How Dave’s Honesty Led Him to GIC

“I appreciate how GIC is purpose-built and always chooses to do the “right thing”.

May 18, 2021

| 8 Min Read

Imagine being part of an organization for nearly 30 years – watching it grow, being there for its ups and downs – it’s like you’re a proud parent (hold the tears). Meet Dave Gilbert, Senior Vice President of the Project Development Unit (PDU) in the Real Estate (RE) team.  

We sat down with him – virtually, of course – to hear his story as he reminisces the early days of working in GIC, singlehandedly overseeing all PDU projects by being on the ground, rolling up his sleeves and literally getting his hands dirty. 

How did you first join GIC? 

I think it was in 1990 – when I was still a service provider – that I told a GIC asset manager the truth about the poor state of their Miami asset and mentioned that if he gave me $250,000, I could help fix it (that was our first time meeting by the way!). He agreed and it shocked everyone at the table, and said that it was because I was honest and straightforward in my pitch. 

In August 1992, Hurricane Andrew hit GIC’s Miami asset. I wasn’t a GIC employee then, but I hired a shuttle van of 12 workmen, filled a lorry with materials (lumber, plywood, chain saws, camping gear and the like) worth $35,000 and drove down from Atlanta to Miami with these guys to get the building repaired. All of which were charged to my personal credit card and “hoped” that GIC would reimburse me for it. 

GIC’s building was the first building that reopened after the Hurricane, and of course, they paid me back. I was hired the following month and moved to California to work in our San Francisco office – where I’ve been ever since!

What does a typical work day for you look like (then vs. now)? 

Photo courtesy of Dave Gilbert.

When I started, we worked with phones and fax machines as email didn’t exist for businesses back then. My first laptop had a 25MB hard drive! Now, we have technology at our fingertips. I also used to ride my motorcycle to visit some GIC-owned assets back in the early days. 

From 1992 to 2006, as we started acquiring assets worldwide, I was the only one in PDU and oversaw all our buildings. I have covered regions like the Americas and Europe since 1992, and still do today. Now, I have two colleagues working with me – one in San Francisco and one in London, and we have two more joining us soon. 

How does GIC support you not only at work, but in your own personal life too? 

Dave (pictured on the left) with his son. Photo courtesy of Dave Gilbert.

I made the move to California from Atlanta to join GIC and have to say that I’ve never regretted this decision. It’s the best place to work – filled with great people and where I have made a (second) home. They also tolerate my helmets and scuba gear on business trips!

The first Head of RE, Paul Gamelin, is also the Godfather of my son. He was quite a mentor to me, and many others – too many to name! 

A word you would use to describe your tenure in GIC? 

Travel, travel, travel… so far, I’ve been to about 32 countries. 

I appreciate how GIC is purpose-built and always chooses to do the “right thing”. Since 1992, I’ve been preaching “My Mother’s Money” to every partner, manager and service provider in every country I’ve worked in – long before that become a “thing” in RE a few years back. 


Want to work with someone like Dave? Then join the GIC family now – find your next move here, we can’t wait to meet you!