In an ordinary Wednesday morning, 51-year old business mogul Glenn Escandor chats with an executive over coffee at The Lobby Cafe of one of his businesses Arcadia Active Lifestyle Center.
He was donned in shorts and shirt and a pair of sneakers.
This is a typical morning for the young chief executive who was recently featured in the Sydney-based CEO Magazine for its November 19 issue.
Edge Davao was his other schedule that morning for a short chat-terview. “No pictorials. Let’s just talk,” he politely tells this writer.
The CEO Magazine describes itself as “more than a premier business title: we are a source of information, inspiration and motivation for the world’s most successful leaders, executives, investors and entrepreneurs.”
The magazine, which has regional offices in Stockholm, Singapore, New York and the Philippines, is an iconic, global media brand that has inspired and promoted excellence within the business world.
It has four editorial cornerstones – Inspire, Innovate, Invest and Indulge – and delves deeper into both the professional and personal lives of business leaders, exploring the lifestyle interests and pursuits of this affluent audience.
CEO Magazine’s content creates conversations on all platforms, while its voice is considered as the one that matters to decision makers and game changers.
The article entitled “Building something from nothing: Glenn Escandor” was written by resident writer Oliver Featherston over two full pages splashed with two photographs of the young businessman in his office and another while on a conference.
“Despite the growth of Davao’s property market, it was a tough market to break into for a newcomer. But Glenn Escandor proved Escandor Development Corporation (Esdevco) was capable of just that,” Featherston started his story.
Escndor told Featherston that leadership, for him, is a careful balancing act, but when it’s done right, it brings together a focused, highly competent team.
“I’m a believer in leading by example. Leading, however, should also allow an environment that encourages one to exercise their capabilities and individuality. Leadership is the ability to set the direction where you can lead the rest of the team. With a group of different personalities, being able to set a common language that everyone can commit themselves to is imperative,” said the Dabawenyo business tycoon who was also appointed sports adviser by President Rodrigo Duterte.
The story articulately ran through Glenn’s roller coaster ride as a CEO before becoming a made man as a business leader.
”Escandor’s ability to put that into practice was tested in the late 1990s. At the time, he was working with his father, Colonel Emilio Escandor, helping to manage The Royal Mandaya Hotel. It was a formative experience for Glenn, but equally testing in the wake of economic downturn.
“Working closely with a lean management team, we were able to turn around the hotel’s performance, having been severely affected by the Asian financial crisis in 1997. That experience moulded much of my character as a businessman. I take risks, but exercise prudency in all my decisions.”
After many more years in the industry, Glenn formed ESDEVCO in 2012, and the pilot project came the following year. It was a tough start since there was already stiff competition, especially from Manila-based developers.
As a local player with no track record of property development, Glenn created ESDEVCO with no guarantee that he’d find a profitable customer base – it was a big risk but, again, his time working with his father taught him to balance risk with careful consideration. That first project was Matina Enclaves, a multi-family, mixed-use, self-contained community in Davao City.
“We literally left no room for our pilot project to be unsuccessful,” Glenn recalls. “Apart from viewing this project as the gateway for ESDEVCO to build its track record and pursue more interesting projects in the future, we wanted to explore our capabilities by uniquely offering three residential options within the same development.”
In the story, Glenn did not mince words how proud they were of their project.
“I’m proud to say this is the only development in Davao and probably in Mindanao that has residential lots, single detached houses and residential condominium units – both mid- and high-rise residential buildings.”
Glenn also shared his thoughts on the economy and what inspired him to push aggressively forward.
He shared that the general growth of the Philippines’ economy is providing a boost to real estate.
He cited that property prices over the past three years have increased by anywhere from a conservative 30% to as much as 70%, and there has been an accompanying increase in property demand. A major contributor to this is the infrastructure development and business incentives engineered by the local and national governments.
With Davao City aggressively growing in terms of real estate, ESDEVCO likewise has positioned itself in a prime location for greater opportunities.
Glenn revealed his company plans across the property spectrum, such as residential condos and housing, and hotel and resort development.
The one particular striking revelation in the featured story was Glenn’s formula for success.
He singled out that their trade partners, whom he describes as “part of our formula in attaining success”, equally benefit from the continued growth. “What our track record demonstrates is that penetrating a highly saturated industry like real estate is still possible,” he says proudly.
With the evolving customer preferences in the property market, Glenn believes “creativity and a strict adherence to quality are essential in maintaining that hard-won place in Davao’s development industry.”
And while he reveals in the story that he acknowledges the role of CEO and owner offers prestige, he confides that he doesn’t see himself as all that different from the rest of his team. “I treat myself just like any other employee who reports for work daily and attends to their daily tasks,” he says. “Amid the perceived success in my business ventures, I try to stay humble and build the passion to learn further. This attitude has helped me adapt better to challenging situations and be able to arrive at sound business decisions.”
True enough, Glenn’s humility and his warmth makes him both ordinary and extraordinary.
Ordinary in the sense that he is approachable and reachable. He has no layers of pretense unlike many power players in business. The good thing with him is that he is confident of his ability and his clout without having to overextend his wings.
And extraordinary in the sense that he can soar while just being grounded.