Gary is a widely respected construction manager and developer with expertise in all aspects of commercial, industrial, office and retail construction. During his 39 years of experience in construction and facilities project management, he successfully completed more than 200 projects. Gary also has 20 years experience as a thorough and effective licensed real estate Broker in Michigan. His understanding and perspective of both construction and real estate enables him to fully understand the real estate development process and the impact it can have to the bottom line of a business.
After obtaining a B.A. in Business at Western Michigan University following three years in Civil Engineering at the University of Michigan, he practiced as a general contractor for 10 years, and then joined Prince Corporation's Real Estate development arm, Lumir, directing the Real Estate and Construction Group as a Broker and construction project manager. During Gary’s tenure with Prince he lead Prince’s effort on revitalizing downtown Holland in an aggressive acquisition, development plan and construction, literally saving 8th Street from "mall flight" and transforming it into a vibrant retail destination.
Upon successful completion of Holland’s downtown, Gary joined a construction company in Kalamazoo as vice president of development and construction management. With his previous experience as a business owner, he led the operations of the company, as well as consulting as owner's representative for commercial, industrial, and retail construction projects. While there he pioneered numerous management reporting methodologies, implemented Microsoft scheduling, and developed project planning and control tools that became the standard for the company.
In 1998 he created an opportunity with four other talented real estate and construction partners to form Midwest Realty Group (MRG). MRG is a Michigan- based development company specializing in brokerage and property management. Gary serviced several national accounts for brokerage services while running the property management and finance departments. While with MRG, he developed over 170,000 SF of commercial space and managed 20 properties.
In 2001, Gary started The Barton Group where he has undertaken a wide range of engagements, including: buyer’s agency and tenant representative assignments; renovation and relocation of the printing business, Strategic Solutions; and owner’s representative for construction of strip centers in Grand Rapids, Kalamazoo and Hillsdale. He has also restored numerous historical buildings that have been rededicated for business use across Southwestern Michigan. As owner’s representative for the $8 million capital development project for the Girl Scouts, he excelled as an active team member throughout the entire project and saved more than $650,000 for the Girl Scouts. This building is a testament to his team work and innovation that used common material in uncommon ways making it the premiere Girl Scout facility across the United States. “His powerful yet unassuming leadership and partnership with the architect and the construction team on this project made a magical building for girls come to life”. As leader of The Barton Group team, he inspires dedication, diligence, excellence and integrity. “Gary’s calm approach, wisdom and thoughtful manner made him a huge asset to our project; we cannot imagine our project’s success without him”.
In 2004 Gary joined the prominent team at Midlink Business Park in Kalamazoo, as part of a venture with Hackman Capital Partners, a California real estate development company. As Sr. Vice President of Operations he was directly responsible for management of the $36 million revitalization of the 340 acre General Motors property. There he served as project construction manager for construction, brokerage director and facilities manager of the 1.6 million square foot facility and is very proud of the community impact his contribution has made to this project. This project attracted new businesses and 350 additional jobs to West Michigan. Gary’s creativity and attention to detail significantly impacted these developments.
Gary approaches project management with a proactive and collaborative style that inspires those around him to give their best. He is committed to understand and respond to clients' needs on every project he manages.