A Conversation with the President (Leadership Spotlight on Thor Emblem)
Tuesday, February 22, 2022
by: Michele Ignacio, A.O. Reed & Co.

Section: Leadership Spotlight

Thor Emblem of GSH Group is an esteemed leader in BOMA San Diego. He is driven to see our members succeed and is a hard worker who volunteered several key committees before earning a spot on the Board of Directors. His experience gives him a global perspective of BOMA’s impact on the commercial real estate industry.  Today, Thor is our BOMA San Diego President. I had the honor of interviewing him for this month’s Leadership Spotlight. Read below…a conversation with the President.

BOMA San Diego: Where did you grow up? 
Thor: I grew up in Inland North County.  Mostly San Marcos and Escondido, but I did live in Valley Center for a short time.

BOMA San Diego: What is your current role at GSH Group and what are your responsibilities?  
Thor: My title is Regional Operations Director, and I am responsible for all aspects of public and private sector mechanical maintenance and operations contracts, including financial accountability, quality control, customer relations, computerized preventive maintenance, and work order systems.

BOMA San Diego: What are your past BOMA leadership roles? 
Thor: I have chaired the Education, Finance, and SLRP committees and served as a Member at Large on the Board, Treasurer, and Vice President.  I currently chair the Government Affairs Committee and serve as the Chapter President.

BOMA San Diego: What BOMA awards have you received?  
Thor: I’ve won four of the “You’re the Greatest” awards, the Champion of Education Award, and Chairperson of the Year.  I also received, on behalf of the Education Committee, a chapter standout award from BOMI for the Most Improved BOMI Class Attendance in 2015.

BOMA San Diego: What is an example of a leadership skill that is beneficial as a BOMA Executive Board Member? 
Thor: Humility is an important attribute.  No one person can achieve the chapter’s goals, but we can do amazing things together if we remain open to each other, accept honors with grace, and encourage everyone to participate.

BOMA San Diego: How would you describe your leadership style?  
Thor: I most closely identify as an idealist leader.  I want to learn and grow personally, and I want to bring others with me on that journey. 

BOMA San Diego: Who is your mentor and what advice did they give you that helped you grow as a leader?  
Thor: My father was my biggest mentor.  He taught me that I need to always be ready to learn from everyone no matter what their title or station.  Each person can teach us something.  An electrician likely cannot help you with surgery, but a surgeon is not typically useful when the power fails either.  As a result of my father’s advice, I’ve had multiple BOMA mentors throughout the years.  I love learning from everyone and feel privileged to be surrounded by so many accomplished people.

BOMA San Diego: What is your proudest accomplishment since joining BOMA San Diego? 
Thor: It is difficult to zero in on one accomplishment. But I can say that it is most gratifying when my efforts produce tangible results.  Be it increased attendance in a class or at an event, or something like lobbying congress and finding out later those efforts resulted in legislation that is favorable to our industry.  My biggest joy has come from mentoring a newer member and then seeing them go on to chair a committee, speak to a large BOMA audience, and then mentor someone else. 

BOMA San Diego: How will you motivate BOMA San Diego to focus on our theme of “Together Towards Tomorrow”? 
Thor: I believe in letting stars shine.  We are fortunate to have a number of stars in our BOMA universe, and I can best support them by putting them in the right spots, ensuring they have the tools to succeed, and encouraging them to bring their best.  The theme, for this year, was chosen by the Programs & Seminars Committee because we are collectively aching to thrive.  The pandemic has not only levied a significant human toll, but it has also hampered our businesses efforts.  I strongly believe that we can have a speedy recovery if we work together towards a better tomorrow. 

BOMA San Diego: Anything else to add?  
Thor: Yes, I am inspired by our membership and our city.  People often think of San Diego as a secondary market, a sleepy little tourist town, or LA’s younger sibling but we know that we are powerhouse.  We are not just America’s Finest City; we are also America’s most powerful city with the largest concentration of Naval power in the world.  We may only have a single-runway airport, but it is the busiest single-runway airport in the world. We are the 28th largest media market but per capita, we support our MLB franchise better than any other market.  We are the eight largest city in the country, but we have the third largest life science market (and growing). We have the best weather with the best people and there is no place that I’d rather be.  It is up to us, but I know we can make our chapter the most thriving chapter in the country.  I hope that my fellow BOMA members feel the same and will encourage their colleagues and peers to join and get involved.