VICE PRESIDENT OF REAL ESTATE
Garrett appears in the Top 100
People in Real Estate Magazine
Garrett Johnson entered the Marine Corps as an infantryman just after high school, serving from 1999 to 2003. During his service, he participated in Operation Iraqi Freedom, which taught him two vital skills that he continues to effectively implement in his life and career—how to lead, and how to follow. “The military taught me to know and value the differences between these two opposing dynamics,” he says. “Just because I might spearhead a particular project doesn’t mean I have all the answers, so I’m comfortable with allowing someone else to take control when necessary.”
After completing his military service, Garrett obtained a master’s degree in real estate development from Roosevelt University in Chicago which, at that time, was the only program of its kind, aside from Berkeley. This academic foundation led him to accept a position with a general contractor in San Francisco, where he directed large-scale, high-profile projects such as the Walt Disney Museum. In 2008, Garrett studied for his GMAT and ultimately selected the University of Southern California, a top 15 business school. After graduating and getting married, Garrett briefly considered joining the CIA, but decided it wouldn’t mesh with his plans to start a family. Instead, he joined a national real estate company, where through hard work and dedication, Garrett was soon offered a managerial role in the company’s Texas office. After two years, Garrett was tasked with building a Dallas presence for Avalon Development.
Today he is Avalon’s vice president of real estate and under his direction, Avalon has doubled in size and has established a foothold in the Dallas market, while also obtaining entry into San Antonio and Austin markets. With a focus on nationally branded quick-service restaurants including Starbucks, Whataburger, Chipotle, Salad & Go, and Dutch Bros, Avalon is recognized as a leading developer, with earned write ups featured in Business Quarterly in 2020 and 2021. Garrett recalls, “It has been a rewarding evolution, but it was not without challenges, especially during the COVID pandemic. People were losing their businesses but at the same time, it brought about new opportunities in real estate, which aligned with our model of buying and redeveloping. We found that national brands were uniquely poised to take advantage of unoccupied commercial real estate.” He adds, “I also cannot exclude the discipline I acquired as a Marine from the equation. It allows me to maintain a level head, even in the most trying situations. This business has an inherent emotional component, so you must stay focused and steady. This translates to client care and fostering relationships and since our customers are always our highest priority, we’re committed to using every tool in our arsenal to ensure mutual success.”
Vice President of Real Estate — Avalon Development