Whit Peyton, a 35-year veteran of the local commercial real estate trade, will step down at the end of this month as head of the Minneapolis-regional office of CBRE Group, a 250-employee operation that is the biggest in town.

He will be succeeded on Jan. 1 by Blake Hastings, who ran the Phoenix office of Cassidy Turley/BRE.

Hastings, 34, is the son-in-law of Pat Ryan, CEO of Ryan Cos., the big Minneapolis-based developer and property manager.

Peyton, 60, who was a broker for 15 years before moving into management, oversaw an office that grew from $5 million to $60 million in revenue.

Los Angeles-based CBRE also operates a 600-employee client-accounting group in the Twin Cities. Peyton will help Hastings transition and may remain in a yet-to-be-decided business development role with CBRE.

"I'm working on a 'quality baton pass' and I'm changing hats," Peyton said last week. "New hat not quite yet determined. I want to go from managerial to entrepreneurial. I will decelerate before I accelerate. I'm going skiing ... but I'm not going to just walk around Lake of the Isles every day. There's stuff within CB and outside of CB. I've done a lot of charitable work and I'll do more ... but I'm not going to retire.''

Peyton, a Minneapolis native, is considered a sure-handed guy and thick-skinned manager. Tanya Bell, a principal at Wellington Management who worked for Peyton for many years, said Peyton is known for helping salespeople focus on success, his wit and his willingness to challenge the status quo. She recalled Peyton, who was famous for telling colleagues not to get emotionally "wrapped around the axle," rocked the local office when he took over in 1992 and was asked to be part of a committee that reviewed the CBRE "policy and procedures" protocols.

"I suggest we take the policy and procedure manual, rip it in two, then throw it away," Bell recalled Peyton saying. "Doesn't matter which half."

"Whit is about people, tangible results and 'no bull' communications," she said.

Peyton started out repossessing cars in 1975 for the former First Bank and moved into private banking and real estate lending for a few years.

"There were a lot of cars to repossess that [recession] year," Peyton quipped. "I basically knew banking wasn't a good long-term fit. I was a little more of an entrepreneur. So I studied real estate and concluded the commercial side was the right place for me. Less emotional than residential."

"I've seen clients expand and contract over the years. I try to be steady with them. You have the tiller and you have to try and steer the boat."

Peyton's wife, Nancy, is a franchisee of 15 Great Clips salons for which Whit Peyton is the real estate consultant.


The legal fight between North Dakota and Minnesota over coal, carbon and commerce may get another contestant.

Seven environmental groups led by the St. Paul-based Minnesota Center for Environmental Advocacy last week asked U.S. District Judge Susan Richard Nelson for permission to intervene in the lawsuit filed a year ago by North Dakota coal and utility interests.

The lawsuit seeks to invalidate a 2007 Minnesota law restricting imports of electricity from new coal-fired power plants in other states. The law, known as the Next Generation Energy Act, discourages new sources of carbon dioxide, a greenhouse gas linked to global warming.

North Dakota, where lignite coal is mined, claims the law violates the U.S. Constitution's Commerce Clause and federal law. The North Dakota attorney general filed the suit on behalf of an economic development agency, three utilities, two coal companies and a lignite trade group.

Court papers say North Dakota interests oppose the environmental groups' intervention, but Minnesota Attorney General Lori Swanson doesn't. Judge Nelson, based in St. Paul, gets to decide. The groups, including Fresh Energy, based in St. Paul, the Sierra Club and other national organizations, say they intend to argue that the law "fits easily within Minnesota's police power authority."



Gov. Mark Dayton will be the featured speaker at the 36th annual Minnesota Keystone Luncheon of the Minneapolis Regional Chamber of Commerce on Dec. 12 that will honor Wells Fargo Bank Minnesota, KTTC-TV of Rochester and Coughlan Cos. of North Mankato.

Dayton has a special connection to the Keystone program. His father, Bruce, and brothers Kenneth and Donald were the leaders after World War II of what is now Target Corp., and charter members of "The 5% Club" in 1976, a group of 23 local companies that encouraged volunteering and donated at least 5 percent of pre-tax profits to education and nonprofits. Today, there are several hundred Keystone Club members throughout Minnesota who donate at least 2 percent of pre-tax profits and more. More information: www.minneapolischamber.org or call 612-370-9100.

Mary Kloehn and Teresa Daly, co-founders and managing partners of Navigate Forward, are among the winners of the annual Achieve! Awards of the Minnesota Chapter of the National Associaton of Women Business Owners.

"The differentiating value ... is that we provide strong entrepreneurial education and resources that springboard our members forward allowing them to reach their growth goals," said Jill Johnson, president emeritus of NAWBO-MN. "Some of our members are just starting up while others are putting together a succession plan." Read about the awards program and Hall of Fame that is open to all Minnesota female business owners at: www.nawbo-mn.org.

Veteran marketing professional and former Northwest Airlines executive Rick Dow is joining Rick Cupchella's BringMeTheNews.com as president. For the past nine years, Dow was chief marketing officer for Midas International. He also has worked for Burger King and Thomson Reuters since his 1985-2000 tour at the former NWA, where he once was vice president of marketing.

The electric grid for the Midwest has set a new record for wind generation. For the first time, wind produced 10,012 megawatts, or 25 percent of the output, on Nov. 23, according to MISO, the regional grid operator for 11 states, including Minnesota and the Canadian province of Manitoba. That's equivalent to the output of about nine nuclear power plants.