Pilon School of Business
Year of graduation: 1973
As a newly minted Sheridan business graduate in fall 1973, Michael Kehoe heeded the call to “go west, young man” and moved to Alberta. The plan was to take a position in the accounting department at the Banff Springs Hotel and spend the season skiing.
More than four decades later, he’s still in the province. With the help of Alberta’s burgeoning economy, Kehoe spent much of that time building a reputation as a leader in commercial real estate. Today, Kehoe is the owner and operator of Fairfield Commercial Real Estate — an independent, boutique-style commercial real estate brokerage. He is also the lead ambassador in Canada for the International Council of Shopping Centres — a trade organization that represents the real estate industry with over 70,000 members in 100 countries.
“When I moved here, the province was on the leading edge of the oil boom. For the past 40 years, I have been able to watch Alberta expand and mature into an economic powerhouse,” says Kehoe, who founded Fairfield in 1991.
A stint as a marketing director for a shopping centre early on provided his gateway into commercial real estate, followed by experiences as a mall manager and vice president of leasing for a Calgary property company.
Named a 2014 Leader of Tomorrow – Platinum by Calgary Business Magazine, Kehoe stresses the importance of relationship-building to his success. “It’s about creating, managing and maintaining long-term relationships. That’s really the secret to any business. I have clients who have been with me for 25 years, but I also devote time to developing new contacts. In fact, we signed three new clients in July alone (2014).”
Kehoe applies his business expertise to community development projects in partnership with charitable organizations in Calgary, some of which are close to his heart. “I volunteered for many years at a homeless shelter. Now the shelter is being incorporated into a new urban development. I am involved in that project but my roots are in the shelter.”
Kehoe’s family roots remain in Ontario, along with a deep-seated connection to Sheridan.
Growing up in Burlington, he was the only child in his family who didn’t follow his father into a banking career. “I was too footloose and eager to get out in the world and work,” says Kehoe, who recalls Sheridan’s straight-from-industry faculty as ideal business educators.
He also remembers a long-gone sight on the streets just outside of campus: hitchhiking posts. “They would list destinations including Mississauga, Burlington, and downtown Oakville. Talk about an age of innocence!”
It’s an age that Kehoe feels privileged to have experienced. “Born in the middle of the baby boom, I was part of a tremendous number of people who were changing society. I was fortunate to be able to go out into the world with the skills I learned at Sheridan.”
Learn more about Sheridan’s Faculty of Business.