"There are some challenges for women in historically male-dominated careers."
Seda Preston, a senior associate with Colliers International Northeast Florida, is a Jacksonville native. Her grandfather started the Catanese Florist business. Preston is the only woman to work as an industrial real estate specialist with a major firm in the area. She and her husband, Guy Preston, form one of Colliers International’s industrial teams.
Jacksonville is quite different from what it was all those years ago – the increase in population and industry. Technically we’re still considered a tertiary, low secondary, market but we’ve made strides. Companies and investors that are priced out of other markets are looking at Jacksonville. That is getting us more recognition among national markets.
The economy is good. We have a lot of new warehousing and distribution centers being constructed because our vacancy is low, around 3 percent. That tells us the economy is rolling along. With all this new speculative space coming up, we certainly anticipate it’s going to be leased.
You never know what’s going on inside those warehouses. You have manufacturing, e-commerce, distribution. It’s fascinating. There’s a property we sold last year. Paul Davis Restoration built a two-story home inside the warehouse. They flood it on a regular basis for training and they clean it. It is built to code. They create messes and clean them up.
There are some challenges for women in historically male-dominated careers. We’re making strides in real estate and industrial is the last sector where we’re trying to make strides. It takes men to be supportive of that. The younger generation is more accepting. They treat you like an equal and understand you’re there to do business just like they are.
I team with my husband, Guy Preston, and we’ve been working together since 2016. We’re both even-keeled, and we know that there is work and there’s home, although inevitably we find ourselves talking about work in the evenings.
I love to travel. I’m active outdoors, do some paddleboarding, CrossFit, a little bit of cycling. I love to bake. You have to be specific about the ingredients. That’s one of the things about my personality – I’m very detailed. I analyze everything, and that’s beneficial for my clients.
I wanted to be a veterinarian but when I got into college, I went the communications route and ended up in the skin-care industry in sales for a long time before I made the transition to real estate. As long as you know your product and you can talk to people about your product, it translates from one sector to the next. It took me a while to get to real estate, but I love it. I’ve embraced it and I learn more every day. Obviously the longer you’re in it, the more confidence you gain.
We have three dogs and two cats. They all get along pretty well. The cats are tolerant of the dogs and the dogs, for the most part, leave them alone. The Deebot robot vacuum is my best friend.