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B2B ID: Demetrios N. Panteleakis, OPAL Real Estate Group LLC

NAME: Demetrios N. Panteleakis

JOB TITLE, COMPANY: Co-founder and chief operating officer, OPAL Real Estate Group LLC

WEBSITE: opal-re.com

AGE: 45

WHEN THE BUSINESS STARTED: Three years ago

WHAT YOU DO: Real estate development, brokerage and property management. The Clarke School campus in Northampton is a great example of all our abilities. We devised a plan to redevelop Clarke and have begun the process of refining the plan, presenting it to all stakeholders, neighbors and city officials. Then, of course, we have to finance the project. Opal handles all of these processes and then leases the property. We manage property as well.

EXPERIENCE: Twenty years of real estate experience from construction to managing real estate activities for Mass Mutual nationwide

THE MARKET: Our development projects focus predominantly on business owners and high-worth investors in western Massachusetts.

HOW YOU REACH OUT TO IT: Our high-profile developments draw a great deal of attention, and this creates brand recognition. Our staff members are well-known and accomplished, and this results in tremendous word of mouth. We also market the company with online tools and occasional print advertising as well.

WHAT FINANCING HURDLES HAVE YOU FACED AND HOW HAVE YOU HANDLED THEM? It’s always a struggle to build capacity with hiring, and we have handled it by maintaining an aggressive development schedule and a pipeline of projects, so there is constant growth. We also rely heavily on outsourced functions. In today’s new economy, professionals are willing to be much more flexible in pricing services if there is an opportunity to develop a long-term relationship. We try to barter our expertise with some folks in return for competitive services.

KEY TO SUCCESS: Assemble the best team of people and give them the freedom to do what they do best. Also, ask questions. If you want to learn something, find the oldest, most knowledgeable person on the subject, and listen to every word they say.

CHALLENGES: Our field was booming for so long that there was never a short supply of ideas, projects or someone willing to finance both. We have all had to relearn our parents’ business mottos. Relationships matter, quality of the work matters, say what you do and do what you say. Businesses that reflect these fundamentals are successfully navigating this new economy.

MISSTEP YOU LEARNED FROM: There are no details that will ever take care of themselves. You must follow them all up or they will create chaos.

WHAT OTHERS COULD LEARN FROM YOU: I bring a high-profile, national experience point of view to local development and real estate projects, and I love challenges. I have a disciplined methodology to solving difficult situations and being creative with solutions. People around me usually joke that once in a while they’d like it if I thought inside the box.

WHO HELPED MENTOR YOU PROFESSIONALLY? In large part, my family, which has developed or owned roughly 72 restaurants over 45 years from Northampton to Florida to California.

TOP GOALS FOR 2013: Deliver historic Round Hill Summit Project, 40 luxury apartments and commercial office space in Northampton; deliver Gatehouse project at Village Hill in Northampton, office and retail space; break ground on 31 Elm St., Springfield, commercial office and retail space

ADVICE FOR OTHERS SEEKING BUSINESS SUCCESS: Fear of failure is normal, so is failing. It is what you do with it that counts. Use it to learn and push forward. Success is a product of a great deal of both.

PARTING THOUGHT: Define yourself; do not let others do it because you’ll always be disappointed.

B2B ID is compiled by Janice Beetle, owner of Beetle Press in Easthampton. Beetle Press offers writing, editing and graphic design services. www.beetlepress.com. To suggest a subject for B2B ID, email Beetle at beetlepress@charter.net.

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