Monday, June 24th, 2019

Riddle Associates, Inc. Story


Daughters honor Dad for 30 year business and a lifetime of love and guidance

President, Robert “Robb” L. Riddle, CCIM

President, Robert “Robb” L. Riddle, CCIM

Thirty years ago, Robert “Robb” L. Riddle had a dream of breaking away from the real estate agency where he worked and starting his own company.

The company of Robb’s dreams would be successful, of course, but it would also have the feel of a small company—one in which close relationships with clients would be created and nurtured with the same care and sensitivity usually reserved for family and close friends. It would be a company where loyalty to those customers and to practicing the highest business and ethical standards would be valued by each and every employee. This company’s culture would have a foundation of cooperation and mutual respect—as opposed to the battle between conflicting interests that can sometimes cause a business to teeter and fall.

With faith in his dream, Robb founded Riddle Associates Inc., a local commercial industrial real estate brokerage company, in 1988. At first, he worked alone, putting in the long days required of any entrepreneur who is struggling to give birth to a successful company—days that are often accompanied by restless nights of waking up and wondering if everything one has will be lost should the venture fail.

Despite the demands of those early years, Robb’s dedication to his family never wavered. His two (now grown) daughters, Lindsey R. Elliott and Leslie R. Riddle, look back on happy childhoods, filled with treasured family memories. They can’t resist smiling as they remember how their dad, despite the fact that he worked seven days a week, always made sure that they had dinner together as a family. If Robb was exhausted, he tried hard not to let it show, even coming home from the office some nights with a new board game tucked under his arm—something that he and the entire family could enjoy together that evening.

Leslie laughs as she shares another memory: “When we were kids, Dad had this silly joke, where he would say to us, ‘Guess what I saw today?’ – and he would always answer, ‘A purple elephant!’ ” Then he’d reply, ‘No, I’m just joking!’ This became a running joke in our family. We always know how to kid each other and have a good laugh.”

Leslie Riddle, Robb Riddle and Lindsey Riddle Elliott

Leslie Riddle, Robb Riddle and Lindsey Riddle Elliott

As a family, the Riddles always worked to meet each situation and challenge with a balance of good-natured humor and serious thoughtfulness. During the early years of Robb’s career, this balance not only kept his family grounded and happy, but it also served to foster the growth of Riddle Associates.

This year, the company that Robb founded celebrates its 30th anniversary. As President of Riddle Associates, Robb is not only a specialist in commercial and industrial real estate, he also holds the distinguished title of Certified Commercial and Investment Member (CCIM)—a title held by select individuals nationwide. Twelve other remarkable employees also comprise the Riddle Associates “family.” One of these is A. William “Bill” Brackman. A vital part of the company since 1993, Bill is now the Executive Vice President of the company.

Serving the southeastern region of Virginia and the northeastern region of North Carolina, Riddle Associates provides a broad range of services for its clients—including listing services, tenant/buyer brokerage, property management, and consulting. Through its “Riddle Reports,” which are published monthly and available online, Riddle Associates keeps clients up to date on the latest news and trends in the real estate industry.

“He’s the smartest
commercial real estate guru
 that I’ve ever met.
His wealth of knowledge is priceless.
I’m so grateful I’ve trained under the best;
he has molded me
into the businesswoman I am today.”

—Lindsey R. Elliott

Growing up while watching their dad’s company grow, Lindsey and Leslie would sometimes joke about coming to work for him one day. Not taking the idea seriously, however, both girls pursued their individual interests. Leslie went to Longwood University and Lindsey attended George Mason University. Both graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree.

“It was 2008, I was fresh out of college and I couldn’t find a job,” Lindsey recalls. “My dad convinced me to get my real estate license.” Once licensed, Lindsey joined her dad’s team, and has been with the company for 10 years. Now serving as the Vice President/Associate Broker of Riddle Associates, she declares, “I can’t imagine doing anything else but commercial real estate.”

The Riddle Associates family left to right: <BR>Jack Hamilton, Hershey Browning, Bill Brackman, Leslie Riddle, Robb Riddle, <br>Lindsey Elliott, David Hunter, Cindy Zofcin, Larry Rumsey and Haley Wayland

The Riddle Associates family left to right:
Jack Hamilton, Hershey Browning, Bill Brackman, Leslie Riddle, Robb Riddle,
Lindsey Elliott, David Hunter, Cindy Zofcin, Larry Rumsey and Haley Wayland

Leslie worked in hospitality management for five years before coming on board with Riddle Associates in 2015. Both women primarily focus on landlord/seller representation and tenant/buyer representation for industrial and commercial real estate transactions.

The experience of working with their father has only deepened the appreciation that both women have for him professionally. “He’s the smartest commercial real estate guru that I’ve ever met. His wealth of knowledge is priceless,” Lindsey affirms. “I’m so grateful I’ve trained under the best; he has molded me into the businesswoman I am today.” She adds with a laugh: “I always tell my sister, ‘Just listen to what Dad says; he’s always right.’ ”

More meaningful than Lindsey and Leslie’s respect for Robb’s professional expertise is their respect for him as a human being. While they have always known Robb as a loving, supportive father, in working with him they have witnessed how authentic he is in all of his relationships.

 “Simply put, Dad is just a generous person,” Leslie affirms. “We went to lunch one day and he paid for three police officers behind us in line. They were so genuinely appreciative of it.”

Such appreciation is shared by a number of local organizations in which Robb has been active over the years. He has been Chairman of the Chesapeake Economic Development Authority, and served on the boards of the Chesapeake Care Free Clinic, the Chesapeake North YMCA and the Virginia Air & Space Center. As a longtime member of the Rotary Club, Leslie and Lindsey remember how their good-natured dad was always willing to play along with a joke for a good cause: during one fundraiser, he agreed to stay “in jail” until enough money was raised for his release.

“Dad is the most brilliant businessman I know, and I couldn’t imagine working with anyone else,” Lindsey says with a proud smile. “But aside from that, he has taught my sister and me so much about the things that are the most important in life: relationships with family, friends and community. Those relationships require loyalty and sensitivity; they have to be nurtured. He has modeled the values that have made us the people we are. And it’s those same values that have been responsible for Riddle Associates’ 30 years of success.”

“No one could be more proud of their father than we are,” Leslie adds. “Congratulations, Dad! Happy 30th anniversary!’

Riddle Associates

530 Woodlake Circle
Chesapeake, VA 23320