of about 2,000 Building Engineers and Mobile Technicians across the United States. “My team members are the professionals who keep our properties and facilities operating smoothly, oftentimes through the late hours and early mornings,” says John. These often-unsung heroes are the front-line workers who respond to emergencies and ensure the comfort and safety of CBRE’s clients, tenants and visitors. “Our Building Engineers maintain and repair the assets our clients need to operate their businesses, and I truly believe our people are the backbone of our organization,” says John.

“One thing I am focused on is increasing our workforce diversity,” says John. “It’s no secret that female representation is lacking in the trades industry. We really want to change that at CBRE and let prospects know anyone and everyone is welcome here.”

Diversity, equity and inclusion is a strong focus of growth for CBRE. Our leaders are dedicated to fostering a diverse, equitable and inclusive environment where everyone can belong. “I’m also focused on building a strong team and collaborative culture,” says John. “In every role throughout my career, I’ve helped to create collaborative and equitable environments, achieving success in many forms—and I plan to continue that growth in my role leading our U.S. team.”

John is passionate about the importance of fostering environments where everyone feels welcome and barriers are eliminated. “It’s important we continue creating diverse teams and introducing initiatives that will help not only our clients but also the professional development and growth of each of our team members,” says John. “I am really passionate about fostering a positive, successful and safe work environment at all times.”

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