Industries Commercial Real Estate

Top women in Commercial Real Estate |  Gabrielle Niccum

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What makes a good property manager? Someone who doesn’t mind getting a late-night call about a power outage that leaves a building’s doors unlocked and its elevators immobile.  Dealing with trouble, in fact, is what Gabrielle “Gabe” Niccum likes about her job.

As director of property management for the Roanoke office of Thalhimer/Cushman & Wakefield, Niccum oversees 750,000 square feet of property —  one of the largest portfolios of commercial real estate in western Virginia.  With properties ranging from a bank headquarters to shopping centers, she finds no two days are the same.  “It’s always something different every day,” says Niccum.

Like the time downtown Roanoke experienced a rare power failure. The outage left two buildings that Niccum manages with unsecured doors and idle elevators.  Within minutes, Niccum called maintenance workers to the scene. They checked elevators for trapped passengers and kept an eye on the doors. Meanwhile, Niccum walked through the buildings to ensure that the outage had not affected other systems.

Calm under pressure, cool under fire — that’s Niccum’s reputation in a field where crises pop up like weeds. “I haven’t seen her flustered,” says Mike Warner, a partner in a corporation that owns a Roanoke building managed by Niccum. “She’s very reliable, trustworthy, a smart person.”

Bob Copty, manager of the Roanoke office where Niccum works, describes her as a problem solver who works well with people.  “Buildings are like children — none of them are perfect — and property managers have to be almost a psychologist,” says Copty. 

Niccum is more modest in assessing her skills. Yet the 34-year-old was identified as a standout in 2007 when she was named certified property manager of the year by the Virginia chapter of the Institute of Real Estate Management.

An Orlando, Fla., native, Niccum has worked for Copty for 10 years. When his company, Copty & Co., merged with Thalhimer in January, she stayed on board. Copty says Niccum has successfully supervised millions of dollars worth of construction and upgrades at her properties. 

A mother of two, Niccum says she’s committed to finding the time and energy to pursue a personal life as well as a professional one. It helps, she says, to have good organizational skills. “I’d like to say I’m very organized, almost to a fault. And I care. I really care about our buildings and tenants.”


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