Excerpted from Orlando Business Journal story.
Before he was charged with growing and developing his company in Orlando, Kurt Keaton was an intercollegiate athlete, made the dean’s list and served as a squadron commander while attaining an engineering degree from the U.S. Air Force Academy.
Keaton, president of real estate and management services for Franklin Street, first was responsible for launching the company’s local office. In the last year, he’s had to develop a business plan, recruit talent and ultimately create a new line of business in project management services – leading the company to nearly $1 million in revenue in its first full year.
Keaton helped grow Franklin Street from having no presence in Orlando’s competitive commercial real estate industry to more than 15 employees; more than 23 percent growth; and landed numerous regional and national clients serving office, industrial and retail sectors, as well as apartment property management, leasing, investment sales and project management assignments.
Keaton’s experience in the Air Force, where he attained the highest security clearance level possible while working in weapons system development, had a big influence on his post-military career beginning in 2000. He worked for national commercial real estate firm JLL (NYSE: JLL) in Orlando before joining Franklin Street.
Outside of the business world, Keaton is an active member of Illuminate Church in Celebration; volunteers by coaching youth basketball for the Upward Youth group; supports Junior Achievement’s entrepreneurship, career readiness and financial literacy programs for K-12 students; and played a key role in Franklin Street’s Orlando office raising $2,500-plus for Matthew’s Hope homeless ministry this year.
Why did you join the military? It was a great opportunity to serve my country and get one of the best educations in the world by attending the U.S. Air Force Academy, then serving as an officer in active duty.
What was the most significant thing that happened to you while you were serving? Being upgraded to Top Secret-Special Access Required security clearance, and I worked on top secret weapon systems in classified locations.
Favorite place you were stationed: Eglin Air Force Base – it’s a beautiful area of Florida and a great base for weapons development.
What challenges do you face in your line of work? We are in strong growth mode and constantly are looking for good people who fit our core values.