For Rey Nunez, the People on the Bus Come First

When negotiating real estate deals for Greyhound, Nunez keeps the customer front-and-center

The Greyhound corporate offices in Dallas are just a fifteen-minute walk from the real hub of the company’s business: its bus terminals. Rey Nunez says he likes to periodically make the walk to South Lamar Street in downtown Dallas to remind himself of the journeys’ Greyhound passengers take.

Rey Nunez, Greyhound, portrait
Rey Nunez, Senior Director of Real Estate, Greyhound LinesPhoto courtesy of Greyhound Lines

The senior director of real estate knows that regardless of the direction they’re headed, those passengers represent the lifeblood of the 105-year-old company. He also knows that they should play into each and every decision he makes. By emphasizing the customer experience, Nunez has been effective in navigating multifaceted real estate deals, managing leases, and seeking optimal locations for terminals and maintenance facilities. He says that because he’s come to expect certain detours in complicated transactions, as well as negotiations with potential roadblocks, the real estate team is able provide real value to the company. Ultimately, the goal is for Greyhound to provide the very best experience for its customers.

For Nunez, leading the real estate group at Greyhound came as a surprise. Early in his career, if you had asked him, Nunez would’ve said he was an accountant. He was ten years deep in financial roles at Motorola before being offered a role in space planning. “The people in that role were architects, and it didn’t seem like a financial background was going to be very helpful at all,” Nunez says. “I decided to take it because I thought I could learn something new—and it wound up being a pivotal moment.” The move changed the course of Nunez’s career for the next decade-plus.

Since coming to Greyhound in 2011, he’s played a key role in 80 dispositions, totaling over $265 million. In May of 2016, the company announced a successful transfer of operations in San Jose to a nearby intermodal facility, allowing Greyhound customers better connection to Amtrak, BoltBus, Caltrain, and other forms of transit. Just a half-mile from its previous facilities, the location was a deal Nunez worked on for two-and-a-half years—though the initial interest in the move dates back nearly twenty years.

“Opening a new door can be scary because you don’t always know what’s behind it, but you’ll never know if you don’t try.”

“We had always been told that there wasn’t enough room or that it couldn’t work,” Nunez says. But when a motivated seller made an offer equaling three times the value of Greyhound’s current bus station, both seller and buyer partnered to educate city officials about how the deal would work best for all parties, particularly San Jose passengers.

“It was a strategic move on our part that really ended up working out great for everyone,” Nunez says. Amtrak was already operating out of the facility and was contracted by Greyhound to sell its tickets, thus eliminating the need for any new infrastructure. The developer who bought the old Greyhound headquarters had plans to demolish the building and install residential housing, of which Nunez says the city was greatly in favor.

Considering the number of stakeholders in a given exchange has become second nature for Nunez. “I think an important part of my job is trying to foresee where things are headed,” he explains. “I like to be prepared for the worst-case scenario. So, we do our homework and work very hard to prepare for whatever outcome may occur.” The director of real estate says that by communicating with internal stakeholders early and often, Greyhound is able to respond much more effectively—and often much more quickly—with worthwhile information.

Balancing the needs of multiple interested parties may seem like a tough job, but Nunez says his family provided him with an alternative to white-collar work early in his life. His parents were formerly migrant farmers in Minnesota, and, when he was a boy, they brought him to the North Star State for a summer so that he could experience the same type of farm work they had done. “I realized very quickly that I didn’t want to do that sort of work,” Nunez says. “It propelled me to work harder, and it gave me extra energy knowing that there was something much more difficult I could be doing than homework when studying at the University of Texas at Austin or preparing for the CPA exam.”

That summer of hard labor remains fresh in Nunez’s mind. He explains it as an instrumental moment in which he not only realized the kind of career he didn’t want, but also one where he was able to witness how laborers are often perceived by those who are privileged with more opportunities. It’s helped Nunez to keep an open mind throughout his career—and he’s always willing to step outside of his comfort zone.

“Opening a new door can be scary because you don’t always know what’s behind it, but you’ll never know if you don’t try.”

Rey Nuñoz is an extraordinary leader, and his dedication to his colleagues and Greyhound customers is clear. JLL is proud to work with him and support his vison to achieve ambitions—both for himself and the customers he serves.