A look at the people behind the numbers in area business:

JOE NUÑEZ Vantage Law Group

Title: Attorney

Age: 56

Attorney Joe Nuñez, who focused on real estate development work for nearly 20 years at Target Corp., is continuing in that specialty at Vantage Law Group, a boutique commercial real estate firm in St. Louis Park.

Calling himself a "real estate geek," Nuñez said he enjoyed pursuing a greater range of projects at Vantage, which attorneys Jerry Perron and Jim Wilson launched in October in St. Louis Park.

"My position now at Vantage will get me back to being able to do a wide variety of real estate work," Nuñez said.

Nuñez said he had been exploring opportunities for a year or so. His departure was coincidental to the layoffs at Target earlier this year, he said.

At Target, Nuñez worked on stores ranging from 20,000 square feet to 170,000 square feet, distribution centers and corporate projects including the company's 300-acre Brooklyn Park campus.

"I worked on about 200 stores that are now open over the years," Nuñez said. "It was great to be there doing development work in that period."

Nuñez, who has a law degree from the University of Minnesota, was a youngster when his family immigrated to the U.S. from Cuba in the 1960s.

Q: Why should a company work with Vantage Law Group on a development project?

A: We're a small boutique practice. We have a lot more flexibility and our billing rates are going to be in some cases half of those of the larger law firms in town.

Q: How is your corporate background benefiting you in private practice?

A: Target gave me a really well-rounded experience in real estate development, leasing and acquisition. It was lot of diverse real estate development work, and that's what I like to do. I've done a bunch of fulfillment centers, and that business is going to continue to grow as Internet retail continues to grow. So much of the stuff done recently at Target has been on the mixed-use side, with TargetExpress stores that are part of new or existing residential high-rise (developments) or residential and office complexes.

Q: How has your experience as an immigrant influenced you?

A: Growing up in a neighborhood where we had a support system that was culturally different but kind and intuitive to what my family needed as we were growing up, that was invaluable. There's nothing about that that wouldn't make most people focus on being appreciative, of being grateful and trying to find ways to give back and to mentor other people.

Todd Nelson