Justin is the president of Beck Property Company, the commercial real estate firm started by his father in 1981, the same year Justin was born. Autumn is a successful family law attorney with McDonald, Fleming, Moorhead, Ferguson, Green & de Kozan.
“Dad and mom did a good job encouraging each of us to find our own niche so we’ve never been competitive,” Autumn said.
Justin joined Beck Property Co. in 2005 and was told to figure out if he wanted to do commercial real estate. “It was never anything that was assumed,” he said. “There has been some growing and figuring out how we work best together. We are really hitting our stride and know how to leverage each other’s strength.”
Gregg admitted that he loved having his children back in Pensacola, especially his six grandchildren. He frequently eats lunch with Justin and has a standing breakfast meeting on Thursdays with Autumn.
“It’s different working together and seeing them all the time,” he said. “Justin’s got a lot of ideas. In fact (laughing) for 2014, we have a moratorium on new ideas.”
Gregg has been impressed with the younger generation. “We have more young people as a group that have done really well,” he said. “I would love to see them bring their vitality to elected offices, but they are busy building their careers and raising their families.”
Justin was approached to run for office this year, but he declined. “There are a lot of different ways to be a leader,” he said. “The most value that I can add to the community is building buildings, attracting businesses and creating jobs.”
He pointed to Florida Senate President Don Gaetz as a perfect example of what he meant. “He built a successful business then ran for office. He’s not motivated by anything other than doing well in politics.”
Autumn added, “Leaders are only as relevant as we let them be. If the business community is strong enough, the elected officials have to get in line.”
She said that her generation has had to learn how to multi-task, balancing family, careers and community service. “You have leaders (in our generation) who know what is their best contribution to this community,” Autumn said. “Everybody needs to do what they were called to do personally and professionally.”
One thing she would like to see less of is personal animosity in local politics. “Having lobbied in Tallahassee, I saw people duking it out over major legislation, but once the session was over they would walk over to Clyde’s and have drinks together,” Autumn said. “I don’t think that we’ve gotten there as a community. That is one of the big challenges for the Pensacola Young Professionals and our generation to help change.”
Gregg Beck is pleased with the changes that he has seen over the past four decades. He said the biggest changes have been in development of Downtown Pensacola, Cordova Mall area and the University of West Florida.
“Go back 40 years ago and look it at how the county and city worked,” he said. “It’s just a lot different. The quality of the leaders has much improved.”
He added, “We’re light years ahead of where we were.”